The Senate substitute now runs over 450 pages. And tucked away in the tax provisions is a landmark health care provision demanding that insurance companies provide coverage for mental health treatment—such as hospitalization—on parity with physical illnesses.Brilliant. That should certainly lower the cost of health insurance. And it should help the proposal sail through the house.
Really a bill onto itself, the mental health parity measure has been a bipartisan priority for top lawmakers in both chambers but has stalled because of disagreements again over how to pay for its estimated $3.8 billion five-year cost. In the current climate, that seems to be no longer a stumbling block, and if the Treasury plan becomes law, it will also.What's another $4B to these morons when they're adding $100B to the $700B package? It's lunch money.
Senate leaders are confident that they can prevail, but the strategy is not without risks in the House given the added costs of the tax package. Congressional Budget Office estimates indicate that the net impact will be to add almost $105 billion to an already large deficit next year, and fiscal conservatives will feel they are being straight-armed by the Senate which has refused to do more to offset the costs.Why should the care when they're also padding the bill with an expensive fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax without worrying about where the money will come from.
The biggest single piece in the package is an extension of protections for millions of middle class families who would otherwise find themselves exposed to the higher levy under the alternative minimum tax. This alone accounts for about three quarters of the cost or $78.8 billion in 2009. Almost $14 billion more can be attributed to a variety of tax break extensions important to business, including the R&E credit worth about $8.4 billion in 2009.These people are sick on two levels. First, the way they try to force us into socialized medicine by piling on costs when they should be looking for ways to make it cheaper. And second, for using the crisis on Wall Street to expand their crisis in health insurance.