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Health reforming

March 24, 2010

Featured Article

After reading this “editorial” in Kanawha Valley Live,  you can see how satisfying it must be to complain in apocalyptic tones without ever once looking at details. Here are some of the details (courtesy of a post by Kevin Drum)  in answer to the question of what health care reform accomplishes right now. If Republicans wish to campaign against such significant changes and portray them as the work of da’  debil Obama, have at it. As for me, this looks like what any sensible person (or decent, compassionate country) would offer in the face of a monolithic  insurance industry which otherwise would offer none of this,  instead serving you up a stack of ‘Sorry,  coverage denied … ‘ letters of the kind all of us and our families have grown all too used to in recent years. It should be noted, the following health care reforms will be available now or soon even to the dunderheaded/dittoheaded commentariat (and their families). Now, that’s change we can believe in:

  • This year, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. Once the new health insurance exchanges begin in the coming years, pre-existing condition discrimination will become a thing of the past for everyone.
  • This year, health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents’ insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.
  • This year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage. This year, restrictive annual limits on coverage will be banned for certain plans. Under health insurance reform, Americans will be ensured access to the care they need.
  • This year, adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.
  • In the next fiscal year, the bill increases funding for community health centers, so they can treat nearly double the number of patients over the next five years.
  • This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.
  • This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage employees.
  • Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Any insurers who don’t meet those thresholds will be required to provide rebates to their policyholders.
  • Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.
  • This year, small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable.
  • This year, new private plans will be required to provide free preventive care: no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services. And beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will do the same.
  • This year, this bill will provide help for early retirees by creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees age 55-64.
  • This year, this bill starts to close the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the gap in prescription drug coverage. And beginning in 2011, the bill institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the ‘donut hole.’

PS to Kanawha Valley Live: You might try turning on ‘Comments‘ on your otherwise nice-looking site, at least on editorials. so readers might actually have a chance to offer some commentary back at you.

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One Response to “Health reforming”

  1. Karan I. Says:

    The banner ads in the right column of Kanawha Valley Live prevented me from seeing the item in all of its glory. I mean, I could deduce the missing words at the end of each line, but it wasn’t the best reading experience. Well- also because I didn’t like the content.