The U.S.-Mexico border isn’t open, but a migrant surge and a mishmash of messages and policies have created another crisis
• Spending on healthcare in the United States has grown from 7.2 percent of GDP in 1970 to 12.3 percent in 1990 and 16.2 percent in 2007.
• In 2007 Medicare and Medicaid accounted for nearly 20 percent of the federal budget and more than 27 percent of total healthcare expenditures.
• 47 million Americans are uninsured.
• Premiums increased 114 percent between 1999 and 2007 while workers' earnings increased only 27 percent.
• The average cost of an employer-based insurance policy in 2008 was $12,680 for a family and $4,704 for an individual.
• The United States had approximately 8.1 million uninsured children in 2007.
• HHS: Sebelius
• Treasury: Geithner
• Budget: Orszag
• NEC: Summers
• Leadership: Reid, D-Nev.; McConnell, R-Ky.
• Budget: Conrad, D-N.D.; Gregg, R-N.H.
• Finance: Baucus, D-Mont.; Grassley, R-Iowa
• HELP committee: Kennedy, D-Mass.; Enzi, R-Wyo.
• Leadership: Pelosi, D-Calif.; Boehner, R-Ohio
• Commerce: Waxman, D-Calif.; Barton, R-Texas
• Budget: Spratt, D-S.C.; Ryan, R-Wis.
• Ways and Means: Rangel, D-N.Y.; Camp, R-Mich.
• Education and Labor: Miller, D-Calif.; Kline, R-Minn.
• The nation's insurers, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, doctors, employers, and medical groups are spending $1.4 million a day on influencing the debate.
• Impose an individual mandate to carry health insurance or face tax penalties.
• Force employers to pay for 50 percent to 65 percent of employee premiums or pay penalty.
• Expand Medicaid to households earning less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level; expand Medicaid to childless adults.
• Provide subsidies to purchase insurance for families earning up to 300 percent or 400 percent of federal poverty level ($66,000 or $88,000 for a family of four).
• Provide government-funded comparative effectiveness research.
• Establish a government-run "public plan" option to compete with private insurers; it may be able to set prices for doctors and hospitals, which opponents say would put private plans at a competitive disadvantage.
• Provide a refundable tax credit for the uninsured to purchase coverage.
The costs for Democratic proposals range from $1.04 trillion to $1.6 trillion over 10 years, to be paid for by:
• A new tax on employer-provided health insurance benefits ($90 billion to $300 billion over 10 years)
• Limiting itemized deductions like mortgages and charitable contributions for high-income earners ($326 billion over 10 years)
• A new "value-added" tax on sugary drinks and increased taxes on alcoholic beverages: $110 billion over 10 years
• A penalty for employers not offering health insurance ($300 billion)
• A new tax on Flexible Savings Account and health reimbursement accounts ($70 billion)
• Trimming Medicare/Medicaid payments to hospitals and other providers ($313 billion)
• An income tax surcharge of 1 percent to 3 percent on Americans earning more than $280,000. The surtax would rise for those earning $500,000 and rise again for those earning more than $1 million, sending the top federal tax rate toward 52 percent ($500 billion over 10 years)
• A voluntary agreement by drug manufacturers to provide a discount on medicines purchased for government programs like Medicare ($80 billion)
• Savings offered by hospitals ($155 billion)
Opponents of many of these items say they would harm the economy and increase unemployment.