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Melding the Bills

Congress continues to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills this week, and it seems as if they are definitely making progress towards a compromise. Yesterday President Obama indicated his preference for the high-end insurance tax as opposed to the high income tax in order to raise revenue for reform, though a combination of scaled down versions of the two is a more realistic scenario. There are also talks of basing the Cadillac plan excise tax on generous benefits as opposed to cost which could be a more accurate assessment on excessive benefits in order to raise revenue and help contain costs in the long term.

Senator Ben Nelson’s deal to fully fund Medicaid expansion in Nebraska continues to receive criticism from Nebraskans and non-Nebraskans alike, now including public disapproval from Senators Sherrod Brown, Blanche Lincoln and 13 attorney generals. As a result, Nelson is now calling for full federal financing of Medicaid for every state, though it is unclear if the idea can hold water given the potential price tag.

As I have noticed in past votes: What if elected Congressmen actually represented their local constituents’ best interests as opposed to their own political ideology? Head here to read about a very interesting stratification of how reform will effect individual states, and which political party represents them.

The chart below from the study shows states that are the biggest ‘winners’ in the bottom left ranging to the biggest ‘losers’ in the top right (progressing up the left column, then up the right column)

Authors’ Conclusion: Most legislators have decided their position on reform without any consideration of the relative costs and benefits.