I visit a doctor once a year at the most, and I hardly require prescription medicine. The cost of my health insurance premium is about $800 this year for my HMO plan. My employer pays a larger percentage of the total premium, but the prices increase each year by a percentage much higher than inflation. A similar HMO plan, if I were to quit my job and buy individual health insurance in New Jersey, I would pay more than $800 a month, though there are less expensive options.
I’m lucky I don’t have any dependents.
The more individuals in the world with access to good and affordable heath care, the healthier the world will be in general, so I am in favor in reform that brings better care to more people. While reduced costs for me would be nice, that would be just an ancillary — and selfish — benefit. Will any of the various sets of proposed legislation succeed? I don’t know anyone who can answer that question with any sort of definitive answer. Health care is a monster, a complicated system with many moving parts that won’t be fixed right away.
The Congressional Budget Office released their cost estimates for the version of the legislation that is up for a vote within the Senate Finance Committee, and the numbers look better than expected: The bill would could $829 billion over ten years and actually reduce the budget deficit by $81 billion over the same time period. This bill doesn’t include a government-run plan, but it also leaves more people uninsured than some would like.
This legislation has a long way to go. The version of health care reform offered by the Senate Finance Committee needs to be combined with the version being considered by the Senate Health Committee. The Senate then needs to vote on and pass a bill. The House of Representatives also needs to vote on and pass its version of the health reform bill (H.R. 3200). Eventually the bills that pass both the House and the Senate need to be combined, voted on, passed and presented to the President.
None of this will happen without more changes and compromises, and even then it may not gain the votes needed to succeed.
Please share your thoughts and join the discussion. What issues should health reform address? What are your experiences with health care?
Published or updated October 9, 2009.