John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


So, What’s the Point?

Posted on December 8, 2009

So, What’s the Point?

Most Americans are looking at this health care bill that is winding through the Senate and asking the basic question:  “so, what’s the point?”

According to a new report from John Thune and his Senate Republican Policy Committee, the point seems, well, pointless.

As Thune says: “Democrats want to spend $2.5 trillion but still leave 90 percent of Americans saddled with the same costly premium increases they can’t afford now. Only in Washington DC is that considered reform.”

In fact, according to his study, premiums will increase at just about the same rate with our without the $2.5 trillion.

Here is an interesting chart that shows how little this legislation will improve the costs for most Americans.  And in fact, if you are an individual looking for insurance, the costs will be even worse.

Firm size Family Premium
Now[v] 2016[vi]

(Reid bill)

(Current law)
Small business $13,300 $19,200 (5.38% average annual increase) $19,300 (5.46% average annual increase)
Large business $13,900 $20,100 (5.41% average annual increase) $20,300 (5.56% average annual increase)
Individual market $9,000 $15,200 (7.77% average annual increase) $13,100 (5.51% average annual increase)

The American people understand this dynamic.  They understand that the risk that their health care quality could diminish is far greater than any potential benefit that might come their way.

That is why they are turning against the bill.

The purpose of this legislation was said to make insurance more affordable, bend the cost curve down, help the uninsured, all without adding to the deficit.

But the legislation will not make insurance more affordable, especially for the uninsured, it won’t bend the cost curve down and will add to the deficit.

Another purpose, cynics might say, is to help the Democrats politically.  But I don’t think the bill – as constructed in either the House or the Senate – will achieve that goal either.

So, what’s the point of this exercise anyway?