’s 10 Things Every American Should Know About Health Care Reform

People are complaining that the health care bill that is currently on the verge of being law is flawed.

Well, duh. People who actually claim that this bill should not become law because it is flawed come in two flavors:

1) Those who are simply against all health care reform and are just blowing this out of one orifice or another. Birthers, teabaggers, Republicans, heatlh care lobbyists, other undesirables.

2) People who have little knowledge of how these things work and just woke up to find that reality is not what they assumed, in their ignorance it to be. Have you ever heard of the EPA and environmental regulation? The “Great Society” and legal protections for disadvantaged groups? The New Deal and banking regulation?

All three of those major shifts if the interrelationship between society and government, all of which progressives look back on and can justifiably claim to be good things, started out as sucky law. This is how it is done. You propose some good law, the yahoos show up and delay, damage, mess with the process until you finally have something that can’t pass. Then you give up.

Then you come back and do it again. And again. And again. And finally, you get the law passed.

Then you have this law that is not what you wanted, but you DO have a bill. You are now, finally, at the table. The basic idea of having laws of some kind dealing with a basic issue … racial discrimination, environmental protection, banking regulation, or people- and health-oriented health care insurance regulation … is then a reality, and further negotiations must start from that point, in stead of the perspective that the notion of reform is alien.

If you look a those early versions for these other, earlier efforts they were much less developed and probably much less effective than the current health care bill is. And to demonstrate that, I give you the recently posted list of ten good things about this bill from

1. Once reform is fully implemented, over 95% of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured.

  1. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions–or to drop coverage when people become sick.

  2. Just like members of Congress, individuals and small businesses who can’t afford to purchase insurance on their own will be able to pool together and choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums.

  3. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following ten years.

  4. Health care will be more affordable for families and small businesses thanks to new tax credits, subsidies, and other assistance–paid for largely by taxing insurance companies, drug companies, and the very wealthiest Americans.

  5. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs because the legislation closes the “donut hole” gap in existing coverage.

  6. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.

  7. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people.

  8. Instead of losing coverage after they leave home or graduate from college, young adults will be able to remain on their families’ insurance plans until age 26.

  9. Community health centers would receive an additional $11 billion, doubling the number of patients who can be treated regardless of their insurance or ability to pay.

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13 thoughts on “’s 10 Things Every American Should Know About Health Care Reform

  1. Here’s the summary I’ve been using on people in conversation:

    1) Insurers have to sell you insurance, even if you’re sick
    2) In exchange, everyone has to buy coverage.
    3) If you can’t afford it, the government will help you pay.

    They each have a reason:

    1) Insurers keep screwing sick people.
    2) If we don’t mandate, adverse selection will destroy insurance (well, it is already).
    3) Clearly, if you’re broke, you need help paying.

    There’s a lot of other stuff in there, but I think those are the most important, can have the advantage of being short and easy to understand.

  2. This bill couldn’t come at a better time for me. As a student about to graduate from college, I’m extremely nervous about entering the adult world without a health safety net should something go wrong, ESPECIALLY if I have kids between now and when I turn 26. This gives me a bit of time to save and find a steady job before I have to take control of my own insurance.

  3. The person who set up the Canadian system is the father or grandfather of Keanu Reaves (I believe I have the correct actor). This man was named ‘man of the century’ for this accomplishment. As much as Canadians complain about their system, they would not give it up for ours. Canadians live longer and healthier lives than we do, have a lower infant and maternal death rate. In fact, they beat us on nearly every bench mark on health, despite all of our superior technology.

  4. Greg, thanks for throwing the cold water of reality in my face. Being one who sometimes whinged about the inadequacy of the bill I needed that!

    It is, after all, a start. And as I like to remind myself, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Disappointed that we don’t have a public option or single payer? As a recent NPR series on health care systems around the world pointed out, neither does (gasp!) “socialistic” France – their system is all private but highly regulated, and not based on fee-for-service. The French are quite happy with it.

    Doesn’t control costs? Maybe the government doesn’t need to. Already, some large private, for-profit health care companies are putting their doctors on salary and paying only for successful outcomes, just as most health care economists say we should. So the much-vaunted “market discipline” might actually play a constructive role in killing the ruinous fee-for-service model that is the main driver of the cost spiral.

    Now, if we can just fix that corporate welfare clause in the Bush prescription drug benefit that the Gov’t. can’t negotiate for the best deal. Hm…maybe if we did something to lessen corporate influence in government like…visit

    Yeah, abolishing “corporate personhood” is my thing, and would strike at the root of a lot of problems.

  5. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions

    From what I understand, this only applies to children under 19. Can someone clear this up for me? Either way it’s a step in the right direction.

    However, it is a huge relief to know that if I get cancer or some other expensive disease, I won’t get kicked off my plan.

  6. As a Canadaian I will agree Whole heartedly that I would not give up our Health care system for the one in the US. That being said, The US has now started to take the steps to potentially have a system that could be better then ours.

    The Biggest complaint in Canada is the Wait time, Emergency Rooms have long waits and the time to see a specialist and get certain Tests take a long time. But in general this is with Non-Life Threatening conditions. The More serious something is the less wait there is. They key being that No-one gets turned away! Have there been instances that the long waits have caused problems? Without mentioning specifics I am sure that there has, but it is the exception not the Norm.

  7. catgirl: the pre-existing conditions thing will be phased in. Starting in 2014, pre-existing conditions can not be a factor. Full stop. Starting within three months of signing, pre-existing conditions for “children” can’t stop insurance. There are one or two intermediate steps from the initial state to the final state.

  8. The punchline, gwen, is that health care in Canada costs HALF as much per capita as it does here.

    Granted, part of that is due to the single area in which the US does stand out, and that’s in top of the line cutting edge stuff, which tends to be very expensive. Just think what would happen to those Canadian waiting lines if they DOUBLED their health care expenditures.

  9. Thanks, Greg. Just watched the signing ceremony, so we’re on our way. I agree that we rarely start with a perfect bill and then go on to run barefoot in a meadow of flowers. It’s a beginning.

    Unfortunately, of course, America will be just a smoking hole in the ground soon as our democracy crumbles and the republic disappears due to this law, according to some very insightful white men with television and radio programs.

  10. I have been involved with politics for at least 40 years on the left. Sorry, I disagree with your analysis. What is happening is a major transfer of wealth from the middle class to the corporations that run our health “care” system. What happened was a decision by Obama to give mass amounts of money to these industries (secret deals anyone).

    I’ll come back in a couple of years when the mandates and taxing of adequate empoyer benefits kick in. Tell me then how we are going get all these goodies improved upon when we had massive majorities and the momentum last year and got this. The nicest thing I can say about Obama is that maybe he isn’t a liar and corrupt maybe he is just incompetant.

    It ain’t the cold water of reality, it’s the fru fru of wishful thinking. Real reform has been prevented for at least a generation.

  11. Nice try – still not satisfied that we don’t know how the bill will keep adjusters from denying payment until you run down to their cubicles and threaten to wring their necks. Had too many threats of being put into collections for charges I know and the insurance company knows they will pay. Eventually.

  12. As a Brit, like the Canadians here, I’m amazed there’s so much fuss over such small steps, but its a start. Perhaps the best way to think about it is to paraphrase Churchill – ‘its not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning’.

    Gwen – I had to find out if Reeves really was the grandson of the greatest ever Canadian, but alas its Kiefer Sutherland instead. On the other hand, Reeves’s father was a heroin dealer, so he was interested in pharmacology…

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