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3.22.2010

Health Care Resources

Last fall, Senate Democrats began drafting a major overhaul of health care regulation. The bill was written, checking in at well over a thousand pages. It was stripped bare, killed, rebuilt and debated to death. It passed in the senate and then kicked over to the House where it lingered while Democrats and Republicans could attach all sorts of riders and changes (there was actually a very useful bit of legislation on student loans attached to the massive piece of legislation).

Six anti-abortion Democrats finally voted for the bill in the eleventh hour when President Obama promised an Executive Order denying any federal funds for abortions.

The bill passed yesterday, 220-211 (that was reported on the news;
www.jacksonville.com has it at 219-212).

We're done with all this controversy, right? Well, actually the bill is in the process of reconciliation. It now goes back to the Senate, where the myriad changes need approval. It might then get sent back to the House for a whole new vote. Of the previous 22 bills that have gone through reconciliation, 21 have done just that: returned to the House for another vote.

Like most major laws, there are elements of this legislation that I agree with and some I find tough to stomach. Nothing is ever perfect in politics, though, and this immediately does a few things I think are good for the American people. I know that I could have used that loophole to stick with my parents' insurance when I was back in grad. school at PSU (eligibilty now extends to the age of 26).

I think that, for those who have been denied insurance for catastrophic illness, and for those whose treatment exceeded an arbitrary cap, this is a win. I also see it as a domestic issue that will benefit millions of Americans in the near short term (2014 will be the first year of large-scale implementation).

I paid $189 a month for over two years as a healthy, non-smoking, male in his mid-twenties in Oregon. I never filed a claim. I only saw my doctor once in that time. Were those premiums fair? I don't think so (there is a plan in Florida that only costs $30.00 a month right now from BC/BS for healthy twenty-nine-year-old males). My hope is that this overhaul will bring some price equity to the table when the insurance pool expands.

Here are some links to help you make sense of all of this for yourselves:

Look, this is a complicated issue and there are reams of stories out there. There is spin coming from all sides on this. Read up on the legislation and form your own opinions...

UPDATE: A bill becomes a law. Gosh that was fast. What was that about reconciliation going back 21 out of 22 times?

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