A short summary of the health care reconciliation bill
Here are the ‘fixes’ the House has added to the Senate Bill. Should the bill pass the House – the vote expected to take place on Sunday – these items will go to the Senate where the Democrats will attempt to pass them via reconciliation.
-Better tax credits for low income and middle-income families to help pay insurance premiums.
Individuals earning less than $41,500, or a family of three earning less than $70,400, will receive a higher tax credit than what had originally been granted in the Senate Bill.
-Six months after the bill is enacted into law –
- All existing and future health insurance plans are prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on payouts.
- All existing and future health insurance plans are prohibited from denying coverage to children with pre-existing health conditions. Insurance companies will be barred from denying coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions beginning in 2014.
- Children up to age 26 can remain on their parent’s insurance policies.
- Annual limits on what an insurance company will pay will be restricted and will be prohibited completely beginning in 2014.
-Modifications to the “Cadillac tax”-
This tax on higher priced insurance policies has been pushed five years and now won’t go into effect until 2018. The thresholds for the tax have also been raised, now applying to individual policies that cost $10.200 or more and family policies costing $25,500 or more. Under the new numbers, the value of dental and vision plans (often provided by the large union plans) will not be included in determining if a policy reaches the threshold for the tax.
-Higher Tax on people earning over $200,000 to make up for the scaled back Cadillac tax.
To continue to make the numbers work, the money lost by delaying the Cadillac tax on high end policies had to be made up somewhere. So, for those individuals earning $200,000 or more year, and couples who earn $250,000 or more, the current Medicare tax deducted from paychecks in the amount of 1.45% will rise to 2.35%.
-Lower penalty for those who choose not to buy health insurance for most people.
The flat payment annual penalty is reduced to$695 by 2016 or 2.5% of income by 2016. Penalty for a family is the greater of 3 times the individual flat fee penalty $2,085 or 2.5% of household income.
-Increases penalties for large employers (50+ workers).
Large employers will have to pay a fee of $2,000 per employee if they do not offer health coverage.
-Ends the Part D Medicare Donut hole.
For seniors who fall into the donut hole in 2010 (the gap in pharmaceutical coverage), the government will provide a rebate in the amount of $250.00. The donut hole will be closed completely by 2020.
- Raises payments to primary care physicians for Medicaid patients.
Beginning in 2013, payments to primary doctors seeing Medicaid patients must be 100% of the Medicare rate for treatment. This is important as it will help stem the loss of doctors refusing to see these patients due to poor payment.
-Kills the Cornhusker Compromise while picking up the full tab for Medicaid expansion.
While the offensive deal made in the Senate will disappear, the federal government will pick up 100% of the costs states incur through expanding Medicaid to cover more people as required in the Senate bill.