The CBO confirmed [pdf] yesterday what Jonathan Gruber concluded: The Senate health care bill will lower health insurance premiums.

Specifically, for those Americans buying insurance in the new "exchange," after you factor in the tax-credits they will receive to afford health care they will end up saving almost 60% over what they’d pay without reform. Those in the small group market – small businesses, for the most part – will see declines of around 10%. And for those in the large group market – larger businesses and typically the most robust health care in our system today – there will be very little changes in price, if anything a reduction of a few percentage points.

But price is only part of the story. As Ezra Klein explains, while costs will go down, quality will shoot up:

The CBO estimates that 57 percent of people in the individual market will receive subsidies to help them purchase health-care insurance (folks on the individual market tend to be much lower-income, with much less stable employment). Those subsidies will reduce premium costs by between 56 to 59 percent for the average beneficiary. So in the final analysis, the effect of reform on your typical individual market purchasers is to give them insurance that’s about 30 percent better but only 10 to 12 percent more expensive, and then assure them subsidies that will lower their payments by more than 50 percent. And if you’re in the small group or large group markets, your premiums are expected to fall a bit.

Good deal, no?

Reform also increases the quality of the plans in the small and large group markets by making them conform to exchange standards over time.

Bottom line: Under the Senate health care bill, your health care will definitely get better. And if you get your insurance through a small business or on your own, your costs will go down.

Which is not to say the Senate health care bill is perfect – there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly on making sure health care is truly affordable for everyone – but the numbers are in, and reform works.

(also posted at the NOW! blog)

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.