Friday, September 4, 2009

Trying to Get My Head Around This

One of my liberal activist mailings earlier this morning misrepresented "the trigger" reportedly being discussed between Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and the White House. The mailing described it thusly: "Incredibly, Barack Obama may advocate for passing a bill with a "trigger" - meaning he'll wait for our health care crisis to get even worse before implementing a public health insurance option."

Now look, I expect lies and scare tactics from the right- such maneuvers seem to be all they have these days. It irritates and angers me, but I expect it. I do not expect, and will not tolerate, such nonsense from my side, especially when it's in the context, first and foremost, of a fund-raising campaign. As soon as I finish this up, I'm going to go back and unsubscribe from that mailing.

There's no doubt that it's been difficult to get factual and objective information about the substance of proposed health care reform(s), but that's not an excuse for making things up. I had to read the article I've excerpted below twice to get the general gist, but I don't think it looks all that bad. Obviously, all the details aren't in place, and I'll need to think about this development in terms of the larger picture. I may decide I don't like the idea after all. Or not. The point is, what's described is a very long shot from "he'll wait for our health care crisis to get even worse." And I won't tolerate propaganda from anyone, even if I agree with their overall goals.
Under Ms. Snowe’s proposal, a new government corporation would offer health insurance in any states where affordable coverage was not readily and widely available from private insurers. The corporation would not be part of the Department of Health and Human Services, although federal officials would serve on its board.

The public insurance plan would be offered in any state where fewer than 95 percent of the residents had access to affordable coverage.

Congress would define “affordable” with a sliding scale based on income. Under a proposal being considered by the Finance Committee, Medicaid would be extended to anyone with income less than 133 percent of the poverty level ($29,327 for a family of four).

For people with incomes just above that level, insurance would be considered affordable if they could find a policy with premiums equal to no more than, say, 3 percent or 4 percent of their income. For people with incomes exceeding three times the poverty level ($66,150 for a family of four), insurance might be deemed unaffordable if the premiums were more than, say, 12.5 percent to 15 percent of their income.
Given that roughly 20% of US households fall below the $29,327 figure noted above, I think it's a fair assumption that the trigger would be pulled immediately. And suppose you have a family of four with a household income of $50K: you would meet the trigger clause if you couldn't find family coverage for less than $2000 per year. I don't think you could find family coverage for much less than five or six times that figure.

If the trigger option placates the righties (who are unable to run through this kind of higher math), and allows a public option to be set in place, I'm OK with it.

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