At first glance, it’s not too shabby, especially if we think of it as the Senate’s bargaining position vis-a-vis the more liberal House:
- An individual mandate.
- Subsidies up to 300% of poverty. (This is bad: subsidies need to go up to 400%, or a median-income family without employer-based insurance will take a fairly heavy financial hit.)
- Medicaid up to 133% of poverty.
- Hitting the states with some of the new Medicaid cost. (A terrible idea, suitable for bargaining away in favor of a tax increase on high incomes.)
- Hitting companies that don’t insure their workers with some of the cost of the subsidies (not clear whether this includes some of the cost of Medicaid; threatening to do that would probably keep the two Senators from Wal-Mart in line).
- A minimum benefit package, community rating with an age gradient, and no exclusion of pre-existing conditions. (This is the center of the bill. The age gradient is an excellent idea; no reason younger people as a class ought to be subsidicing older people as a class since the older folks tend to have higher incomes and fewer young children.)
- A tax on Cadillac health insurance plans. (An obviously good idea.)
- Co-ops in lieu of the “public option.” No one knows what this means, and it may be b.s., but to my eye the regulations and subsidies are far more important.