The description of the House’s national health care plan runs 50 pages; the actual bill exceeds 1,000 pages. What would this massive proposal, if enacted, mean to you? It seems likely that some existing businesses would close because of the added cost of doing business, potential start-ups might never get started, and, for those that continue to operate, it would certainly cost them more.
Here are some key points in the proposal under debate:
- Businesses would face a choice: provide health care (within limits set by the government) or pay a penalty. Businesses with more than $500,000 in revenues that do not provide coverage would pay a penalty of 8% of payroll. There would be a graduated penalty for businesses with revenues between $250,000 to $500,000; business with less than $250,000 would be exempt from the mandate.
- Self-employed individuals would be required to buy their own health insurance or pay a penalty of 2.5% of income.
- A surtax would be imposed on higher-income individuals (many of whom are small business owners). At the lower end of the surtax rate scale, individuals with income of $280,000 and couples with income of 350,000would owe a 1% surtax; at the top end, couples with income of more than $1 million would pay a 5.4% surtax.
What do we get for this high cost? A government-run health plan that could undermine the current private insurance system now in place. It remains to be seen who would determine the care that could be obtained under this system. We can only guess whether care will be better or worse under this system.
My only question: Would members of Congress be covered by this new program or would they continue to enjoy their special health coverage?