Late yesterday the House released its plan for health care, and it's pretty good. It includes all the popular initiatives: a public option, subsidies for low-income households, a health care exchange for small businesses and people who go it alone, comparative effectiveness research, funding for primary care doctors as well as other high need medical professionals, expansion of Medicaid, an individual and employer mandate, an attempt to eliminate eligibility and rating discrimination, and funding for public health improvement measures. All good stuff, and they've taken steps to ensure affordability, which was the main complaint about Massachusetts's universal health care program. If that public option is strong, that should also take a big bite out of rising health care costs.
Most of this will go into effect in 2013 if it gets passed this year, except for the ban on rescission (where a health care company looks for excuses to cut your coverage if you get an expensive disease), which will go into effect in 2010. As for funding, the public option is supposed to be self-sufficient, while other provisions in the bill will be funded through cuts to and savings from Medicare and Medicaid as well as taxes on people making over $350,000. The Congressional Budget Office pegs this at costing a little over $1 trillion over 10 years and covering 97% of American residents.
This should be a really, really exciting day as the health care wonks work over this bill.