HR3962: the new House Bill and its Scoring

by Bruce Webb

Well I have been venturing around the blogosphere and it is grievously clear that most people did not take my advice and Read the Bill!. Well it is not too late: (3.3 MB) Moreover CBO followed up with their preliminary analysis:

The above image is Table 2 and it shows the before (current law) and after numbers. There is a substantial amount of confusion on this with some people adding where instead they should be subtracting and I’ll have to admit while I got the arithmetic operation I mislabeled the results elsewhere. So lets sort it out.

Under current, pre-reform law CBO projected that by 2019 there would be 54 million uninsured American residents, which figure includes undocumented workers. Since under current political conditions it is impossible to extend real reform to include “illegals” any solution will be by nature incomplete. In the case at hand CBO projects that the House bill would extend coverage to 36 million residents leaving 18 million without insurance. Of that 18 million a third or 6 million will be “illegals” leaving 12 million legal non-elderly residents without coverage (some people have tried to add 18 + 12 to get to 30, going the wrong way down One Way Math Street). This 12 million number will include both the so-called ‘invincibles’ who would rather pay the fine than get coverage as well as people who are Medicaid eligible but for whatever reasons can’t manage the paperwork labyrinth. But generally if you are a legal resident of the U.S. who wants insurance you will be able to get it. (Affordability is another question, I think the bill contains adequate provisions for that, others will have differing opinions, we can fight that out in comments or on subsequent posts).

In percentages that adds up to 94% of the total non-elderly population up from 81% today, while it is 96% of the legal non-elderly population, up from 83% today. Not exactly the Universal Single Coverage that people like me would like, but still closing roughly 75% of the gap. Not bad considering the somewhat artificial restraints of both keeping the bill’s cost under $900 billion AND making it deficit neutral over the ten year window.

(Minor note. People are still referring to ‘HR3200’ but as you can see the bill number has changed to ‘HR3962’