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Lewin Expert testifies at House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on Health Reform

June 25, 2009

The Impact of the House Health Reform Legislation on Coverage and Provider Incomes
Testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives
Submitted by: John Sheils, Vice President, The Lewin Group
Date: June 25, 2009

Click here to view the testimony.

The House bill includes a public plan as part of a broad health reform proposal that would expand health insurance coverage. The program expands increases Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and provides individual subsidies for the purchase of insurance for people between 133 percent and 400 percent of the FPL. Tax credits are available to small employers who purchase coverage, while larger employers are also required to contribute to the cost of coverage for workers. Individuals who do not have coverage would be fined 2.0 percent of their income up to the national average premium amount.

The bill would permit individuals and employers to purchase health insurance from a newly created “public plan” modeled on Medicare. The public plan would compete for enrollment with private insurers in a newly formed network of “exchanges” that present a selection of competing health plans to consumers. The public plan would be required to follow the same rules concerning pre-existing conditions and premium rating practices  that apply to private plans.

We estimate that the public plan under the House bill would have premiums that are 20 percent to 25 percent less than for comparable private coverage.
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