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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The NYT Notices Provision of Health Care Bill It Previously Opted to Ignore

The NYT Notices Provision of Health Care Bill It Previously Opted to Ignore

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Monday, 24 May 2010 23:32

I'm back -- thanks for all the nice wishes.From my occasional glimpses at the newspapers the last week and a half I see that I have a lot of work to do.

I'll start with a cheap shot. The NYT just noticed that the pay or play provision in the health care bill makes no sense. The issue here is the extent to which larger employers will be obligated to pick up a portion of their workers' health care costs. The final bill included a provision that subjected employers of more than 50 workers to penalties if employees' health care costs exceeded a certain percent of family income.

The problem with this sort of penalty structure is that employers do not have control over workers family income and in general should not even know it. This sets up an absurd penalty structure where employers do not have the knowledge they need to act to avoid the penalty -- it's sort of like enforcing speed limits that randomly change and are never posted.

The problem with the NYT coverage is its description of this problem as: "a little-noticed provision of the law." Yes, it is true the provision got relatively little attention, but the NYT played a big role in this. Had the NYT opted to pick up on a problem that some people were trying to call attention to, notably Robert Reichsauer, the President of the Urban Insititute and also the former director of CBO (also CEPR), then maybe this ill-conceived penalty never would have made it into the final law.

 

 

 

Comments (18)Add Comment
...
written by izzatzo, May 25, 2010 7:14
The obvious free market solution set up in the bill, in lieu of a public option, is a provision for spot market auctions where competitive health care providers bid on each patient's need for medical care. This would drive down the cost below thresholds that trigger penalties and subsidies.

Snort and giggle and giggle and snort.
...
written by PeonInChief, May 25, 2010 9:52
If the NYT didn't notice it, it was little-noticed. The fact that others noticed it is irrelevant.

Welcome back. While you were gone there was a bunch of stuff on the evils of defined-benefit pensions and another article in the NYT on the evils of the European safety net. And I read nothing but junk.
Complexity is opacity
written by Nostradoofus, May 25, 2010 12:15
Healthcare 'reform' was 2400 pages of piecemeal mods to other law. To understand, you'd need to read perhaps 10000 pages of old and new law.

This was a practical impossibility. That's why there was so little comment on the bill's overall impact, either before or after its passage.

Complexity hinders transparency. Every congressman should have this tattooed on his forehead.

Better yet, it should be considered a breach of constitutional duty for a congressman to vote on a law he has not read. This would quickly simplify everything.
...
written by Queen of Sheba, May 26, 2010 5:35
The administration mentioned that there would need to be some cleaning up of the final bill after its passage - "tweaking," I think they called it. Looks like the Tweakers have their work cut out for them, as I'm certain this is not the last senseless provision that will be pointed out.
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The initiative taken for the concern is very serious and need an attention of every one. This is the concern which exists in the society and needs to be eliminated from the society as soon as
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====================================
Medical Health Blog
...
written by shawnmichle, June 03, 2010 12:28
I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be
sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with
everyone.
=========================================
Medical Health Blog
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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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