While the Democrats haven’t exactly made the wind beneath my wings soar, with the watered down Health Care Reform Bill that will be signed into law Tuesday, never-the-less something is better than nothing when it comes to health care. I want to thank the Republicans for their commitment to upholding a broken health care system, and showing that commitment by making sure that not one Republican vote was cast in favor of the Bill or for that matter the American people. We’ll be showing you our commitment at the next election.
To the Democrats who finally woke up from their winning trance of 14 months ago and decided to at least attempt to do what most Americans that aren’t rich wanted, thanks for a deeply flawed Bill that could have contained a single payer public option. You had the votes for it but buckled under the pressure of all the health care lobbyists who were swarming around Washington like a scene from “The Birds”. At least we know that it is the end of our health care system as we have known it, and the fact that the insurance companies hate it steps up my vote of confidence in the new Bill. While not perfect by any stretch, I feel it is a start. Here are some of the highlights I feel are great;
1. After July 1, 2010 there will be a 10% tax on tanning bed services (it replaced a proposed tax on cosmetic surgery) evidently the tanning bed lobbyists don’t have a stronghold on Washington
2. Chain restaurants will be required to provide nutrition content on all items (even the items we already know would clog an artery as fast as we can say KFC)
3. A temporary program will be established for companies that provide early retiree (55-64) health benefits to help reduce the cost of that typically high expense
4. There will be a ban on pre-existing conditions for children this year but for adults not until 2014
5. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums
6. Kids can stay on their parents policies until age 26
7. No more monetary lifetime caps on policies and in 2014 no more annual caps
8. Insurance companies can no longer drop someone because he or she got sick (this one I’m sure is an insurance company favorite)
9. Seniors will get a rebate to fill a huge gap which now limits prescriptions over $2700. a year. By next year 50% of the gap will be filled.
10. Insurance companies have to be “transparent”. In other words they have to tell us how much they spend on overhead and a bunch of other things that they never intended for us to find out
11.The Secretary of Health and Human services will be setting up a new web site so we can check out state by state affordable health insurance options
This isn’t everything of course but pretty much the highlights, and the items that I could actually decipher not understanding medical, political and insurance babble all that well.
It’s such a shame that the United States Of America is so far behind Canada, Greece, The Netherlands and countless other countries in providing either moderate, low-cost or free health care to its citizens. With our greedy insurance and banking industries, unethical lobbyists, and personal agenda driven politicians it’s amazing that even this weak version of Health Care Reform got passed. My hat is off to those that at least started the ball rolling.