Tag Archives: health insurance

What the Health Care Bill Does for Average Americans

Posted by: Bluedog89

President Barack Obama addresses doctors at the White House.

HP~After months of fierce debate around the country and after an intense day of voting on Capitol Hill, a health care reform bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk.

Once Obama signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do on Tuesday, it will mean an end to the current health care system as we know it.

Pundits on the right and left have been reacting to passage of the legislation, but what does the bill actually mean for the average American?

The immediate effects of the health care bill as well as some that will take effect in the first year of implementation are as follows:

1. Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.

2. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.

3. Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50% of the donut hole will be filled.

4. The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance rises to the age 27.

5. Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.

6. A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.

7. New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.

8. Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.

9. Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.

10. Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

11. This tax will impose a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.

12. New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.

13. Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.

14. Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio — money spent on procedures over money incoming — of 85% or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.

15. Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.

16. The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.

17. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.

18. A two‐year temporary credit (up to a maximum of $1 billion) is in the bill to encourage investment in new therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

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Conservatives Ridicule Child Over Health Care

Posted by: Bluedog89

HP ~ Conservative talk show hosts and columnists have ridiculed an 11-year-old Washington state boy’s account of his mother’s death as a “sob story” exploited by the White House and congressional Democrats like a “kiddie shield” to defend their health care legislation.

Conservative talk show hosts and columnists attack child whose mother died after losing her job and health insurance benefits.
Photo courtesty of Rod Lamkey Jr. / MCT.

Marcelas Owens, whose mother got sick, lost her job, lost her health insurance and died, said Thursday he’s taking the attacks from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin in stride.

“My mother always taught me they can have their own opinion but that doesn’t mean they are right,” Owens, who lives in Seattle, said in an interview.

Owens’ grandmother, Gina, who watched her daughter die, isn’t quite so generous.

“These are adults, and he is an 11-year-old boy who lost his mother,” Gina Owens said. “They should be ashamed.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told Marcelas Owens’ story to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House health care summit last month. Murray also has spoken about it on the Senate floor. Last week, Owens was in the nation’s capital to speak at a health care rally and to meet with Senate Democratic leadership.

Limbaugh, Beck and Malkin are skeptical about the story, saying there were other forms of medical help available after Owens’ mother, Tifanny, lost her health insurance. They lambasted Democrats for using the story.

“Now this is unseemly, exploitative, an 11-year-old boy being forced to tell his story all over just to benefit the Democrat Party and Barack Obama,” Limbaugh said on March 12, according to a transcript his show. “And, I would say this to Marcelas Owens: ‘Well, your mom would still have died, because Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014.'”

Beck, according to a transcript of his March 15 show, pointed out that Owens’ recent trip to Washington was paid for by Healthcare of America, a group that has been lobbying for a health care overhaul.

“That’s the George Soros-funded Obama-approved group fighting for health care,” Beck said. “Since all of the groups are so concerned and involved now, may I ask where were you when Marcelas’ mother was vomiting blood?”

Beck, who’s from Mount Vernon, Wash., said there were plenty of programs in Washington state that could have helped Tifanny Owens.

Malkin dismissed Marcelas Owens as “one of Obama’s youngest lobbyists” who has been “goaded by a left-wing activist grandmother,” promoted by Murray and has become a regular on the “pro-Obamacare circuit.”

Malkin also suggested there were other programs that could have helped Tifanny Owens, adding, “It’s not clear that additional doctors’ visits in the subsequent months would have prevented her death.”

Tifanny Owens died in June 2007 of pulmonary hypertension, which is described as high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that can lead to heart failure. The disease is considered rare. While there’s no cure, it can be treated.

The treatments can cost as much as $100,000 a year and must be “consistent and constant,” said Katie Kroner, the director of advocacy and awareness for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

“It’s extremely important to have health coverage,” she said.

Owens was an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant when she became sick in September 2006. As she became sicker, she missed work and was eventually fired, leaving her without health insurance. She was treated twice in an emergency room and died at age 27 after a week of unconsciousness. Gina Owens has custody of Marcelas and his two younger sisters.

Gina Owens said her daughter didn’t qualify for Medicaid. State officials said that without knowing the details, it was impossible to speculate on whether Tifanny Owens would have qualified.

Tifanny Owens might have been eligible for Washington state’s basic health care plan, which is aimed at the working poor. The plan has had a long waiting list for some time, said Sharon Michael of the Washington state Health Care Authority.

“Right now, we have 100,000 people on the wait list,” Michael said.

Limbaugh has gone after young people before. In 2007, he told listeners that Democrats were exploiting an 18-year-old Yup’ik Eskimo and that her congressional testimony of global warming made him want to “puke.”

Murray said she was appalled at how vicious the health care debate has become.

“The mom in me is getting really mad,” she said. “You don’t tear apart an 11-year-old because his mom died.”

Marcelas Owens said he’ll never know if his mother might have lived if she had health insurance.

“At least if she had it she would’ve had a fighting chance,” he said.

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