Health Care Reform
January 22, 2008
We analyzed certain fiscal issues related to the health care reform (HCR) plan currently under consideration by the Legislature. We estimated the fiscal impact of HCR using two different assumptions of premiums: $250 per month per person and $300 per month per person. Under the $250 premium scenario there are sufficient revenues to support the program in the first year of operation (2010-11). However, by the fifth year of the program, annual costs exceed revenues by $300 million. Despite annual costs exceeding revenues in the fifth year, the program still has a positive cumulative fund balance because the collection of tobacco tax and employer fees start before program costs are incurred.
Under the $300 premium assumption, costs exceed revenues by $122 million in the first year of operation and this shortfall increases to $1.5 billion by the fifth year of the program. In addition, the fund balance shows a deficit of almost $4 billion by the end of that period, even with the early collection of the tobacco tax and employer fees.
In addition to the premium level, we have identified a number of other fiscal risks and uncertainties which could negatively affect the fiscal solvency of the plan by more than an additional $1.5 billion annually.