Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), a moderate Democrat who has wavered in his support for health care reform and requested the Congressional Budget Office study of health care premiums, has issued a statement indicating that he is satisfied with the CBO’s findings:
This report alleviates a major concern that has been raised — that insurance costs will go up across the board as a result of this legislation. This study indicates that for most Americans, the bill will have a modestly positive impact on their premium costs. For the remainder, more will see their costs go down than up. Hopefully, we can continue to focus the Senate debate on additional ways to make health insurance even more affordable for all Americans.
Other lawmakers including key moderates Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mary Landruie (D-LA) have expressed concern about the affordability of insurance for small businesses and individuals, but have remained silent about the latest CBO report. Yesterday, Collins said she met “for 45 minutes with Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, to discuss her concerns about the legislation.”
According to the budget office, the overwhelming majority of families, individuals, and small businesses would on average pay the same or less for health care coverage. For people purchasing coverage in the nongroup market, premiums will be attached to more generous benefits than policies available today.
The report also concluded that the small business tax credit would further reduce premiums by 8%-11% for people who will receive the additional subsidy (approximately 12% of people in the small market). Small businesses that buy health care coverage from the exchanges will have the advantages of participating in a larger risk pool and would purchase policies with “lower administrative costs, on average, than the policies those firms would buy under current law.”