So, a lot of people have been lauding (or steaming about) the new Health Care Act. But I feel like so many people on both sides of the fence couldn’t tell you three ways the Act will change the current landscape of health care, so I thought I’d take some time to highlight a few. If you’re already fully informed, then kudos to you! If not, maybe you can now enlighten someone else…
So, here goes nothing…my “top ten” list of things you can now say you actually KNOW about the health care bill.
- First and foremost – if you have a plan, and you are happy with it, you don’t have to do a darned thing. Nothing has to change for you.
- If you don’t have coverage, you will be able to pick it up from an Exchange where you can comparison shop for the plan that is right for you. Makes me think about those car insurance commercials where you can price everything out before you buy.
- You can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. If anything, to me, this is the biggest game changer. You hear time and time again about someone who goes to buy insurance because they want to be covered and discover a condition during their exam and are denied. Not to mention the people that are just looking for coverage to help offset their life-threatening illnesses. I cannot imagine enduring such an event without insurance…fighting for your life shouldn’t mean you have to put yourself in financial ruin in the process. Great, I beat cancer, but now I’m homeless. Not cool.
- The one that we’re hearing a lot about (and goes into effect immediately) is that children through the age of 26 are allowed to stay on their parents’ plan. In the day of high unemployment and reckless behavior that expands in the early 20s…this is a VERY good thing.
- The Act requires that everyone get health care. Here is where opponents of the Act might have some validity. If you don’t get covered, there will be a whopping fine of $2250. That’s a lot. And don’t think you can just go and get any old simpleton policy. You will be required to have adequate coverage, or there will be a penalty. What that penalty is, I’m not sure. Subpart A on p 303 of the Bill (yes, I’ve been reading it) just says “Tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage.” I am hoping the resulting affordability that is proposed will be enough to make the majority of Americans okay with getting themselves covered. While I do believe that everyone should have access to healthcare, I’m not fully okay with making anyone do anything. It is not up to me to stop another’s reckless behavior. I think this is the point Republicans are trying to make…but in a much more polarized manner.
- Caps annual out of pocket spending to $5,000/individual and $10,000/family.
- Expands Medicaid.
- Improves Medicare – closes the ‘donut hole’ – this is about $250 that senior citizens are required to pay for the cost of their prescriptions. Maybe not much to me and you, but that’s a lot of money when you are on a fixed income.
- Tax credits for small business to offer insurance to employees (who usually have to buy on the much more expensive, free market).
- Raised taxes for individuals making more than $200,000 and families more than $250,000. Here is where the Republicans are really in an uproar. The expansion of health care has to be paid for somehow. And the rich will shoulder the brunt. If you are a capitalist by nature (which most Republicans are), than this really lights your fire. I mean, come on, how dare you take an extra $100 out of my hard earned quarter of a million dollars (or more) in earnings and put it towards something other than myself, like social betterment. I mean, really, social responsibility is totally overrated. Okay, okay…that was pure sarcasm (if you didn’t pick it up). I think I’m a Marxist at heart, so I’m all for it. I don’t mind giving up a piece of myself if it means my fellow man is better for it in the long run. This same trait has also led to many a domestic arguments as my husband yells at me for wanting to hand out sandwiches and hot chocolate to the homeless in the winter by myself. It is what it is. Most people are somewhere in the middle.
So there you have it. A little list of things from the Bill that you can actually use in discussion. Note, missing from this list are the lies and scare tactics used to turn people against the reform. There is/are no: establishing of death panels, federal aid to support abortions, lack of choices in what sort of coverage you have, free health insurance to illegal immigrants, or the end of private insurance forced out by a government plan.
Everyone should take the time to read up on it for themselves, but for now…a little bit of info is better than none.