Insurance Report: “Hatchet Job” or “Cold Hard Facts”

A new report suggests the Senate’s health care legislation will cost American families thousands of dollars more each year. The study commissioned by America’s Health Insurance Plans projects the average family of four will pay $1,700 a year more beginning in 2013. Premiums for a single person will go up $600.

A new report suggests the Senate’s health care legislation will cost American families thousands of dollars more each year. 

The study commissioned by America’s Health Insurance Plans projects the average family of four will pay $1,700 a year more beginning in 2013.  Premiums for a single person will go up $600.  Those costs will increase to $4,000 a year for a families by 2019 and individual premiums could be $1,500 higher.

It is a dire message just twenty-four hours before the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to take a final vote on the plan.

Until recently, the health insurance industry was working behind the scenes to help shape health care reform.   That fragile alliance appears to be growing more strained as the legislation moves toward floor votes in the Senate and House.

Reaction from Democrats today was swift and critical.  A spokesman for Senator Max Baucus, the author of the 10-year, $829 billion overhaul, and questions the credibility of the insurance industry’s “late-in-coming” cost estimates.
“It’s a health insurance company hatchet job, plain and simple, said the spokesman, Scott Mulhauser.

Still, the report put the White House and congressional Democrats on the defensive one day ahead of the pivotal vote. 

What do you think about the latest numbers?  Do you support the Baucus Plan?  Let me know your thoughts.

Here are some more headlines from across the country:

“Reform” Means You Pay More for Health Care  

A major new report confirms the worst fears of many: Health care reform will raise the costs for most Americans—by about 18% on average. That is on top of existing inflation of health coverage.

Once the plan is fully phased-in (by 2019), a typical family of four would pay an extra $4,000 each year.

When combined with existing inflation, costs would rise from today’s $12,300 annual average to $25,900. Of that 111% increase, $9,600 is due to existing factors uncorrected by the legislation, and $4,000 due to additional costs created by the legislation.

Read more on Heritage

Morning Bell: Obamacare Invades Your Wallet

This Morning Bell is the first in a five-part week-long series on how Obamacare will affect you.

Throughout his campaign, and even in to the first few months in office, President Barack Obama repeatedly promised the American people that his health care plan would reduce their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It has been a while since President Obama made that promise, and any honest look at the health legislation being considered in Congress explains why.

The Senate Finance Committee bill written by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) (the Baucus bill) first drives up the cost of health insurance for all Americans and then forces everyone to buy it or face tax penalties or jail time.

Read more on Heritage

Insurance industry Brutus stabs Democratic Caesar Baucus in the back 

After the Senate Finance Committee wrote a healthcare bill that would create windfall profits for insurers, the insurers plunged the knife into the back of the committee with a bogus report to frighten consumers on the eve of committee action. Windfall profits aren't enough for the Gilded Age lobbyists of greed. They want more! They want it all!

The president should step into the Rose Garden and denounce the tissue of lies put out by the industry and demand, and I mean demand, the inclusion of a public option in the healthcare bill.

Read more on The Hill

Obama’s Health Plan Offers Medicare Cuts, Tax Increases First, Benefits Later

Sixty years is how long Democrats say they've been pushing for legislation that provides health care access for all Americans. They'll have to wait another three if President Obama gets a bill to sign this year.

Under the Democratic bills, federal tax credits to help make health insurance affordable for millions of low- and middle-income households won't start flowing until 2013 -- after the next presidential election. But Medicare cuts and a sizable chunk of the tax increases to pay for the overhaul kick in immediately.

Read more on Fox News

Insurers escalate criticism of health overhaul

WASHINGTON - After working for months behind the scenes to help shape health care reform, the insurance industry is now sharply attacking the emerging plan with a report that maintains Senate legislation would increase the cost of a typical policy by hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars a year.

Read more on MSNBC

White House Tries to Strike Down Insurance Industry Criticism Ahead of Key Vote

The White House fired back Monday at the health insurance industry for issuing a study that claims the health care reform bill working its way toward a key vote Tuesday will raise the cost of individual coverage by hundreds of dollars a year.

Linda Douglass, spokeswoman with the Office of Health Reform, said in a statement that the timing of the study, released just hours before the Senate Finance Committee is set to vote on its bill, raises questions about its legitimacy. She joined other Democratic officials in trying to keep the analysis from gaining traction.

Read more on Fox News

Former HHS Secretary backs Baucus bill

The former secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush announced Monday he supports the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare reform effort.

Dr. Louis Sullivan, a Republican, told ABC News that he remains skeptical of some of the proposal's policy specifics, but he called the chairman's mark "a compromise that has elements that indeed, I think, all individuals, Republicans or Democrats, can support."

"We’re not going to get a perfect answer," the former secretary added.

Read more on The Hill 

Pelosi Criticizes Baucus Health Bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not among those praising Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) for bringing his healthcare bill in well under President Barack Obama’s $900 billion limit.

Pelosi (D-Calif.), an advocate of the government-run health insurance option left out of the Senate Finance Committee chairman’s bill, criticized the means by which Baucus kept costs down.

“The savings come off the backs of the middle class,” Pelosi told a closed-door caucus meeting. “This is why we need a strong public option going into conference with the Senate.”

Read more on The Hill

The Baucus Spending Bill Vortex

The House and Senate are clearly divided over how to pay for the massive new spending commitments the federal government is taking on.

Right now, House and Senate Democrats are meeting behind closed doors to figure out who they will tax and how much they can cut Medicare to meet what will be at least a $1 trillion commitment in new spending. Assuming for just the moment that they can make them match, Congress should look to the example of what Medicaid has done to state budgets.

Medicaid Mess. The commitment to Medicaid has become so large; it acts like a vortex, drawing everything else into itself. Congress should stop and take a good look at what happened to state budgets this past year.

Read more on Heritage

Middle Class Pays More Under Baucus

The Congressional Budget Office issued a report today giving the Baucus health care bill the stamp of deficit-reduction approval, but this was earned only through steep increases in indirect taxes, such as the coverage mandate. The coverage mandate included in Senator Baucus’ health care plan has significant and disturbing implications for middle-class Americans. Individuals earning up to $45,520 and families earning up to $92,640 would need to cut corners to make ends meet, all in response to the indirect tax implicit in a health care mandate.

For individuals making $34,140 or three times the Federal Poverty Level, the Baucus health care proposal could mandate up to $4,097 in annual premiums, a sum which could have been spent on over nine months of food, almost four months of housing or well over a year of utilities.

Read more on Heritage

The Baucus Bill: A Closer Look at the CBO Report

Looking beyond the media hype, taxpayers should remember a few crucial facts about the recent CBO/JCT analysis of the Finance Committee’s provisions for the America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009. As former CBO Director Donald Marron has pointed out, there is more to CBO’s analysis than short term budget estimates.

The analysis is preliminary. As the letter points out, the analysis is still not based on legislative language. Moreover, Senate Leaders have to merge the bill with the HELP Committee bill before the bill comes to the floor. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the current analysis will be relevant to the debate much past the upcoming Finance Committee vote.

Read more on Heritage

As always, thanks for making WYMT-TV your source for news and information.  We appreciate your trust.

God Bless America!
Neil Middleton
WYMT Mountain News
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