October 30, 2009

The Politico, via email:

If the House and Senate are forced to water down the public option (to, say, negotiated rates in the House and a Senate trigger), liberals will have a much weaker negotiating position in the Senate-House conference committee. So look for liberal pressure groups to work on moderate Dems big in coming days as it becomes increasingly clear that the public option’s epilogue could be cast in the debate’s first chapters.

Progressives, start your engines! We have a lot of work ahead of us.

In the meantime, I've finally located the numbers for premium subsidies - or, as they're called in the bill, "affordability credits." Here they are, and as I thought, the numbers simply aren't realistic.

The bill provides financial assistance on a sliding scale. Premiums range from 1.5 percent of income to 12% for those at 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. The plan provides additional assistance for households up to 400% of the FPL by limiting cost-sharing to 3% of plan costs at the lowest tier, to 30% of plan costs at 350-400% of the FPL.

For instance: If your income is under 133-150% of the poverty level, your premiums will be limited to a range of 1.5 to 3%. That means you'll pay 3% of plan costs, with an annual out-of-pocket cap of $500 for individuals and $1000 for families.

And so on:

150-200% - 3-5.5% - 7% - $1000/$2000

200-250% - 5.5-8% - 15% - $2000/$4000

250-300% - 8-10% - 22% - $4000/$8000

300-350% - 10-11% - 28% - $4500/$9000

350-400% - 11-12% - 30% - $5000/$10,000

The Federal Poverty Level is:

Persons in family

1 $10,830

2 14,570

3 18,310

4 22,050

5 25,790

6 29,530

7 33,270

8 37,010

For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.

So although I've been on unemployment for the past year, I would be expected to pay approximately $4000 a year. Huh? Your individual mileage may vary, but those figures aren't very reassuring to me.

Do the math, and let me know if you think this is affordable. If it isn't, it's time to push your representatives into doing the right thing.

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