Please see below for a fact check on comments made just now on the Senate floor by Senator Ensign, once again ignoring the fact that under reform American families will be paying less for better coverage:     RHETORIC: Sen. Ensign Claimed Senate Bill Contained Nine New Taxes That “Will Affect Every American,” Claimed Taxes Would Increase Insurance Premiums. So what’s wrong with this bill? This bill contains nine — that’s right nine — new taxes that will affect every American. And I want to walk you through those brand-new taxes now…According to the analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which I want to quote now, they say that these taxes would increase costs for effective firms which would be passed on to the purchasers — in other words the employees — and would ultimately raise insurance premiums by a corresponding amount.” [Senate Floor, 12/9/09]     REALITY: REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO IGNORE THE BOTTOM LINE THAT UNDER REFORM, AMERICAN FAMILIES WILL SPEND LESS MONEY FOR BETTER COVERAGE

Based On CBO Estimates, Under Senate Bill, Individuals Would Save From $200 To $2,500; Families Would Save $500 To $7,500 – “In Addition To The More Generous Benefits That These Groups Will Receive Through The [Health Insurance] Exchange.” Jonathan Gruber, MIT professor of economics and a health economics specialist wrote on the updated CBO estimates of the Senate health reform legislation: “I find that the savings are large for both singles and families, and that they are particularly large for the lowest income families that qualify for premium credits under the Senate Bill but would be left to face the full high non-group premium without legislation. In particular, I find that the single individual would save over $2,500 at low incomes (175% of poverty), and would save $200 even at higher incomes (425% of poverty or higher). For families, the savings are much larger, ranging from nearly $7,500 for low income families (at 175% of poverty) to $500 for higher incomes (425% of poverty of higher). It is worth noting that these savings are all in addition to the more generous benefits that these groups will receive through the exchange compared to the non-group market.” [Gruber, 11/27/09]

Study: Insured Pay “Hidden Tax” Of Extra $1,017 In Health Care Premiums Each Year To Compensate For The Uninsured. USA Today reported on a study that found that, “[t]he average U.S. family and their employers paid an extra $1,017 in health care premiums last year to compensate for the uninsured…Families USA, which supports expanded health care coverage, found that about 37% of health care costs for people without insurance — or a total of $42.7 billion — went unpaid last year. That cost eventually was shifted to the insured through higher premiums, according to the group. ‘I don’t think anybody has any idea about how much they are paying because of the need to cover the health care costs of the uninsured,’ said Ron Pollack, the group’s executive director. ‘This is a hidden tax on all insurance premiums, whether it is paid by business for their work or by families when they purchase their own coverage.’” [USA Today, 5/29/09]

REALITY: PREMIUMS WOULD FALL, NOT RISE

NYT: “Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office Persuasively Contradicted” Insurance Industry Claim That Reform Legislation Would Drive Up Insurance Premiums; “Tens Of Millions Of Uninsured Americans Can Be Covered Without Driving Up Costs For Everyone Else.” The New York Times editorial board wrote: “The health insurance industry frightened Americans — and gave Republicans a shrill talking point — when it declared in October that proposed reform legislation would drive up insurance costs for virtually everyone by as much as thousands of dollars a year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office persuasively contradicted that claim this week. Undaunted, the industry issued a rebuttal report, claiming again that premiums would soar. We find this second industry report no more persuasive than the first…And we have far more confidence in the C.B.O.’s expertise in evaluating a wide array of databases and in its objectivity. The chief message Americans should derive from the C.B.O.’s analysis is that tens of millions of uninsured Americans can be covered without driving up costs for everyone else.” [New York Times Editorial, 12/4/09]

Bloomberg News: 134 Million Americans Insured Through Large Employers Will See No Rise In Premiums And May Pay 3 Percent Less…Subsidies Also Will Lower Costs As Much As 59 Percent For 18 Million People Buying Their Own Insurance.” Bloomberg News reported on CBO estimates of the Senate health insurance reform bill’s impact on insurance premiums: “On average, 134 million Americans insured through large employers will see no rise in premiums and may pay 3 percent less than they would if Congress failed to pass a health-care overhaul plan, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said yesterday. Subsidies also will lower costs as much as 59 percent for 18 million people buying their own insurance.” [Bloomberg, 12/1/09]

WP: In “First Objective Analysis Of The Effect On Premiums,” CBO Found That Senate Bill “Would Leave Premiums Unchanged Or Slightly Lower For The Vast Majority Of Americans,” Contradicting Insurance Industry Claims. The Washington Post reported that, “[a]s the Senate opened debate Monday on a landmark plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, congressional budget analysts said the measure would leave premiums unchanged or slightly lower for the vast majority of Americans, contradicting assertions by the insurance industry that the average family’s coverage would rise by thousands of dollars if the proposal became law… Monday’s CBO report offers the first objective analysis of the effect on premiums. An earlier study commissioned by America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group, warned that the Senate bill would dramatically increase insurance premiums, but the study’s authors at PricewaterhouseCoopers later acknowledged that they had ignored major pieces of the legislation in their calculations.” [Washington Post, 12/1/09]

NYT: CBO Estimate Showed That Senate Bill “Could Significantly Reduce Costs For Many People Who Buy Health Insurance On Their Own, And That It Would Not Substantially Change Premiums For The Vast Numbers Of Americans Who Receive Coverage From Large Employers.” The New York Times reported that, “[t]he Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the Senate health bill could significantly reduce costs for many people who buy health insurance on their own, and that it would not substantially change premiums for the vast numbers of Americans who receive coverage from large employers…Before taking account of federal subsidies to help people buy insurance on their own, the budget office said the bill would tend to drive up premiums. But as a result of the subsidies, it said, most people in the individual insurance market would see their costs decline, compared with the costs expected under current law. The subsidies, a main feature of the bill, would cost the government nearly $450 billion in the next 10 years and would cover nearly two-thirds of premiums for people who receive them.” [New York Times, 12/1/09]

REALITY: HEALTH CARE COSTS WOULD FALL, AND WITH IT, WAGES WOULD RISE

House And Senate Bills: Insurers Can No Longer Impose Annual Of Lifetime Benefit Limits, Out Of Pocket Costs For American Families Is Capped – “If You Have Exorbitant Medical Expenses Now, You Will Probably Pay Less.” Kaiser Health News compiled a consumer’s guide to health reform, noting changes affecting the everyday consumer: “The legislation provides new protections. Under both the House and Senate bills, for example, insurers could no longer impose annual or lifetime limits. In addition, under the House bill, individuals wouldn’t pay more than $5,000 a year for deductibles and co-insurance. Families would have a $10,000 limit. The Senate bill sets higher limits. How much so won’t be clear for a few years, but if the law were in place today, the caps would be $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families. Under both bills, out-of-pocket costs would be set lower for most people who qualify for government premium subsidies. The bottom line: If you have exorbitant medical expenses now, you will probably pay less in out-of-pocket costs under the legislation.” [Kaiser Health News, 11/20/09]

MIT Health Economist: Health Reform Will Raise Wages By $234 Billion, Almost $700 Per Insured Household In 2019. According to Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic, MIT professor and health economist Jonathan Gruber has calculated that under health reform: “Worker wages rise by $55 billion by 2019. This amounts to almost $700 per insured household in 2019. Worker wages rise by $234 billion in aggregate over this time period.” [The New Republic, 11/20/09

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