signed into law the new health care bill yesterday. As Joe Biden so famously said yesterday “This is a big f—cking deal!” Here is the good, bad and ugly of the whole health care debate.
The reform bill has two phases. First, here are some things that Americans will see change in the first 6 months the bill is in effect:
• Senior citizens will be eligible for up to $250 in prescription drug rebates to close the "doughnut hole," the costly gap for prescription pills. In 2011, a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs will be enacted.
• Lifetime caps on insurance coverage will be removed.
• Insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage if you get sick or cancel coverage already issued except in the case of fraud.
• Prohibits coverage denial or rate adjustment for children who have pre-existing conditions.
• High risk pools will be created for adults with pre-existing conditions to buy into until 2014 when they will also not be denied or have rates adjusted for pre-existing conditions.
• Tax credits for small businesses when purchasing coverage.
• Consumers will have protections against insurance company abuses through the Patients' Bill Of Rights.
• Children will be able to stay under parents' plan until they are 26 years old.
• Consumers will have guaranteed choice of doctors and plans.
• Free preventative care for all.
• All insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
The second phase of the bill is set to be complete in four years time, by 2014. Here's what the bill will do then:
• All adults will not be denied coverage or have their rates adjusted if they have a pre-existing condition.
• Tax credits will be offered to families to help offset the cost of health care premiums.
• Individuals who get insurance through their employer will be able to purchase a state-run option of health insurance instead when their current premiums are more than 9.5 percent of their income or when their current plan doesn't cover 60 percent of the cost of their benefits. Certain middle-income families who pay more than 8 percent but less than 9.5 percent will be eligible for vouchers from their employers to purchase insurance from where the employer normally would have.
• All Americans must carry health insurance or face a fine, but there are special exceptions for economic hardship, religious beliefs and other special cases. These exceptions include if a couple makes less than $19,000, they are not required to carry health insurance.
• Medium-sized and large-sized companies will be fined if they do not provide coverage for their employees or if they do not meet a minimum standard of coverage.
• States set up insurance pools to help small companies come together to pay for insurance coverage of their employees and offer tax credits if they participate. They must insure their employees and meet a minimum standard of coverage or pay a fine.
• Flexible spending accounts used for health care costs will have a cap at $2,500 starting in 2013. There currently is no cap by law, but employers generally impose a cap around $4,000.
• Those who itemize their tax returns will have their deductible medical expenses shrink. The new bill only allows you to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income, the current law has it at 7.5 percent.
• 32 million Americans who were not covered before the bill was passed, will now be covered through subsidies averaging $6,000 per person to help pay premiums and other medical charges. This will also happen through the extension of Medicaid.
So now that you know how your coverages might change, how much will your payments change?
• If you get your insurance through your company, your premiums will not change.
• If you get insurance privately and you make under $88K, your premiums are likely to go down with the assistance of subsidies.
• If you get insurance privately and you make over $88K, your premiums are likely to go up to help cover the cost of the expanded coverage and subsidies.
Simply put the total, 100% Republican opposition to the health care bill that will vastly improve the lives of millions of our fellow American citizens. John Boehner, the Minority Leader is especially upset. Probably because he now has to pay an additional tax on his tanning salon visits.
The Republicans were out to destroy the presidency of Barrack Obama. Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina said the the health care bill would be Obama's "Waterloo." The Republicans failed.
The Republicans think they’re going to sweep back into power in the 2010 mid term elections by repealing the new enacted health care bill. They are so blinded by their hatred of president Obama and his supporters they can’t even see straight. Former presidential speech writer David Frum is correct in his current assessment that the Republicans are going down the wrong road. They are the ones going down to the road of defeat. The current version of the Republican Party (as opposed to the one I used to belong to when it was the Goldwater conservative Republican Party) is rapidly becoming irrelevant.
The Republicans are proving that they care nothing about the average American who is struggling with health care costs. They care only for their corporate masters, the drug and health care industry.
The Teabaggers (their name originally until they were made aware of the “other” meaning of “teabagging.”)
This past Sunday the Teabaggers showed their true face when some of them shouted racial and homophobic taunts at some of our legislatures who were entering the Capital building for the final vote on the new health care legislation.
A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.
This past summer Teabaggers packed local town hall meetings of congressmen and tried to shout down and intimidate anyone, including the congressman or congresswoman who was holding the town hall meeting, who didn’t agree with their narrow minded views.
There is an ugliness pervading the public square that we haven’t seen since the bad old civil rights days of the Fifties when Bull Conner and his men beat civil rights activities demanding equal rights.
I fear for this country not from terrorists overseas but from the terrorists within our midst. This is our real danger, not someone who can get health care who couldn’t get it before this health care bill was signed into law.
I’m not a religious person but I am a spiritual person. I thank God (or whoever) that we have the right person leading this country at this time of our turmoil. Barrack Obama is the right man and the right time for our country. I pray for his safety.