Monday, March 22, 2010

Outing Myself

I watched CNN last night, and when the bill passed, I hooted and hollered. I'm so happy. I know. It's not the "done thing" to be happy about this legislation in "Christian Circles", is it? Well, it depends on who you ask. (Me being the left leaning pro-life political agnostic type who doesn't fit in anywhere and who can't bring herself to vote because all the candidates stink).

I don't understand why everything has to boil down to the abortion issue for conservatives. Yes, unborn lives are important, but so are born lives. What about the man I know who has lived with chronic knee pain (he needs surgery) for years, but because his condition is pre-existing since childhood, he can't afford to buy insurance to cover himself and get the surgery he needs? What about children who get sick and are hospitalized and then have a pre-existing, like kidney failure or liver failure or both, and then can't get insurance after that? What about my own daughter who has a very very expensive illness, for whom we cannot buy better health insurance than what her dad's work offers, because her illness is pre-existing? (Our out of pocket on meds each month would cover a premium for better insurance that would cover more).

What about us?

I have heard some say that this Bill is going to lead to many personal bankruptcies. I don't quite see how that's going to work, but still: What about the people who already have declared bankruptcy for whom medical expenses were a factor?

What about them?

People who have never lived without health insurance, or who don't have chronic illnesses, pre-existing conditions, etc. have no idea how stressful it is to not have that safety net. There's always this niggling panic in the back of your head: What if something happens that we can't afford?

I remember when the kids were younger and we did not have health insurance for a time. I was the most paranoid and cautious mom. I did not want them climbing on anything, jumping off of anything...I lived in utter fear that someone would break an arm or a leg and have to go to the emergency room. Thanks be to God that never happened. And thanks be to God, by the time Bethany got sick we DID have health insurance, so our costs were reduced.

But reduced is not gone. It's just reduced. And sometimes, on some drugs, reduced is still too much for a family budget.

I'm so happy for all the people who have the good sense to never get sick, and who are not afflicted in any way. I'm so happy for all the people whose own children are all glowing and healthy, who can worry about whether "their" dollars are going to fund someone else's immoral choices. Wouldn't that be nice if that's all we had to worry about?

But here's my take on it: I think this Bill is going to create an America in which fewer women choose abortions because they feel like it's a safer place to raise a child. Because they don't fear for their own health. Because they can go to the doctor when they are sick and not let whatever that ails them develop into something more serious.

See, this is the reality for millions and millions of Americans. Not being able to go and get a prescription for antibiotics when you have bronchitis. Not being able to go to the doctor for that chronic knee pain. Knowing you need thyroid medicine but not being able to afford to go to the doctor to get it because you lost your job and you don't have insurance.

I had a conversation with a friend once who has a very rare illness which is very expensive to treat. She said that she was rapidly approaching the lifetime maximum on their insurance. So after that, I asked: What then? "I guess I'll prepare to die", she said.

I see so much how much good these new laws can do. I'm just a bit glad.

34 comments:

Veiled Glory said...

Another thing (which relates to the topic we've chatted on before) which I hope is addressed in this legislation is treating pregnancy as a "pre-existing" condition. Most private plans I've looked at will NOT cover a pregnancy/delivery until 13 months AFTER you sign up. Meaning, you can't test positive on a preggers test until you've paid up for the coverage (which is 40-50% more than regular) at least that long. Meaning, it is as anti-life as anything else.

BelleArtMom said...

I'm one of those weird Christians who doesn't fit in, either. I have *never* voted for a Republican for president (I am 48 years old), only Dems or Independents. Mostly Constitution Party. I have a 21yo son with a severe congenital heart defect and autism; he's on Medicaid for now. I live in fear of state budget cuts.

Jennifer said...

Count me in as another weirdo who thinks that passing this health insurance legislation is a GREAT thing. You're not alone!!

npmccallum said...

I'm also glad it passed. One thing I have always wondered is the relationship between abortion and medical coverage. For instance, would having universal healthcare increase or decrease abortions? What percentage of women terminate their pregnancy because they don't have medical care? What percentage *don't* terminate because they don't have medical care? Of course, it is pretty much the mark of cain to do any abortion related statistics beyond the most general.

Alana said...

I've wondered the same thing about abortion stats, myself. I did see something somewhere some time ago that showed a decline in abortion rates when "liberals" are in power and there are better social security measures in place. And by social security measures, I of course, do not mean Social Security only.

Marfa said...

No way...it's a big mistake...many are being misled and I am most concerned about getting quality care when needed...and I'm afraid that it's only going to get worse. I am pro-life, too, but I think there are more serious issues about this healthcare bill. I want to spend the little $ that I have the way I want, not have someone else tell me!!!

Alana said...

I want to spend the little money I have on what I want, too, but instead I get to spend it on doctors and medicine.

Mimi said...

I agree with you - especially on the abortion issue. It seems to me that if you remove worrying about access to health care, you are helping women continue their pregnancies.

It is not the reform I wanted to see, but it is a good start.

Dianne said...

Alana, I think this is my favorite post of yours ever, and I've been reading your blog for quite some time.

I completely agree with you. And I salute you for "outing" yourself. Cheers to you! We Christians who are "left leaning pro-life political agnostic type[s] who [don't] fit in anywhere" need to support each other.

You've articulated exactly my position on the issue of abortion as it relates to this bill.

What about the mom who is persuaded by a pro-life activist at the clinic to turn around, forego the abortion, and carry her baby to term, and then can't get health care for herself and her child? We know that most of those activists (bless their hearts for their passion, but) also support the political party that is against health care reform. Save the baby, but then punish him and his mom for not having whatever it takes to get health insurance in this country. Bah!

This bill isn't perfect, but it's a start. Thanks again for your very thoughtful post. I'm with you.

elizabeth said...

I'm with you too... of course I am in Canada where there is more socilaized medicine; it would be nice if socialized medicine could have the private doctors of the US and still socialized meds... I hear you!

Dianne said...

I'd also like to expand on your point about how this bill could reduce abortions in the U.S. by making women feel that it's a safer place to go through with pregnancy and motherhood.

Pro-lifers know that a great many, maybe most, of the women choosing abortion do so because they are being pressured by others: boyfriends, parents, husbands, employers. I expect that the health care security that this bill should provide will help to undercut the threats of abandonment that these women face from these people in their lives. They will have an alternative to seeking their "safety" and support only from people who put intolerable, murderous demands on them.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I think pro-lifers who oppose not only this reform, but how about universal guaranteed health care for pregnant women and children (take THAT, conservatives), have a lot to answer for.

Tabitha said...

While I am a "pro-life political agnostic", I truly could not say whether I am left-leaning or right-leaning. I am certainly more left than I used to be. Frankly, there isn't much of anything that comes out of Washington that doesn't leave me feeling torn between hopeful and fed-up.

I am as uncertain of this bill as anything else. Does something need to be done? Absolutely! Many things! Does anybody seem to be suggesting a holistic, long-term viable approach? Not really-afterall it's not just "health care" that is the problem. It's really a hydra, and this is just one of the obvious heads.

Will this reform help some people-yes. Will it hurt some people-yes. Which will be greater-I don't know. What will be the outcome-too soon to say. Besides, the only thing Washington seems consistent at is changing its mind. I hear it will be 2014 before these changes would really be in effect. There's a lot of elections between now and then. I guess I just don't care anymore. Que sera, sera. "My help comes from the Lord"-right?

thegeekywife said...

I guess I would say I'm "politically confused".

I haven't been following this debate closely, but from what I've read today in the NY Times it doesn't seem so bad. No more denials over pre-existing conditions? HOORAY! No more rescission? HOORAY! No more lifetime limits? HOORAY!

The state of Virginia is already prepping to sue (Reuters). So this legislation is far from over.

I just hope my in-laws stay healthy until they qualify for Medicaid. 4 years, right? Too long.

thegeekywife said...

I meant to say "medicare", not "medicaid."

Also, I know one woman who deeply regrets her abortion. She didn't want it, but gave in to family pressure. Money was the reason they pressured her, so insurance and support systems might have helped prevent that termination...

Lord have mercy on us!

amy said...

“I have heard some say that this Bill is going to lead to many personal bankruptcies. I don't quite see how that's going to work, but still: What about the people who already have declared bankruptcy for whom medical expenses were a factor? “

It will happen because the US cannot forever squeeze the productive bit of society to fund the unproductive bit. It will happen because small businesses cannot afford to pay for the required government health insurance for all their employees, thus having to let go of them.

This raises an even more important point: this is the first time in American history that the government will be forcing us to engage in commerce- pay into it or go to jail. If they can regulate us for NOT engaging in this type of commerce what will follow? the vehicle we drive? we must only buy those brands bailed out by the govn’t ..? The type of dwelling we live in? where our children go to school? This is unprecedented power over the supposedly free people of the United States of America.

“But here's my take on it: I think this Bill is going to create an America in which fewer women choose abortions because they feel like it's a safer place to raise a child. Because they don't fear for their own health. Because they can go to the doctor when they are sick and not let whatever that ails them develop into something more serious. “

Respectfully, I disagree with you. I think we’ll see an increase since the service and funding will be more readily available to them. This bill provides the most massive funding for abortion services ever seen in this country. The President’s Executive Order, to me, means nothing in light of the fact that his first Presidential EO was to repeal the Mexico City Policy ~ now diverted our taxes to fund the murdering of babies overseas now, ...not just killing them domestically.

“See, this is the reality for millions and millions of Americans. Not being able to go and get a prescription for antibiotics when you have bronchitis. Not being able to go to the doctor for that chronic knee pain. Knowing you need thyroid medicine but not being able to afford to go to the doctor to get it because you lost your job and you don't have insurance. “

I don’t disagree with you that our system has huge problems - and I have been one to know the fear of not having that safety net due to the loss of my husband’s job last year - but this bill is not the solution ... giving the government the reins to control such private decisions between patient and doctor is outrageous. Let me give you an example from a true experience of a friend:

She had severe stomach pains ...for hours. The pain was enough to warrant her taking herself to an emergency room. The doctor examined her, asked for a blood test. The test was normal. The doctor examined her again, asking for more detailed tests such as an ultrasound. Because of the subsequent tests, it was determined she had a mass in her intestine and they wanted to do surgery immediately. She agreed ~ her appendix was about to rupture and thank God she was ok. Under our new health bill, my friend would have been dismissed from the ER after a healthy blood test. No other tests would be considered because it wouldn’t be considered justified. The blood test wouldn’t have been abnormal until her appendix ruptured causing her to become septic ~ which may easily have been too late. This info comes from one who has read the fine print in our health care bill.

“I don’t understand why everything has to boil down to the abortion issue for conservatives.”

Because a nation that does not protect innocent life cannot be considered civilized.

Susan said...

I also favor the bill. Not entirely, but at least its a start.
Maybe when I retire in 2 years (at 62) I wont have to pay upwards of 800$ for health insurance for one person.
I have worked in the health care industry for 35 years.
I have never seen people so ignorant before on any issue.
A woman Friday told her 80 y/o mother that if the bill passed she wouldnt have any health insurance, and that Obama wanted all over 80 to die!!
PLLLEEAASSEE...the right wing conservatives are the first in line to take democrat handouts, ie, medicaid, medicare, food stamps, head start, and on and on.
I am so happy this bill passed, and there has never been a time we havent had insurance.
My son has been without for 2 years, just now took a job which pays way less but has benefits.
There are 4 people in my immediate family including myself who have pre existing conditions, I also watched and yelled yipee when it passed.
Thats my 2 cents worth:)

npmccallum said...

To respond to Amy's points:

1. America can't afford it: I call BS. We might not be able to afford this plan, but we also can't afford rising health care costs. I'm actually on your side in the sense that I don't think this bill will actually lower those costs (I think it will merely hold them more steady; this is a net gain when inflation is considered). But just to say "America can't afford it" without backing that up with real data is just propaganda.

2. The goverment is requiring us to go into commerce for the first time in history: This is somewhat true, although mandatory insurance for drivers is already a requirement. The other option is complete public takeover of the healthcare system. Unless we choose one of the two (forced commerce or public health care), many will be uninsured. This to me is a moral issue, one I'm happy to pay tax dollars for. In fact, given the two choices, I probably prefer government takeover (having travelled extensively and seeing the benefits of the single payer system).

3. Increased abortions: Amy, I share your same fears. But I think we'll have to wait until the data comes back on this one.

4. Regarding appendix bursting: I call BS. This bill doesn't mandate care (or lack thereof). This is nothing more than a scare tactic.

5. Regarding protecting the unborn: the problem here is that in the 1970s the democrats were unable to take a stand against abortion. Republicans took advantage of this to swing large numbers of Catholic Democrats by taking a stand against abortion. What we have today is a system split across issues that Christians care about. This is secularist tack to immobilize the Christian vote. In fact, when considering the ideologies of both of our major parties, the pro-life position is ideological closer to Democrats than to Republicans.

Anita said...

Great post, Alana. Count me among the weird Christians who don't fit in either. And among the parents who now don't have to worry as much about how our children with pre-existing conditions will get health insurance as young adults.

Dianne said...

Amy - You said: "It will happen because the US cannot forever squeeze the productive bit of society to fund the unproductive bit."

So. Are you saying that Alana's family, and others like hers, are part of "the unproductive bit"?

Employed, hard-working, frugal-living people like Alana's family and the millions of other families who are screwed by the current system, they're "the unproductive bit" now?

I guess I'll just have to echo Alana when she says she's "so happy for all the people who have the good sense to never get sick, and who are not afflicted in any way. . . so happy for all the people whose own children are all glowing and healthy, who can worry about whether 'their' dollars are going to fund someone else's immoral choices. Wouldn't that be nice if that's all we had to worry about?"

I'll just echo that, because if I let myself say more, I'd become very unpleasant. "Unproductive." What nonsense.

Marfa said...

Thank you, Amy! So sorry to see so many folks blinded by the truth! A few years from now you will see...

Anonymous said...

There's no such thing as a free lunch. If it sounds to good to be true it isn't. No way can we have everything we have been promised without paying a terrible price and I am not talking money here. What about that "take the pill instead of surgery" comment? What about the horror stories coming out of National Health care concerning wait lists and horrible care in hospital? I'll take what we have and keep my freedom thanks. This is not a bill about health care...it's a giant leap off the freedom cliff to nanny state government. I don't want Pelosi as my Nanny thanks.

margaret said...

I'm in the UK where abortion is free and safe in state-run hospitals and and where obstetric care is free, child healthcare is free, and the government gives every child around $30 a week regardless of parental income - and our abortion rates are dreadful. People use it as back-up contraception but they always will and it's wrong to use that as an excuse not to provide for others who really are ill.

Christina said...

Thank you... my thoughts exactly. you and i seem to be on the same page politically (although I do vote and I love politics). we have "pre-existing conditions" my husband is type 1 diabetes and i have lupus. thank you, though, for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Which way causes us to need God and cling to Him more tightly?
This is the true good, even when bitter and painful.

Anonymous said...

Definitely weird; but my own opinion, of course. I'm not ecstatic, just relieved, that we setting up a more solid and realistic foundation to somehow get ourselves out of a rut of thinking luck has to play a part in access to affordable care for ourselves, and the thought that maybe we can work with legislators for updated vision of health care in the US. (What I found exciting was the TV coverage of how Congress works. What would it take to get more straight TV reporting?)

Anonymous said...

Respectfully disagreeing with Amy, when my husband and I were first married, working 2+ jobs each (college cafeteria, stringing tennis racquets, nurse aide, McDonald's Pell Grant and work-study), to be able to pay for school and have something for 'emergencies', there was no parent assisted health insurance programs, no health insurance programs offered by these employers, and no individual health insurance program inexpensive enough that we could afford because of my long-resolved pre-existing condition. We took our infant son to the doctor every time there seemed something out of sorts--we paid cash. If we hadn't any money, we'd have have taken him to the ER--we worried ourselves sick that something more ominously expensive might arise without checking out everything with the doctor. We were not practicing preventative medicine in our home; it was more like mob protection medicine! In the five years before graduation, neither one of us saw a doctor (except for prenatal care), dentist, or eye doctor, because we couldn't afford it, but we made sure our son had the finest of care we provide. Maybe as parents of the child, the dynamic of healthcare was a little backwards, but that MO has been in effect a long time, too long, and health care should not EVER have been regarded as a privilege only to those that could afford it.

Anonymous said...

I have to weigh in on an issue unrelated to abortion, but to other of your concerns Alana.

I also have someone in my family with an expensive mental illness—my aging mother. She has been able to enjoy a relatively stable live for 25 years on a particular drug protocol. However, while stable, she has not been able to live as she likes, because she has to live apart from my father....

Why is that? Because my father lives and works in a country that provides free health care via a government run system. Everything is paid for by the state. They never see paperwork, they never pay a dime. This state of affairs in funded by the country's very deep oil reserves...the money will probably never run out and they can afford whatever they want to.

However, the governmental boards who make all the decisions behind this wonderful, free health care system have decided they don't approve of my mother's drug protocol. It's not that it's too expensive...it's too unconventional. Never mind that it works, and is the only thing that works to keep her from, God bless her, being stark raving mad.

So sorry, no she cannot get that prescription filled in that country. And no, she cannot import an amount that will last her several months—that will be viewed as illegal drug smuggling. She can at most bring in a few weeks at a time, and too bad that tickets back to the US where she can get that prescription filled cost almost $2000 for a round trip.

She and my father have had to live apart, with only short visits, for TWENTY YEARS. No he cannot work anywhere else—his field is very narrow. She needs the variety, innovation and choice offered by the health system here and they both need the income offered by his job in a country where the drug that keeps her healthy is considered illegal for that purpose.

It is so painful for them. People just assume that they are divorced! :(

That is a HUGE concern for me with increased government regulation of health care—a severe narrowing of our choices, which is, whether we like it or not, one of the main ways to control costs in any system.

Alana said...

A sobering tale, indeed!

I think to some extent we already experience that here in the USA in the sense that there are many therapeutic treatments that are considered "alternative" and many modes of medicine that are not covered by our insurance system. These, in consequence, are only available to those with ready cash to spend.

Tabitha said...

Part 1:

Personally I think this multi-faceted problem would be better dealt with by spending less time legislating insurance for the 32 million uninsured and spending more time addressing the root question of WHY we don't already have insurance.

For instance, not allowing insurance companies to turn people down due to pre-existing conditions might seem like a good idea, until you realize just how much insurance companies charge us. We just can't afford those premiums. Which, incidentally, is why my husband's employers don't provide insurance.They have tried, but with 5 people on payroll and 2 of them with significant pre-existing conditions (not to mention family members), the cost of insuring the group is more than they can pay.

My well-meaning priest grinned at my husband yesterday and said he supposed we were pretty excited that we would finally be getting insurance. My husband responded no, it would be cheaper for his boss to just pay the fines. What's more, if his employers let my husband go, then they could probably afford the insurance about to be mandated. Where do we stand then?

Well, why can't we afford the premiums, is my husband underpaid. No, not any more. However, there was a time when my husband was trying to break into his current career, when I lost my job and the benefits that went with it. Suddenly, we were unemployed and uninsured. And wouldn't you know it, my chronic condition took a turn for the worse and I was in no condition to work. The resulting debt load was such that even once my husband did get adequate work we could only barely manage the payments. Why--usurious interest rates!! Ten years later we are still slogging our way through an endless cycle of paying what we can and hoping that nothing serious goes wrong. So why not do something about capping credit card interest rates?

Going back to the expensive premiums, why does medical care cost so much? Are doctors just greedy? All the analyses that I have seen indicate that primary care physicians work longer hours and make way less than specialists. One of the cost factors I hear the most about is the high cost of malpractice insurance for themselves and their staff. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard of someone (myself included) having to look for a new OB because their doctor couldn't afford it anymore and switched to GYN only. Maybe if we did something about frivolous lawsuits and capping ridiculous mega-buck payouts, we could actually have a positive impact on this aspect of the problem.

What about the high cost of patented pharmaceuticals? How about we conduct some independent analyses of just how much all this R&D really costs and how long it takes a company to recoup their investment. After all Phizer isn't a charity. Give them their just due, and then turn it as soon as possible over to the generics.

Tabitha said...

Part 2

As for whether or not the government has ever mandated a buy-in like this, the auto insurance example is misleading. Yes, we are required to buy auto insurance in order to drive. However, point one--you can choose not to drive. Live in a major city and you may never miss your car! Point 2, it is the state governments which mandate this, not the federal. So perhaps this isn't so much a question of precedence as it is of purview. Maybe what we are seeing here is that the states should be deciding this question. Then we could have 50 different models tweaking the options and looking for the best combination. Also, people could vote with their feet. If they like one state's insurance and tax package better than another's, they would have the option of moving.

In reference to Diane's objection about Amy's post...I don't believe that Amy anywhere refers to Alana or others like her as unproductive. She even states that she herself has known the fear of living without the safety net due to the loss of employment. I believe (just my take on it) that she is referring to the fact that we are going to be charging over 40%!!! income tax for people who make over $500,000 so that we can fund insurance for the other end of the spectrum. Now, given that my children are all covered through the CHIP program, perhaps we fit that category. Nevertheless, I am ideologically opposed to such an exorbitant tax rate. Of course, I am ideologically opposed to the current tax system. I believe it is inefficient, unintelligible and unconstitutional. Either a flat income tax or a federal sales tax on goods purchased would be much more equitable and a whole lot easier to run.

Tabitha said...

Part 3

As for the prospect of government run health care, even the idea makes me shudder. As I said, my children are all covered by the government. Its true that we get great free, or nearly free, coverage. However, the process for getting onto the plan in the first place and for annual re-evaluations of your eligibility is a NIGHTMARE.

If you have a question, you are told to speak to your case worker, the case worker's phone goes straight to voice mail and no response comes for at least two weeks. So maybe you plan to schedule an appointment so that you can speak to your case worker directly, the receptionist doesn't make appointments, case workers do that themselves, call your case worker, get voicemail, wait two weeks. What happens when your annual eligibility renewal notice comes in the mail telling you that you have two weeks to turn in all the paperwork, but it doesn't arrive until two weeks after they printed it, by which time your deadline is today!, five minutes after the mail arrived!, oh, and btw they do not input information into their computers after 3:30p.m. so it won't count until tomorrow anyway, and you've already been kicked out of the system, don't blame us, we don't mail out the letters, that is handled through the state capital.

What if your renewal notice arrives a day or two before the deadline? Scramble to get your paperwork in order, rush everybody you know to get you the necessary information, pray that you have it right and don't need to ask any questions because if you get it wrong, you won't know until they kick you out of the system and if you need to ask your case worker a question, you have to wait two weeks, miss the deadline and get kicked out of the system!!

Can you speak to your case worker more quickly? Yes, drag your kids down to the office and pray that the waiting room isn't full. They will squeeze you in as a walk-in as soon as they can. They do this with almost everyone, it is after all the quickest way to speak to a live case worker! You might only wait 15 minutes, but you'd better pack enough stuff for your kids to do for three hours because it could take that long too.

Tabitha said...

Part 4

All of this is assuming the best case scenario that you actually have a case worker. The last time I tried to renew, my paperwork arrived late, I tried to contact my case worker, I turned in everything as best I could figure out. I got kicked out of the system and tried to contact my case worker. After about two weeks of repeatedly leaving voicemails, I finally asked the receptionist why my worker wasn't calling me back...she had retired and no one was answering her calls! Who do I speak to, they didn't know, someone tried to answer my question and got it wrong (surprise) and I got blamed (surprise). I dealt with at least three case workers in the course of that renewal/reapplication and at least two receptionists and one manager. Everyone had a different list of what I needed to submit, and I got blamed for submitting the wrong thing. It took months to straighten out the whole snarl during which time I prayed my children wouldn't get sick or injured!

Pardon me for venting! I should say that the case workers have my complete sympathy. It is not their fault that the bureaucracy is so broken. They have to deal with that stress every work day. There appears to be quite a turnover rate, and whenever someone leaves the rest of them have to increase their workloads. They seem to be chronically overworked, overstressed, and probably underpaid. I don't really think there is much chance of the federal government doing any better.

Final note: I agree with the last anonymous post. I too know of a treatment which I know from past experience, is the most effective at treating my health complaints. However, it is not covered by insurance in this country, so I cannot receive it unless I can pay for it out of pocket (obviously I cannot). So I guess as far as that is concerned, it doesn't matter whether or not I have coverage.

These are just some of the examples of which I am aware. But it seems to me that unless the whole problem is addressed, nothing can really succeed. I'm no expert on finances, government, business or a slew of other related subjects. These are just some things I've noticed along the way. Perhaps some of them are being worked on, perhaps there are implications of which I am completely ignorant. I still say you can't defeat the hydra by attacking its heads. You just keep throwing the problem out of balance and blaming it on each other that way without really solving anything.

Apologies for the horrifically long comment(s). I hope you all are well and wish every one of you the best results out of this process.

Alana said...

Based on my understand of the law (as much of the bill I've actually read so far) only companies with 50 or more employees will be required by law to purchase insurance for their employees.

Also, the insurance companies will not be allowed to deny coverage, OR charge a higher fee for pre-existing conditions. The only variant in insurance rates will be based on age, within limits. This will, in part, be made up for by the fact that insurance companies will be mandated by law to use 80% of the premiums they collect on pay outs, thereby limiting high CEO salaries and profits.

This bill is NOT government health care. It's not even government administered health care. It is industry regulation.

suzy said...

Not living in the US (I live in the UK) I am not really qualified to post... however I will anyhow lol;)
I agree with everything you have written (including the left leaning but not trusting politians enough to vote for any of them anyway part:).
I do however have family in the US and have some idea about how hard it can be for lower income families to afford the basics in healthcare.
I have a chronic illness and simply cannot imagine worrying about whether or not I would be able to recieve the medication I need to to keep healthy enough to care for my family.
All people deserve access to such a basic nessecity as healthcare.