Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keep it affordable, please

Check out this analysis of pending health insurance legislation provided by the Economic Policy Insitute,

Cutting Health Insurance Subsidies
Would Hurt Wyoming Families

In Wyoming, the median income for an average family of four is $77,432 and the projected family health insurance premium in the proposed new national marketplace (to be implemented under Congressional reform proposals) is $13,230.

If premium subsidies are cut from 400% of the federal poverty line to 300%, as politicians in the House of Representatives and in the Senate have proposed, many Wyoming residents may not be able to purchase health insurance.

With the subsidy proposed in current House of Representatives legislation, the median family of four in Wyoming would receive $5,299 a year to help them purchase insurance in the new insurance exchange.

By cutting eligibility to 300% of the federal poverty line, about 82,884 individuals in Wyoming stand to lose support.

Nationally, about 42 million individuals (or 14.3% of the population) are between 300-400% of the federal poverty line and thus stand to be affected by a cut in eligibility. The lost subsidy for these families averages $5,000 per year, meaning that the median family would be forced to spend 19% of their income on premiums. This analysis likely understates the problem because it only looks at insurance premiums, and not total out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Slashing subsidies to lower the price of reform undermines the fundamental point of reform—to make health insurance more, not less, accessible and affordable.

Wyoming families ought to ensure that their politicians make reform affordable for middle-class households.

More information can be found in the EPI Issue Brief #261
(“Expanded Subsidies are Essential to Health Reform”), available online at