Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care Reform

I'm mildly surprised at the amount of dis-information about the bill that just passed and was signed by the President. First: it's the Senate bill, not the reconciliation bill, so yes, it's law. Second: Congress is still trying to pass the reconciliation, and if it passes I'm sure you will hear about it. Third: A number of things will come into effect within the next sixth months. Here's a few of them:

  • Adult children can stay in their parents' basem-, er, stay on their parents' policy until they turn 27.
  • The prescription medicine "donut hole" has been closed, and should make prescriptions more affordable for seniors. Oh please let this one work!
  • Small businesses that pay for their employees' health insurance are entitled to a tax credit up to 50% of what they pay, which will go back to 2009, so it should help small businesses a LOT.
  • Rescissions, the act of dumping patients when they get sick, has been banned. If you get sick, you cannot lose your insurance.
  • All insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments. So you know where the money is actually going.
Is it perfect? Heck no. Is it better than what we've got? Remains to be seen. Yes, there is a mandate to purchase insurance that will come into effect in a couple of years, but it has no teeth AND tax credits are being provided to help folks who can't afford it. And if we can get a public option into the mix in a future law, then it won't even hurt as much.

So, to sum up: Yes, Health Care Reform is now law. It was passed despite the Republicans refusing to help and screaming loud lies about it, just like they did with Medicare when it was first proposed and passed. I suspect in ten years you will have Republicans trying to claim credit for it while secretly trying to destroy it, just like they do with Medicare nowadays. Whatever. Let's just hope it works. You know, Republicans insisted that Medicare would never work, just like they insist this won't work. That gives me a lot of hope.