Monday, March 22, 2010

Gettin' 'er Done!

Truth, leadership, and perseverance shined brightly over smear and fear. The Right on one hand was decrying the faux talking point of 'Government Run Health Care' (this bill couldn't be further from that) while complaining about cuts from the true government run health care program, Medicare and Medicaid.

Of course there aren't really 'cuts' to those programs, but a conscience efforts to reel in overhead costs and control spending. Isn't that a main tenant of the GOP platform. You wouldn't know that based on their votes, yesterday. The Right is going to find themselves in a perpetual minority once the electorate realizes what they have been doing over the past year and change.

But what does this Bill (PDF)/ (Crib Sheet-PDF) do, and how soon are the reforms going to take effect. Reuters has a nice time-line. Within the first year we'll finally see:
*Insurance companies will be barred from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Lifetime coverage limits will be eliminated and annual limits are to be restricted.

*Insurers will be barred from excluding children for coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

*Young adults will be able to stay on their parents' health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college.

*Uninsured adults with a pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain health coverage through a new program that will expire once new insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014.

*A temporary reinsurance program is created to help companies maintain health coverage for early retirees between the ages of 55 and 64. This also expires in 2014.

*Medicare drug beneficiaries who fall into the "doughnut hole" coverage gap will get a $250 rebate. The bill eventually closes that gap which currently begins after $2,700 is spent on drugs. Coverage starts again after $6,154 is spent.

*A tax credit becomes available for some small businesses to help provide coverage for workers.
Do you believe folks actually didn't support those reforms.

Next year we'll see:
*Medicare provides 10 percent bonus payments to primary care physicians and general surgeons.

*Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get a free annual wellness visit and personalized prevention plan service. New health plans will be required to cover preventive services with little or no cost to patients.

*A new program under the Medicaid plan for the poor goes into effect in October that allows states to offer home and community based care for the disabled that might otherwise require institutional care.

*Payments to insurers offering Medicare Advantage services are frozen at 2010 levels. These payments are to be gradually reduced to bring them more in line with traditional Medicare.
Understand, I am not saying this is the perfect piece of legislation, but it is much needed reform. As the electorate sees through the smear and fear, and begins to recognize the positive impact of this legislation. As the economy continues to improve through growth in GDP, improvements in unemployment, and boosts in manufacturing; the outlook for November will change dramatically.


Picture via Mother Jones

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