Link for 11-2-09 – Healthcare bill

I am several days late on posting this, but the House healthcare bill has been unveiled and, in my humble opinion, it is a really good one!  If you don’t want to read the whole bill (and at a 1,990 pages I can’t blame you) the Education and Labor Committee has posted a really good summary

Some key things that I like:
1. You can keep your plan, but there will be increased competition from an entity focused on care over profits. With this increased competition we can have confidence that healthcare decisions will be made by doctors and not insurance companies.
2. People can not be dropped because they are sick, are using ‘too much’ medical care or have pre-existing conditions
3. There is a mandate to be covered and penalties if you aren’t
4. Simplification of documentation for providers and patients
5. It will, according to the CBO, REDUCE the deficit over the next 10 years
6. Preventative care and wellness will be covered by all plans and companies
7. Caps out-of-pocket expenses to prevent medically-induced bankrupcy

Very likely no amendments will be allowed when the bill comes to the full house for a vote. Doing this will prevent an amendment (being pushed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) ) which would prevent any government money from being spent on abortions. No way Pelosi allows this bill to be tainted with that and risk losing the liberal wing of the party.

Overall, this is a very good bill and I am looking forward to having it rapidly move through conference, being reconciled with the Senate bill and getting to Obama’s desk.

Posted on November 2, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. my only concern is the mandate to be covered. health insurance is expensive. how will insurance be made truly affordable for those who can’t afford it? [i haven’t read the summary yet, but in reading past drafts i don’t believe they’ve gone far enough to help people get the coverage.] also, will the penalties go towards coverage, as senator snowe suggested? and how is this going to be enforced anyway?

  2. There is no question that insurance is expensive but being uninsured is more costly – both in pure dollars as well as in the potential for serious medical problems to go untreated. The competition we will see in the industry as a result of having a public option will, I believe, drive down costs to the point where insurance is much affordable. Add to that fines and punishment for companies who do not cover their employees and insurance will be more available than ever before.

    In Massachusetts, where we have an individual mandate to be covered, the enforcement comes when we file our taxes. We have to prove we are covered as part of the filing. I don’t know that a firm plan has been established for where the penalty money will go, but it seems like going towards subsidizing coverage is a pretty good idea.

  3. Oh, I know being uninsured is much more costly in the long-run. Are there any figures on how well the MA program is working? Do they keep track of how many are still uninsured and why? I also wonder if this will make the number of “under-insured” larger as the number of “uninsured” shrinks.

  4. As of October, the Patrick administration was touting a 97.4 percent health insurance rate in MA. Not sure what the percentage was pre-mandate, but there has certainly been a significant increase in enrollment. Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a Harvard University professor and advocate with Physicians for a National Health Program questions the insurance enrollment rate quoted by the Partick admin. Under-insurance rate is a good question.

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