Republicans Vow to Bring Back Pre-existing Conditions and Rescissions, And “What’s In the Health Reform Bill for You Right Away?
In the face of health care reform passage Republicans are going to ignore the advice of conservative columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum (see previous blog post) and double down with help from the Tea Party movement on their opposition to healthcare with plans to repeal the law (see here, here, here, and here)
The problem is even before Obama and the Democrats have had time to blitz the public on the benefits of health care reform the public has already started moving steadily in favor of the reforms:
A USA Today poll reports that “American’s by 9 percentage points have a favorable view of the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against it.”
“By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was “a good thing” rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as “enthusiastic” or “pleased,” while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as “disappointed” or “angry.”
“The largest single group, 48%, calls the bill “a good first step” that should be followed by more action on health care. An additional 4% also have a favorable view, saying the bill makes the most important changes needed in the nation’s health care system.”
“No one gets overwhelmingly positive ratings on the issue, but Obama fares the best: 46% say his work has been excellent or good; 31% call it poor. For congressional Democrats, 32% call their efforts on health care excellent or good; 33% poor. Congressional Republicans, all of whom voted against the bill, are viewed more negatively. Although 26% of those surveyed rate the GOP’s effort as excellent or good, 34% say it has been poor.”—thats right the GOP scores are already a low 26% but they someone thinking attacking an increasingly popular reform will work.
On a side note, I found it very telling that the USA Today’s report shows a “yawning age divide” because “a solid majority of seniors oppose the bill; a solid majority of those younger than 40 favor it.” This of course strikes to the core of the hypocrisy since all these seniors have government sponsored health care and their own mistaken fear of reduced benefits is prompting them to deny those under 40 with reform that will not even be government run as theirs is. They are protecting themselves against a talk radio created boogeyman and dumping on the rest of us.
But I digress.
I think the best way to demonstrate that the Republicans are facing a losing battle is to show the public what it is they want to take away. Below you will find a point by point description of many facets of the health care bill that I am sure the public will support, and since many of them take place in 90 days the benefits will probably start being felt even before the November elections which will only serve to make the Republicans cause that much more difficult.
Below you will find a copy of the Speaker of the House blog, The Gavel, detailing what is in the billl:
What’s In The Health Reform Bill For You Right Away?
March 23rd, 2010 by Karina
Under the legislative package the House passed on Sunday (the Senate-passed health bill as amended by the reconciliation bill) many key provisions take effect this year – here are some of them:
IF YOU ARE A SMALL BUSINESSES OWNER:
SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS—Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)
IF YOU ARE A SENIOR:
BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE—Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)
FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE—Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.
HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES—Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment.
IF YOU HAVE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE:
NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS—Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to adults as well.)
NO RESCISSIONS—Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.
NO LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.
NO RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Tightly restricts new plans’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)
FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PLANS—Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment.
NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS FOR NEW PLANS—Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions. Effective 6 months after enactment.
MORE FOR YOUR PREMIUM DOLLAR—Requires plans to put more of your
premiums into your care, and less into profits, CEO pay, etc. This medical loss ratio requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premiums on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent. Insurers that don’t meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.
NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY—Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective 6 months after enactment.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE:
IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL)—Provides immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition – through a temporary high-risk pool – until the Exchanges up and running in 2014. Effective 90 days after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, health plans are banned from discriminating against all people with pre-existing conditions, so high-risk pools would phase out).
EXTENDING COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE – Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS—Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly doubling the number of patients served over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
MORE PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS—Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER ASSISTANCE—Provides aid to states to establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance to help consumers file complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in FY 2010.
A NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM—Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become functionally disabled.
Effective on January 1, 2011.
And in 2014, once the exchanges have formed, more insurance reforms go into effect, including:
NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ADULTS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
BAN ON HIGHER PREMIUMS FOR WOMEN
PREMIUMS BASED ON AGE CAN ONLY VARY BY A MAXIMUM OF 3-TO-1 RATIO CAP ON OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES for private health plans
Oh and on a final note, here is a great video showing the hypocrisy of Republicans who once supported a mandate for insurance coverage and who now deem such a mandate unconstitutional which is a specious argument based on how they are framing it. Whereas the Republicans characterize the small tax people who choose not to get health insurance as a fee, whereas Democrats should, if they are not already, characterize it as a tax break for those that get insurance i.e. everyone has to pay this tax but if you buy insurance the tax is waived.
Health Care for America Now! is running a new $1 million dollar ad to show support for the Democratic members of the House in Republican leaning districts who support the bill.
Per the website:
Washington, DC - Health Care for America Now (HCAN) – the nation’s largest health care campaign – and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will run cable and broadcast television ads in 14 Congressional districts thanking individual members of Congress for stopping health insurance companies from killing reform. The ads applaud the members of Congress for being on our side against the 2,049 health insurance company lobbyists and the $86 million in misleading ads. The $1,000,000 ad buy will run for one week starting Tuesday. Each ad is also sponsored by a grassroots organization in the state.
The ad titled “On Our Side” will air in the districts of the following members of Congress: Alan Mollohan (WV-01), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), Chris Carney (PA-10), Allen Boyd (FL-02), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Mark Schauer (MI-07), Gary Peters (MI-09), Bill Foster (IL-14), Brad Ellsworth (IN-08), Baron Hill (IN-09), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Paul Kanjorski (PA-11), and Debbie Halvorson (IL-11).
Here is the ad for my own representative who switched her vote due to calls from constituents like me (or so I like to think). Her switch will guarantee her my vote come November and continued donations to her support her re-election.
See Health Care Reform: What did you miss? for an index of Care2 health care related articles.