New Report Outlines $1.2 Trillion in Funding for Health Care Reform
On Monday, the Center for American Progress released a report detailing $1.2 trillion in funding mechanisms for a health care overhaul, USA Today reports.
The proposal -- released by John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff who assisted in the Obama administration transition, and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), President Obama's first nominee for HHS secretary -- would generate $400 billion over 10 years from each of three sources:
- Medicare and Medicaid savings;
- New tax revenue; and
- Modernization (Page, USA Today, 6/29).
New tax revenue options include limiting the business deduction that employers could take for insurance coverage or by capping the amount of employees' health coverage that is tax-free.
The plan also includes a "pay-or-play" requirement for larger employers and roughly $200 billion in new revenue over 10 years from higher taxes for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks.
In addition, the plan proposes to generate savings by increasing efficiency through health information technology, comparative effectiveness research and changes to payment systems (Calmes, "The Caucus," New York Times, 6/29).
According to the proposal, if health costs failed to decline within a set amount of time, a bipartisan commission would be triggered to impose steps to control costs as a "fail-safe."
In a meeting with reporters Monday, Daschle said that July might be "the most consequential period for health reform perhaps in all of history."
Podesta said, "This is the time real decisions are going to have to be made" (USA Today, 6/29).
Daschle added that he "would not hesitate to use" the budget reconciliation process -- in which legislation can be passed in the Senate with a simple majority, rather than the usual 60 votes -- if efforts to draft bipartisan legislation fail.
Podesta said, "There is a point at which you have to move on," possibly with reconciliation.
Although Daschle and Podesta said that they do not speak on behalf of the Obama administration, Daschle said that they "interact with [Obama's health care advisers] daily" (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/30). Daschle and Podesta said they believe the prospects for passing a health care overhaul bill this year are better than 50-50 ("The Caucus," New York Times, 6/29).
If reconciliation is used, the legislation likely will include a public option, according to Daschle (USA Today, 6/29). Daschle said of the public plan, "I can't imagine a more important step for controlling costs" ("The Caucus," New York Times, 6/29).Daschle said, "I don't think the public option is dead at all," adding, "I think it's very much alive" (Edney, CongressDaily, 6/29). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.