Effects of bill, how it's paid for - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Effects of bill, how it's paid for

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Far beyond the political ramifications -- a concern the president repeatedly insisted he paid no mind -- were the sweeping changes the bill held in store for Americans, insured or not, as well as the insurance industry and health care providers.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the legislation awaiting the president's approval would cut deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade. For the first time, most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, and face penalties if they refused. Much of the money in the bill would be devoted to subsidies to help families at incomes of up to $88,000 a year pay their premiums.

The second measure, which House Democrats demanded before agreeing to approve the first, included enough money to close a gap in the Medicare prescription drug coverage over the next decade, starting with an election-season rebate of $250 later this year for seniors facing high costs.

It also included sweeping changes in the student loan program, an administration priority that has been stalled in the Senate for months.

The measure would also usher in a significant expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor. The insurance industry, which spent millions on advertising trying to block the bill, would come under new federal regulation. Parents would be able to keep children up to age 26 on their family insurance plans.

To pay for the changes, the legislation includes more than $400 billion in higher taxes over a decade and cuts more than $500 billion from planned payments to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other providers that treat Medicare patients.

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