CBO says health plans key to health system reform

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office suggests that in essence, President Obama is on the right track when it comes to his health reform proposals. To date, all of Obama's pronouncements on health reform have assumed that private health insurance would continue to have a significant role in the system. Now, the CBO is suggesting that this approach makes sense.

CBO analysts said that a government mandate demanding that all citizens buy health insurance wouldn't be considered a new federal tax, as long as people had many private health plans from which to choose, and a government agency didn't collect premiums.

The CBO also took a look at other options being proposed in pending legislation, including a "public option" for the uninsured and "exchanges" allowing individuals and small companies to buy coverage. The CBO argues that these approaches wouldn't necessarily move the premiums onto the federal budget, a benefit that might make them more palatable.

To learn more about this analysis:
- read this Washington Post piece