Thursday, March 18, 2010

The House has Posted the Health Reform Reconciliation Bill

The 153-page bill would make several changes to the Senate bill, including:
  • Increase the tax credits for middle-income families who buy insurance.
  • Reduce the penalty for not buying insurance from $750 to $695. But the bill also requires some people to pay a share of their income as a penalty and that number was raised from 2 percent to 2.5 percent.
  • Close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage by 2011 and give seniors who fall into the gap this year a $250 rebate.
  • Eliminate the Cornhusker Kickback (the special Medicaid deal for Nebraska) and covers 100 percent of the increased Medicaid costs of all states until 2016 and decreases each year thereafter.
    • Though it appears to stop at a 10% state share, this is a significant development that should help already burdened states.
    • It will also provide an enhanced federal match for states that have already expanded coverage to childless adults. This could mean millions of dollars for states like Massachusetts and potentially extra money for Maryland.
  • Require that doctors that care for Medicaid patients be reimbursed at the full rate.
    • This is also significant and should bring new doctors into Medicaid. The Feds will cover 100% of cost to bring physician pay in line with Medicare.
  • Delay the tax on high-end insurance plans in keeping with the deal Democrats struck with the labor unions. However, it does lower the index at which plans will be taxed, making it likely that more plans will be affected over time.
    • This change directly impacts Social Security revenue and may well be rejected by the Senate parlimentarian during the reconciliation process - if so, unions will scream.
  • Impose a Medicare tax on unearned income for families making more than $250,000.
 More detail via Politico (the source for this posting).