Monday, March 22, 2010

This Is What Change Looks Like

Rep. John Larson (CT) details 10 immediate benefits of health care reform:

  1. Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;

  2. Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
  3. Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;

  4. Lower seniors' prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;

  5. Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;

  6. Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;

  7. Require plans to cover an enrollee's dependent children until age 26;

  8. Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;

  9. Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;

  10. Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

David Frum, former speechwriter to President George W. Bush:

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster....

.... No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat....


Anton said...

How can David Frum consider that a defeat if he looked at what he is saying. Or is he pro-healthcare?

HTTrainer said...

Oh, so now they were misled,they followed what the voices were telling them, nice admission by Frum

Chas S. Clifton said...

Here is what I have learned from My Congress:

1. Insurance companies are evil and corrupt.

2. And we are going to force you, Mr. Freelancer, to purchase their product or we will penalize you big time.

No more paying cash at the county health clinic for you, self-employed guy. We want to keep records and punish our political enemies.

PBurns said...

Here is what we KNOW:

1. Insurance companies, like every other company, need some regulation. Unbridle capitalism is a nightmare. Profits are good, but profiteering is bad. And so we have telephone connections that are regulated, gasoline quality that is regulated, airlines that are regulated, cars that are regulated, and stock markets that are regulated, etc.

The new regulations for insurance companies say they cannot sell you insurance when you are well and cancel it as soon as you are sick. They say if you have high blood pressure, or diabetes or Parkinson's, or bipolar, or a heart murmur they cannot deny you health care insurnace, and in exchange you have to buy some. The new regulations also say patients will be group rated -- it is a lot of different unions of consumers negotiating with a broad market of insurance companies. Capitalism is at play, but it a capitalism of near-equals, not UN-nequals. It is no longer the individual alone against a corporate army. It is a "fair fight."

2. We know a LOT of people are irresponsible. Some are immature, some are greedy, some live fantasy lives. Everyone likes to talk about being self-sufficient until it is inconvenient, and then when it is not longer convenient to be "self sufficient" they go to Medicaid (and stick the rest of us with the bill) or they run up a half million dollars in hospital bills and declare bankruptcy (and stick the rest of us with the bill). Companies like WalMart deny heath care to their employees and drive out the companies that do offer insurance, even as they send their sick part-time workers to the Medicaid emergency room where they suck more money out of the public coffers. Society is saying enough of that. No more free riders and no more Peter Pan fantasists.

Mandatory health insurance is simply a recognition that everyone will get very sick and so everyone needs to prepare for that. It is also a recognition that there are irresponsible people and society needs to be saved from them -- same as it needs to be saved from people who drive 100 miles an hour on the road. Society is tired of cleaning up the mess. It is saying: You are GOING to sick and so you have a RESPONSIBILITY to plan for it. Grow up and act like a grown up. And NO, we don't care if you whine about it; we expect that from children who live in Peter Pan land. We know you would rather get a new fly rod and buy a more beer, and spend your money on signed first editions. We know you want to act like a kid. But we are tired of paying for it when that no longer works out for you. And we have been tired a long time. We got tired, so we mandated Social Security (a safety net, not a hammock) and Medicaid (more of them same), and now we are saying you need health insurance because YES you climb mountains, and NO you do not have the money in the bank to support yourself for 20 years if you fall off of one of those mountains. Grow up. Get insurance and pay your own bills for ALL of your life, not just the fun and convenient parts.

That's what you should have learned from this Congress and the American people who voted for this Congress and this President. We expect you to grow up and pay your own way. And yes you can. And no, we won't.


Anton said...

Coming from a country where there has been mandatory health insurance since the dawn of time. (1941, thanks nazi's)
Actually untill quite recently it was only mandatory if you were below a certain income level. Since 2006 a certain package is mandatory for all.
Guess what, it works.

Anton said...

one of the flaws in this new bill from us congress it that the fine insurance companies have to pay for refusing to insure somebody is only 100 dollars aday. It will likely be less expensive for them in some cases to pay the fine and not insure.

PBurns said...

Anton, I think you are wrong on this. The law is 2,310 pages long (yes I am reading all of it) and I will post the link later when I get to work. As I recall (and memory is fuzzy after a few hundred pages of legal mumbo jumbo) the fines are $50,000 per violation and you can be deceritified from the exchanges (which is nearly fatal to the insurance company). The law itself, of course, is phased in over a number of years. A few things happen now, but a lot three or four years from now.


Anton said...

Please let me know. One of the finest newspapers in the Netherlands reported that. And if its not true I would like to write to them to rectify it.

PBurns said...

Your newspaper got it wrong, and they seem to have gotten in wrong by snipping a few words off of a Michael Moore talking point.

First, the fine in question is $100 a DAY, which works out to $36,500 per person per year for denying health care coverage. That's just for starts, however ...

As noted earlier, the law is phased in. Adults with pre-existing conditions will be eligible to join a temporary high-risk pool (see Sec. 1101), which will be superseded by the health care exchange in the year 2014.

The health care exchanges, which begin in 2014, cover everyone and no one can be excluded, and plans can be tossed out for repeat violations (i.e. a death blow for an insurance company). Companies that cherry pick (exclude people because they are high-cost) are subject to the False Claims Act which means they can be excluded from ALL government business forever. Moore seems to have missed this. Oops!

Summary and full text here >>


Anton said...

I did say $100 per day :) So they didnt get that wrong.