Health Care Insurance reform

“Last month the Senate voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the most meaningful improvement to our health care system since enactment of Medicare and Medicaid four and a half decades ago.

From Sherrod Brown:

“Last month the Senate voted to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the most meaningful improvement to our health care system since enactment of Medicare and Medicaid four and a half decades ago.

The Senate and House of Representatives are now merging their respective bills and expect to deliver a final piece of legislation to President Obama in the coming weeks. While the negotiations continue, I wanted to provide an update on how health reform would help Ohioans.  The bill passed by the Senate, with my support, would lower costs for middle-class families with insurance, while providing help to 31 million Americans who lack it – including the 1.4 million Ohioans who are currently uninsured.

It would eliminate the $1,100 hidden tax that Ohioans with insurance now pay to help cover the costs of caring for the uninsured. It would also prohibit insurance companies from using huge portions of your premium dollars for advertising, corporate retreats, executive salaries, and unheard-of profits instead of providing coverage for your medical care. And it would give more than 118,000 Ohio small businesses an immediate tax credit to help them afford health benefits for their workers.

The bill would curb insurance company abuses – like denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men for the same policy, and imposing arbitrary annual and lifetime caps on benefits.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would end the shameful insurance practice of rescission, which retroactively cancels your insurance when you get sick. It would close the prescription drug coverage gap (the “donut hole”) for seniors and provide them with free annual checkups and preventive services for the first time. The bill would also extend the financial security of Medicare by nearly a decade.

This bill means insurance companies will have to play by a new set of rules – that will lower costs and expand coverage. It means you will no longer be denied medical care because of a pre-existing condition, age, gender, or medical history. It means health security for you and your family, whether you’re uninsured or have health insurance that could be eliminated with a job loss or illness. It means Ohio’s seniors will be able to afford prescription drugs and access much needed medical care. And, this bill means Ohio small business owners can do right by their employees and no longer face double-digit premium increases year after year after year.

Once President Obama signs this important bill into law, I’ll be certain to provide you an update on this historic step toward a health care system that works for all Americans. ”

Sherrod Brown

(Emphasis Mine).

Obama’s Progressive Progress

Jacob Heilbrunn: writing in the HuffPost: “The verdict on President Obama is already in and it’s not a pretty one: he’s bungled health care. The economy is going nowhere. The Republicans are making a comeback….

By the end of this year, Obama will be in a very strong position. Congress will pass a health care bill — not a perfect one, to put it mildly, but it will be the first step toward creating comprehensive coverage. Obama will be able to claim it as a big win, as will congressional Democrats.

Then there’s the economy. Unemployment will remain high, but Obama will be able to point to a revival, not just in the stock market, but also in jobs creation. With a reviving economy, the Democrats will be in an impregnable position by the 2010 midterm elections. The Republicans who are counting on an off-year for the Democrats should think again.

What about foreign policy? Obama will have greatly curtailed the American presence in Iraq. Within a year, it will also become clear whether his approach to Afghanistan — upping the number of troops — is working. In addition, Pakistan seems to be stabilizing. Both would count as big wins for Obama.

Despite all the caterwauling about Obama, then, he remains firmly on course to become one of the most important Democratic presidents in history. It’s always tempting to demand more, to see betrayal of the cause. It’s what conservatives have been doing for decades, as they declared that even George W. Bush wasn’t conservative enough.  There is no reason to panic about Obama. His sobriety and sound judgment are his greatest assets. So far, the most significant thing about Obama isn’t that he hasn’t accomplished more, but how successful his presidency has already been.”