Updated at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30.
What are the policy implications for delaying benefits under health reform legislation? The Senate bill under consideration would implement benefits in 2014.
Opponents of the Senate Democratic health care reform bill have been critical of the timeline for implementing changes. After the bill was unveiled Nov. 18, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, was asked whether the House or the Senate bill was paid for in a more fiscally sound way.
"Are you kidding me?" he asked. The Senate bill has "a smaller number. You know why? Because the benefits start a year later. Oh, what a surprise. This is over $1 trillion. It's the same nonsense that passed the House. It's 2,074 pages. Give me a break."
Is it a bad or good idea to wait on benefits to reduce the cost projections? Is there something to be learned from Massachusetts' health reforms, where the state offered up some benefits immediately? How much of a risk is there that delaying benefits could give opponents of health care reform more time to try to repeal it -- or parts of it -- after it becomes law but before it is implemented?
CBO: Some Premiums Will Rise
Reaction was mixed today to a new Congressional Budget Office report, with some arguing that it shows that nongroup insurance premiums would be higher, and some arguing that they would be lower under the health reform bill under consideration in the Senate than under current law, without the help of federal subsidies. This could prove troublesome for Senate Democratic leaders as they struggle to win the support of moderstae senators, according to CongressDaily.
According to CongressDaily, the report found that the legislation "would increase average nongroup premiums 10 percent to 13 percent by 2016 above what premiums would be if current law remained in place. The change represents an average premium of $5,800 for individual policies and $15,200 for family policies under the proposal. The increase becomes a 56 percent to 59 percent decrease for the 57 percent of purchasers in the nongroup market that will receive federal subsidies, which totals about 18 million subsidized enrollees. That leaves 14 million coverage purchasers who will pay the higher premiums."
You can see the CBO report here.