Friday, March 26, 2010

The Benefits of the New Health Care Law

An email from Senator Ben Cardin lists the following benefits:
  • Closing the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug “Donut Hole” and a $250 cash rebate in 2010
  • Tax credits that help small businesses pay for affordable quality health coverage for their employees
  • Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions
  • Protection from insurers who want to cancel policies when you get sick
  • Protecting and strengthening Medicare for seniors
  • Limiting out-of-pocket costs for medical care by prohibiting lifetime limits on benefits, and restricting the use of annual limits
  • Allowing dependent youths under age 26 to maintain coverage under their parents’ insurance plans
  • Free preventive services under all insurance plans and free annual wellness checkups for seniors
  • Prohibiting insurers from discriminating on the basis of gender
  • Allowing enrollees in new health plans to choose their own primary care doctor
  • Allowing women in new health plans to visit their ob-gyn without pre-approval from their insurance company
  • Allowing parents to select the pediatrician of their choice as their child’s primary care provider
  • Requiring all new health plans to guarantee access to needed emergency care services, according to the prudent layperson definition
  • Guarantee all new health plans allow an independent external review of any denied claims
At the same time, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed into law, will reduce costs for families and small businesses and cut the federal budget deficit by over $100 billion in the first 10 years and over $1 trillion in the next 10 years.

Comment: I am very glad to see that the law will make health insurance available to more people, and will not allow insurers to deny coverage to those who need it most. I am glad to see the emphasis on preventive medicine. I am encouraged by the cost savings.

I have become more concerned with regulation of the health insurance industry since the debate over the bill began, and I am glad to see consumer protection built in to the new law.

I would have preferred to see universal health insurance achieved, a public option, and indeed some more reforms of medicare.

Still legislation is based on compromise, and this law should improve the situation and seems better than I had expected.

Senator Cardin and his Democratic colleagues in the Congress deserve our thanks and support. The Republicans just said "NO!" Indeed, none of them had the courage to vote conscience in opposition to the party line. They deserve our anger and opposition. JAD
For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.
Benjamin Franklin

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