Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Net and gross 

It's worth remembering that the CBO scoring of the Kennedy-Dodd health insurance bill -- from which everyone is saying $1 trillion over 10 years for 16 million net uninsured people -- measures the change in the deficit, not the cost of provision. CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation assume that businesses who would offload their employees to the government option will pay $257 billion over the ten years in taxes (really, a kind of fine). Those covered will make some nominal payment, assumed by CBO to be $100 per person per year. So the gross cost of coverage of a net 16 million people is about $7,993 per person per year. A recent survey by Towers Perrin suggests corporate health care costs of $9,660 per employee, but an employee may cover several persons. (The cost for an employee only is $4,860.)

It's hard to see how this thing saves money.

For more, see Keith Hennessey.

UPDATE: Also, from a blogger conference call attended by Gary Gross:
I asked whether these gentlemen would agree with my characterization that single-payer is a �race to the bottom�. Jack Kingston cited two startling comparisons on cancer survival rates.

The survival rate for breast cancer in the United States is 84%; in Britain, it�s 69%.

The survival rate for prostate cancer in the United States is 92%; it�s only 51% in Great Britain.

That last statistic was a jaw-dropper for me. Think of the difference between 9 men in 10 surviving in the United States vs. 1 in 2 men dying of prostate cancer in the UK.

I don't know that Kennedy-Dodd is the British system, but you could argue it's one giant step towards it. Fighting back with data like that above can be effective.

UPDATE 2: K-D might already be dead.

UPDATE LAST: �Maybe it's more, but we're trying to hit a moving target here. �The bill now being discussed is different from the CBO-scored bill. �As I said this morning, there's a heckuva fight going on over how to pay for this, and there's going to be more trial balloons floated here than an Albuquerque fiesta.

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