Last night I stayed up to watch C-Span. The first time in my life that I did so, other than while flipping through channels. But last night was important, historically. Last night the House of representatives passed the Health Care Reform Bill that was passed by the Senate. They also passed another Bill that would require the Senate to review their Bill and make adjustments to it, which is a good thing. Soon it will go to Obama to sign, and Health Care Reform will be the law of the land.
Do I think it’s a perfect bill? Hardly. Truthfully, has a perfect bill ever been passed? But it is a step in the right direction, and we have never taken that step before. 32 million more Americans will be able to get health insurance (which is run by corporations). While I do not like the “mandated” insurance piece, at least until there is a public option which helps people who can’t afford insurance, there are many pieces that I think are past due.
Denial of coverage: Under the current plan, people with chronic conditions would have a very difficult time getting insurance, including if they left their job to take on a better job with better wages. That won’t happen under this law. This law takes effect in 6 months for kids and in 2014 for everyone.
Adults under age 26: Currently, children are dropped from their parents insurance once they turn 19, unless they are in college. This age limit is pushed out to 26 now. This is very important, as many of these young adults are getting jobs where they are kept part time (under 38 hours) so the work place does not have to offer benefits. In Minnesota, we have a law that says kids under 25 should be covered by their parents insurance, but there are many exclusions. Our insurance is excluded because we are a “private” insurance group. My brother’s State insurance is excluded because the law does not include State insurance. This explains why my nephew with leukemia has completed one college program, will complete another this year, and has to enroll in a new program next year, all because he will be dropped during his treatment if he is not in college. Chemo and college don’t always go together, as anyone with a loved one receiving chemo knows.
Small business: Tax credits will take affect this year. Starting in 2014, small businesses will only have to pay 50% of the premium. This law is good for small businesses.
Medicare: Starts to close the donut hole for seniors this year, with a $250 credit toward expenses not covered by Medicare and other insurances. By 2014, seniors will get a 50% discount on brand name drugs, and in 2020, the donut hole will be completely covered. While Medicare will be cut, it will be through getting rid of waste and fraud. The AARP and other special interest groups for retirees support the law. There are many more benefits for Medicare recipients and retirees that I have not included here, but they are very worth checking out if this this is an area that you are interested in.
These are the highlights of the program that appeal to me. A more comprehensive summary can be found at: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=10416
I kow that some people are concerned about the abortion component of the bill. While I am personally against abortion, I have always believed that the decision to abort is between a woman and her doctor. It is not a decision to be made by lawmakers. So, like any other medical procedure, it should be covered as well. People who fret that more abortions will occur if this goes through, I strongly disagree. They would get an abortion whether or not this language was included in the bill. Furthermore, I think the abortion issue begins at home. Parents need to establish a belief system with their children. That will be the most impactful way to decrease abortions.
I truly believe that health care should be a right, not a privilege. Therefore, I support this bill as a huge step in the right direction.