Now that the year-long debate over health care reform is "over" and the bill passed, some MSM outlets are looking into what the law requires and what its practical effects will be. The Christian Science Monitor describes the health insurance mandate and its subsidies (via Althouse): Who Gets Subsidized Insurance?
The cutoff level would be an income of four times the federal poverty level. For one person, that’s about $44,000 a year. For a family of four, the comparable figure is about $88,000.
Subsidies would be figured on a sliding scale, with those who make less getting a bigger boost and those nearer the top getting a smaller one.
The formula is pretty complicated. Basically, though, people who make three or four times the poverty level would get enough federal money so that they would not have to pay more than about 10 percent of their income for a decent health insurance package.
First off, thanks a lot for nothing Christian Science Monitor. This story could have been written any time in the last 6 months (when the outlines of the mandate/subsidies were out there), but you chose to write about them after the bill was passed (as part of a "Health Care 101" series of articles). People like Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, Paul Ryan, Jim DeMint, Rush Limbaugh and a thousand others were warning about this, but of course they do not count because they are stoopid conservatives and evil besides. Instead, mainstream outlets preferred writing process stories, rather than writing about what was actually in the bill. It's a miracle that opponents got any information at all, but that's what happens if you simply stop relying on sclerotic media organizations to show up after the parade with a map of the route.
As for the substance of the mandate/subsidy relationship described by the Monitor, I can't improve on Althouse:
If you make only $29,000 and have a family of 4, you are already on a terribly tight budget, and yet you will be required, perhaps, to spend $1,160 a year. I'd really like to see a chart that shows how much people are going to need to pay.The federal subsidy would go straight to the insurer. It would look like a discount on the policy to the customer.I think there's going to be a sliding scale of freaking out over the new requirements. Just understanding them and absorbing what is required will be stressful. And then you have to come up with the money, or face the penalty:
The whinging leftists having vapors over voicemail messages about "snipers" are going to need snipers just to get out the door once people realize what a rip off this is. A lot more people would have known a lot earlier had all those self-proclaimed hard-news skeptics in the investigative branch of the MSM done their jobs. Instead, they fed us a steady diet of distraction - death panels! "You Lie!" Eric Massa! Reconciliation! 60! - while the substantive discussion was left to blogs, talk radio, and protest signs.