That is how much a new healthcare proposal would cost – one that would cover 97% of the country:
The plan carries a 10-year price tag of slightly over $600 billion, and would lead toward an estimated 97 percent of all Americans having coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Chris Dodd said in a letter to other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The AP obtained a copy.
We can expect the right wingers to balk at that prices, but lets put it into perspective. Basically this cost would be about 1/3 of the we pay per year to fight our two wars. It would also be around 1/10th of our annual defense budget, and the Republicans never complain that we spend too much on defense.
The bill also puts some of the burden on employers, but not that much:
Additionally, the revised proposal calls for a $750 annual fee on employers for each full-time worker not offered coverage through their job. The fee would be set at $375 for part-time workers. Companies with fewer than 25 employees would be exempt. The fee was forecast to generate $52 billion over 10 years, money the government would use to help provide subsidies to those who cannot afford insurance.
There’s only one of two reasons an employer wouldn’t offer coverage – either they are greedy or the insurance companies are just too damn expensive. This bill will help alleviate the later by giving the insurance companies some real competition, another thing the Republicans will complain about.
Hopefully with the addition of Senator Franken we can see a real momentum to get this through the Congress in the next few months. We have the highest healthcare costs in the world and the quality is faltering to other industrialized nations, who offer care to their citizens. If America wants to succeed then we need this reform and we need it yesterday.