"Seventy billion dollars a year, and no guarantees of any control over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance, five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases." It's little more than a thinly-disguised bailout. "I told the president twice in two different meetings that I couldn't support the bill if it didn't have a robust public option and at least if it didn't have something that was going to protect consumers from these rampant premium increases." Dennis Kucinich Kucinich, as we know, later changed his mind, citing his constituent's reminding of him the folk wisdom "something is better than nothing", and will now vote for the health care reform bill in the House.
"Uninsured people with medical problems will have a workable alternative. The bill pumps $5 billion into high-risk insurance pools run by the states to provide coverage to those in frail health. Taxpayer-backed insurance won't be free, but premiums should be much lower than what's charged by private insurers willing to take those in poor health.
For people with private health insurance — about two-thirds of Americans — there would be some new safeguards. For example, insurers would be barred from placing lifetime dollar limits on coverage and from canceling policies except in cases of fraud. Children could stay on their parents' coverage until age 26."
For more than a year, the health care debate in Congress and in the media has consumed and obsessed America. I have the feeling more words have been bloviated over this topic than any other legislative issue in American history, thanks to the internet and 24/7 broadcast punditry. In the end, health care reform will probably pass, and the Democrats and the President will proclaim some great victory.
The truth is the Democrats have gotten their brains beat in, mostly due to their own hubris and incompetence. Whether this bill passes or not, at least half of the American people believe this was all a big waste of time or is harmful to the country. That is a huge number passing judgement on the FINAL product of 15 months of 'legislating'. The people in Congress and the White House should be profoundly, monumentally embarrassed, but they will come out Sunday night, or three weeks from now (whenever this thing is finally voted) and BRAG about themselves. This is the sad state our political system has sunk to.
According to the AP story, there are three 'reforms' that are notable and take effect immediately.
People with current medical problems will be able to buy insurance right away. High risk insurance pools now run by the states will be supplemented with 5 billion from Washington.
There will now be no lifetime limit on health insurance coverage.
Children will be able to stay on their parent's health insurance until age 26.
( I will address the Columbia Journalism Review's comments on the AP story below)
That apparently is it, as far as the notable immediate effects of this bill. The most important use of this legislation, the mandating that most Americans must purchase health insurance ( the poor will be subsidized), will be phased in over years.
Other laudable aspects to the bill will take effect in 5-10 years down the road.
President Obama and the Democrats have been forced, by public opinion (which they pissed away over the course of the past year) to whittle down "health care reform" to a scant few 'benefits' that will take place immediately in return for , what Kucinich called " a bailout for the private health insurance industry. Everyone's health insurance premiums will go up considerably for years into the future. Sure, somewhere down the road this bill may help bring them down. A lot of us will be dead or in the poor house by then.
Who is happy about this bill?