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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

Sheils: Bills Could Cut Group Health Rolls

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NEW YORK – The health reform proposals still floating around Congress currently could reduce the number of uninsured by 23.9 million to 32. 6 million, depending on the bill.

John Sheils, a senior vice president at the Lewin Group, Falls Church, Va., gave those estimates here at an annual executive conference for the life insurance industry sponsored by National Underwriter and its parent, Summit Business Media L.L.C., Erlanger, K.Y.

Sheils spoke as the House appeared to be nearing a floor vote on its main health bill, H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act bill.

The Lewin Group, a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., has been one of the organizations trying to help lawmakers and other policymakers gauge the impact of the proposals.

Any of the bills, if passed, would make significant changes in employer coverage, Sheils said.

Lewin believes S. 1796, the Senate Finance Committee health bill, would cause employers not offering health coverage to provide health benefits for 11.8 million additional workers, but also would cause employers to drop coverage for 19.1 million other workers.

The House bill could cause some employers to drop coverage for 18.1 million, but cause other employers to add coverage for 15.3 million, Sheils said.

Lewin believes the Senate bill would lead to a modest decrease in the deficit, and that the House bill would be neutral for the first 10 years but lead to a big increase in the deficit in later years, Sheils said.

The major difference between the proposals is that the House bill would not let revenues increase enough to keep up with medical costs, Sheils said.


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