Obama health plans would carry $1 trillion price tag

by Lesley Politi on November 14, 2008

Obama health plans would carry $1 trillion price tag

Atlanta Business Chronicle – by Mike Sunnucks

President-elect Barack Obama’s universal health insurance plans would look a lot like the program being tried in Massachusetts. It would cost $75 billion a year and $1 trillion over the next decade, according to a new analysis.

PricewaterhouseCoopersHealth Research Institute placed those price tags on Obama’s plans in a report released Wednesday. Obama wants to expand some government health programs and mandate and subsidize coverage in other areas to provide insurance for the 46 million uninsured in the U.S.

The $75 billion would cover 30 million uninsured Americans and would be on top of existing U.S. health care spending, the PricewaterhouseCoopers study said.

Obama wants to increase spending and eligibility for Medicaid programs and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Large businesses would be required to provide health benefits, or pay penalties that would be used to cover the uninsured. The president-elect would offer some exemptions and subsidies for small businesses and uninsured consumers, but also mandate coverage for children. It would not be government-run system akin to those in Europe, but looks a lot like the hybrid plan put together by former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

A SCHIP expansion looks to offer public health insurance to working class and middle-class children who do not have coverage. Previous SCHIP expansions were vetoed by President Bush, who argued the program should stick to the working poor. Bush also does not support mandated coverage for employers.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country without some form of universal health insurance.

Source:www.bizjournals.com

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