Sen. Bennet: Health care reform will help ease insurance costs

By EMILY ANDERSON
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Change may seem scary, but staying the course with health care could be costly, Sen.
Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said Friday.

Health insurance premiums increased nearly 100 percent from 2000 to 2007, and wages increased slightly more than 20 percent, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data.

Bennet said during an editorial board meeting with The Daily Sentinel that he believes health-care-reform legislation will help ease the rising cost of Colorado health insurance.

“If we stay with the status quo, what we know is that these double-digit increases will continue,” Bennet said.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry said in an editorial in Friday’s Daily Sentinel that he believes the legislation will inspire many companies to drop the health-care coverage they provide in favor of the government’s plan, causing unwanted plan changes for some employees.

Bennet said the Congressional Budget Office predicts something else.

“The CBO’s view of that ... is more people would be insured by private (companies) than would be insured by private insurance today,” Bennet said.

Bennet also introduced a bill with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., seeking to cap annual spending with the goal of easing out of the nation’s $1.7 trillion deficit.

A deficit occurs when more money is spent on programs than is collected in taxes in one year.

After a steady climb into the black around the turn of the century, the federal government returned to deficit spending in 2004.

The PAYGO, or pay-as-you-go bill, would resemble 1990 legislation and require across-the-board cuts if unique costs put forth in new legislation or new tax cuts cause the federal government to overspend.


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