Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 7.5 - Healthcare

I'm not even going to say anything more, this is some of the real information regarding the new healthcare overhaul, directly quoted from:    Stay informed about the facts, make your own decisions based on truth, NOT speculation.

[The below information is a direct quote from the original author's page, I take no credit for this, the link to the author's page is here: ]

*** How is the law affecting you RIGHT NOW? There were cries of, “Have you read the bill?” and “What’s in the bill?” which led to a lot of the confusion. Well, here’s some of what’s ACTUALLY in the bill that’s taken effect already or will this year, per NBC’s Betsy Cline and others:
- Children allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until their 26th birthday.
- A 10% tax on indoor tanning services. (Sorry, Snooki.)
- Seniors receive a $250 rebate to help cover the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage
- Free preventative care covered by Medicare and private plans. (So, when your company says, “Good news, you now get free health-care screenings, child well visits, physicals and other preventative care,” that comes from the health-care bill.)
- Nursing mothers to be allowed lactation breaks
- Insurance companies no longer allowed to discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions
- Government-run insurance plan set up for adults with preexisting conditions who are denied coverage
- Government-run long-term care program set up. For those who participate, people pay premiums for five years and then will receive benefits if they need them -- “whether they are 20-somethings in snowboard accidents or 80-somethings with Parkinson’s disease,” the New York Times wrote.
- Insurance companies barred from placing lifetime caps on benefits
- Insurance companies barred from dropping patients’ coverage when they get sick
- Insurance companies must prove they spend 80% to 85% of premium revenue on medical services.
- Insurance companies required to disclose rate increases (and the reason) of 10% or more
- Small businesses (with fewer than 50 employees) begin receiving tax credits covering 35% of premiums to help them buy coverage. (This credit jumps to 50% in 2014.)
- States receive billions in funding for community health centers
- Drug companies face $2.5 billion in fees (rises in later years)
- Creation of a government research institute created in to examine the effectiveness of medical treatments
- Establishment of a Medicare Independent Advisory Board, which will be tasked with trying to keep Medicare spending down and submitting legislative proposals to do so. It will first submit recommendations in 2016.
*** How will it affect you IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS? If most of that sounds good (that is, unless you’re Snooki), Republicans will rightly argue the law was front-loaded with many of the positive parts. In 2013, new taxes and fees go into effect for individuals making more than $200,000 a year (and families making more than $250,000 a year), on dividends and interest, and on sales of medical devices. By 2014, the individual mandate goes into effect -- if you don’t have insurance, you have to buy it or face a fee. By 2016, that fee will be 2.5% of your income or $695 a year, whichever is more. (Kaiser has a helpful interactive timeline here.)
*** Bet you didn’t know…: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office yesterday passed around a quote from Starbucks’ CEO, who said, “I think as the bill is currently written and if it was going to land in 2014 under the current guidelines, the pressure on small businesses, because of the mandate, is too great.” It’s true that by 2014, businesses with more than 100 employees will have to contribute to buying health insurance for their employees or face hefty fines (if at least one of their employees qualifies for tax credits, but not Medicaid). But, we bet you didn’t know that businesses with fewer than 50 employees NEVER have to buy health insurance for their employees, per the White House.
*** By the numbers: For all your quick facts needs, here’s a health care, by numbers (gathered from published reports, the Kaiser Family Foundation, government health-care Web sites, the Department of Health and Human Services, and White House “fact sheets”):
- $2.8 billion: Dollars distributed so far to states to implement the law.
- $241 million: Dollars given so far to six states and a “coalition of states” in “Early Innovator” grants
- $50 million: Dollars to go out this year for five-year medical malpractice grants to go out this year to states to “develop, implement, and evaluate alternatives to current tort litigations”
- $50 million: Dollars in grants sent to states to establish exchanges
- $46 million:
Dollars in grants so far to states to address insurance rate increases
- 4 million:
People received $250 because they hit the Medicare “donut hole” since the law passed
- 12,000:
People who were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions since the law was passed and were added to the government-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan
- 1,040:
Waivers granted that allow companies to cap annual payouts at lower levels than the original law orders
- 219:
House Democrats voted for the health-care bill
- 171: House Democrats remain in Congress
- 63: House seats Democrats lost in the 2010 midterms
- 56: Senate Democrats voted for the bill
- 53:
Percent who say they’re still confused by the law
- 48: Percent who say they think the law has either been repealed (22%) or aren’t sure (26%)
- 46: Democrats who voted for the bill remain in the Senate
- 38:
States whose legislatures have proposed measures opposing elements of health reform
- 27: States have challenged the constitutionality of the law
- 26: Percent who say they’re not sure if the health-care law has been repealed
- 22: Percent who say incorrectly that the health-care law has been repealed
- 6: States -- Nevada, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, North Dakota, and Iowa -- all have applied for waivers and are being reviewed
- 6: Cases pending in lower courts challenging the health-care law
- 5: Health-care lawsuits taken up by the courts out of the dozens of cases that were filed -- most centered on the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy health insurance
- 3: Steps the Small Business Administration created for small businesses to apply for or see if they qualify for government subsidies. The SBA claims, “Four million of the nation’s six million small businesses that employ workers could be eligible for these credits.”
- 3: Court decisions in court in favor of the administration
- 2: Court decisions against the administration.
- 1: State -- Maine has undergone the full process to get approval for a waiver on the 80%-85% provision of the health-care law. It got the provision adjusted to 65% through 2012. The reason for approval, per HHS: “The main insurance company that provides coverage for about” one-third of the 37,000 people on the individual market “said they may leave the market if they are required to meet the higher standard.”
- 1: Other state -- New Hampshire -- is farthest along in its waiver process and has a hearing set for Thursday.

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