Are the Current Health Reform Bills Fair?

A major concern motivating health reform is the desire to make health insurance accessible and affordable to everyone regardless of their economic and personal circumstances. The Senate and House health bills promise to extend insurance coverage to about 30 million more people, almost achieving universal coverage for legal residents of the United States. But on closer inspection, the bills include complex rules about who is eligible for premium subsidies and where they are allowed to buy insurance. Employees in companies that provide coverage will be restricted largely to their company's plan and will not have access to the generous new subsidies and wider range of choices available in the health insurance "exchange" open to others. Does this seriously advantage some people over others who are in nearly identical economic circumstances?

A distinguished panel of experts will discuss how the pending legislation is likely to determine the cost and availability of health insurance to individuals depending on their income level, employment status, and other characteristics. Panelists include James Capretta, a former Senate and White House aide who is now a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, John Sheils, senior vice president at the Lewin Group well known for his analyses of health reform proposals, and Eugene Steuerle, institute fellow and Richard B. Fisher Chair at the Urban Institute and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax analysis. AEI's Joseph Antos will moderate and participate in the discussion.

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