24 March 2010

10 Things Every American Should Know About Health Care Reform

Thank you to MoveOn.org for publishing this list. I've read most of the sources cited below too.

1. Once reform is fully implemented, 94% of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured.

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

3. 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.

4. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following ten years.

5. 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.

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

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

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

9. 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.

10. 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.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10. "Affordable Health Care for America: Summary," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 18, 2010

3. "Insurance Companies Prosper, Families Suffer: Our Broken Health Insurance System," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Accessed March 22, 2010

4. "Affordable Health Care for America: Health Insurance Reform at a Glance: Revenue Provisions," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 18, 2010

5. "New Jobs Through Better Health Care," Center for American Progress, January 8, 2010

8, 9. "Proposed Changes in the Final Health Care Bill," The New York Times, March 22, 2010

10. "Affordable Health Care for America: Health Insurance Reform at a Glance: Addressing Health and Health Care Disparities," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 20, 2010


bradcarmack said...

I looked up the reference for #4 about the federal deficit and failed to find support for the 143 billion and 1.2 trillion figures.

Denying coverage due to preexisting conditions seems an important means to accomplish the end of an efficient insurance system.

More affordable health care for families and small businesses is paid for, according to #5, by insurance companies, drug companies, and the very wealthiest Americans. This penalizes becoming wealthy, becoming a drug company, and entering the insurance business. On the surface it seems poor policy to penalize these economic activities.

Expanding Medicaid and coverage means more expense. Giving community health centers an additional 11 billion dollars means an additional cost of 11 billion dollars. Who is paying all these bills?

At first I was glad to see some of the facts on the list, but on second inspection they seem, taken together, to reflect a "money grows on trees" idea advocating attractive benefits such as expanded coverage, lower premiums, more affordable care, medicaid expansion, cutting the federal deficit, and paying less for prescription drugs- all without a reasonable explanation of how these gains are financed.

Not impressed.

Xan said...

The money is made up through the taxation of the large corporations. Plus when people have coverage there will be less money going to cover expensive bills from emergency stays. Preventative medicine is much cheaper than treating problems.

Take The Roommate for example, if we'd caught her gall bladder issue even 2-3 weeks earlier than we did (silly us for eating healthy!) her bill wouldn't have been even a third of what she is paying. Her hospital stay alone was more than most American's make in a year. Thankfully, we have insurance and that is covering a huge chunk of her bills. If she didn't, that would fall on the hospital or taxpayers to make up.

Xan said...

Also, #4 is cited from two different sources, did you look at both or just one?

If you only looked at the first one listed, you wouldn't see where the money was coming from. The second one listed shows where the money allocations would be from. It doesn't lay it out in great detail as these are just summaries.

Kalliope said...

Indeed. Be as unimpressed as you'd care to be, but say I was in the hospital for a week (which I was) and had emergency surgery (which I did). My hospital stay alone was over $20000. Not the medication, not the doctors, not he surgery. The room and food. I was on a liquid diet, so I don't know where they get off charging so much for packet broth and jello.
Oh wait, yes I do. My bill is helping to recoup major losses for procedures performed on people with no insurance and those who can not pay their medical bills.
I do have insurance, so I only have to pay a couple of thousand, but even that is a huge burden for me. How the system is now, those with medical coverage and footing the bills for those without. Personally, I think the big corporations are in a better position to alleviate some of that expense. Oh, they have their taxes increased a bit? Boo-hoo. They're making record profits anyway, on the backs of the people they're barely helping.
As for the denying of preexisting conditions... are you aware that being a woman is a preexisting condition? And that a healthy 25yo woman will pay more for insurance than a man of the same age who is both a drinker and a smoker? That we can be denied for being pregnant? That these denials are part of the problem that we're trying to solve, because once again, WE are bearing the brunt of the expense for their services, which they NEED to have to survive?
And yeah, like Xan said, preventative care is cheaper than emergency care. If I'm paying for it anyway, I'd choose the cheaper option.
Also, maybe you didn't hear about the 12yo boy who died of a toothache recently. His single, working mother couldn't afford insurance for them, which he knew. He didn't tell his mother about the toothache because he knew that they couldn't afford a trip to the dentist. The infection spread into his bone and he died.
I don't care how unimpressed you are. You've never seen the other side.