Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,

Health Care Reform Has Passed

It was a hard battle, but Health Care Reform has passed. After months of watching Republicans on their knees, awkwardly fumbling at the zippers of insurance company executives, the wait is over. Now if they try to overturn it, it won't be seen as obstructionist; it will be seen as taking away people's rights. I'm very curious how they're going to deal with this.

I mean, what can the Republicans do? Lobby to reopen the donut hole and lose the senior citizen vote? Try to take away the insurance coverage extended to children? Allow the insurance companies to deny coverage to sick people? Allow insurance companies to reinstate the pre-existing condition clauses? Remove the out-of-pocket expense cap?

I think the only political play the Republicans really have is removing the fine for not having health insurance. In 2014, if you don't have health insurance, you could face a fine of up to $2,085, but you'll be able to buy coverage from a new "American Health Benefit Exchange" at a cost which cannot exceed 8% of your income.

The problem is that people who don't have coverage and get ill will go to emergency rooms and those costs will likely be passed on to everyone else. By fining people if they don't have coverage, we encourage them to get coverage and give them the opportunity to seek less expensive forms of medical care. However, this is still viewed as coercive and I can see it getting overturned (and am I required to get health insurance now? I'm covered by the NHS).

But what does this mean for you now? According to Reuters, this year we'll see lifetime coverage limits eliminated and you can't be dropped from coverage just because you're sick. Children can't be excluded for pre-existing conditions. Parents can keep children on their health plan until the children turn 26. If you have no insurance but you do have a pre-existing condition, you can still get health coverage.
Tax credits will be provided to small businesses to make it easier to offer coverage.

How many of those provisions can Republicans attack? They can't, really. They managed to get people upset about vague issues they didn't understand, but they never really connected on the underlying issues. Witness, for example, these Tea Baggers explaining their protesting.

The Republicans have an uphill battle and if the reform pays off, the Democrats, for years on end, will be able to point out that it was the Republicans who were fighting for the corporations and against the people.
Tags: politics
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