The US House of Representatives released its 850 page bill for health care reform today. Although the details at the margin are different than the Kennedy-Dodd bill in the Senate, there are some fundamental similarities:
* A government-run health insurance exchange.
* A government-option health insurance plan to "compete" with private insurance.
* Subsidies for the purchase of health insurance up to 400% of the federal poverty level.
* Guaranteed issue - i.e. anyone, regardless of prior illness, must be offered health insurance.
* A cap on out-of-pocket expenses.
* An individual mandate - everyone must have health insurance.
* An employer pay-or-play with a penalty fee of 8% of payroll. To avoid the fee, employer- sponsored plans must meet minimum benefit and contribution requirements set by the government.
The one glaring item not addressed in the bill is how to pay for all of this government-run health care. As the House leadership has stated, however, everything is "on the table" - read increase taxes and further deficits.
Now that the reform proposals in Washington, D.C., are actually coming out on paper, the taxpayers of the nation are starting to understand the real impact of these broad sweeping health reform plans. The debate is just now starting as more people understand the restrictions of liberty and the costs of government controlled health care.