The Tragicomic Health Reform Hearings -- At Least Michael Moore Has Lots of Fodder
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Initial estimates of the finance panel's handiwork show that about 25 million people would purchase insurance through the new "exchanges" set up in the health care reform plan. In short, the insurance industry gets 25 million new customers, many of them receiving taxpayer subsidies so they can afford the coverage. The Congressional Budget Office, in assessing an early version of the legislation, estimated that the average subsidy per enrollee would be $5,000 and the cost to taxpayers would approach $500 billion over a decade. Since then, the panel has made the subsidies more generous.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the committee chairman, protested that "It's not a subsidy to the industry. It's dollars to people." The people would then buy insurance from an industry whose failure to hold the line on costs has made coverage unaffordable in the first place. I'm counting on Moore to find some humor in all of this. Otherwise what we have here is a tragedy that's worth a good cry.
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(See attached file: cocc0930.txt)
Marie Cocco is a prize-winning syndicated columnist on political and cultural topics for The Washington Post Writers Group. She is a frequent commentator on national TV and radio shows.