Terry Jeffrey
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The Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the final Senate health care bill indicates it would slap a mandatory annual fee of about $15,000 on middle-class families that earn an annual income greater than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($88,200 for a family of four) and are not provided with health insurance by their employer.

On Dec. 19, the CBO sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., analyzing the fiscal impact of the bill the Senate is poised to vote on before Christmas.

The CBO analysis cites five basic facts about the bill that acting together would deal a devastating financial blow to many middle-class families if the bill is enacted and enforced as written.

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Here are these facts:

Fact 1: You will be forced to buy health insurance.

Page 1 of the CBO's letter to Reid says, "Among other things, the legislation would establish a mandate for most legal residents of the United States to obtain health insurance"

Fact 2: You will be eligible for a federal subsidy to help you buy health insurance, but only if you earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level ($88,200 for a family of four), your employer does not offer you coverage and you purchase a government-approved plan in a government-regulated insurance exchange.

Page 7 of the CBO's letter to Reid says: "The bill also would establish new insurance exchanges and would subsidize the purchase of health insurance through those exchanges for individuals and families with income between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. ... As a rule, full-time workers who were offered coverage from their employer would not be eligible to obtain subsidies via the exchanges."

Fact 3: Your employer will not be required to offer you coverage, and will face a maximum fine of $750 per worker per year if it does not.

Page 7 of the CBO letter to Reid says: "In general, firms with more than 50 workers that did not offer coverage would have to pay a penalty of $750 for each full-time worker if any of their workers obtained subsidized coverage through the insurance exchanges; that dollar amount would be indexed."

Fact 4: Your insurance provider will face new federal mandates that will increase its cost for any plan it offers you.

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Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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