Thursday, February 11, 2010

Prescription for Change

Health coverage 

you can count on


Real help for real people

Dr. Ed Morris owns a fitness center in rural North Carolina, and is struggling to provide health coverage to his full-time workers. His insurance premiums have tripled over the past 10 years.

“Now with the economy making everything tougher, I’m worried about how I’m going to keep up with runaway health insurance premiums,” says Morris, owner of Franklin Fitness Center.
The Senate bill would offer small-business owners like Dr. Morris tax credits that would reduce his share of workers' premiums by up to 50 percent.
“As a physician, I am aware of the value of adequate health insurance for my employees," Morris says. "Tax credits offered in current health insurance reform bills would be a tremendous benefit to our business and our employees."

How would health reform affect you?For a more detailed look at how the reform bills would affect your individual situation, click here to use Consumers Union’s tool.
And for more specifics on how the Senate and Health reform bills compare, check out Kaiser Family Foundation’s detailed analysis.

One of the greatest threats to your family’s well-being and financial stability during rough economic times is not having health insurance. Health reform would remove the barriers to getting more affordable, reliable health coverage, so you never face going without the medical care you may need, or the threat of losing your life savings to pay for it. We’ve laid out exactly how health reform will give you this peace-of-mind based on the Senate-approved bill, since that bill is the most likely to be built upon. And will be telling you more in the coming weeks. (For a more detailed analysis of the Senate and House bills, click on the links at the lower right.)
Congress must choose from the same health coverage we get.
Much has been made about health reform not being good enough for members of Congress – so the Senate bill specifically requires that members’ health coverage will be the same that the rest of us can choose from. Here’s the language from pg. 157 of the bill which requires members to choose from policies offered in the national health insurance ‘store,’ or exchange:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are—1 (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act.
You can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition or your health.
Right now any insurance company can reject your application or drop your coverage. The new law would require that any insurer give you coverage, and renew it, regardless of your age or pre-existing condition, beginning in 2014. Until then, if you’ve been denied a policy because of your health, you can immediately get coverage through a high-risk insurance plan and get help paying for it.
If you get a serious illness, your needed care will be covered.
Many people lose their life savings paying for medical care because insurers today can limit how much they'll pay for over the course of a year, or your lifetime. Reform would prohibit companies from placing lifetime limits on your coverage within six months after the bill is passed. By 2014, health plans would be prohibited from putting a yearly dollar limit on how much they’ll cover (until then, the only annual limits on your policies must be approved by the Health Secretary).
Preventive care and screenings will be covered 100% by your policy.
The best way for us to stay health and save money is through prevention. But if you’ve had a mammogram or colonoscopy lately, you know that those and other preventive tests can cost you a lot out-of-pocket. Reform would require health plans cover recommended preventive care like annual checkups and cancer screenings at 100% of the cost. Employers can also offer employees discounts on their insurance premiums or other incentives for participating in wellness programs. Detecting serious diseases early, preventing problems like diabetes and heart disease, and encouraging Americans to be healthier will cost us all a lot less in the long run.
More primary care doctors and more doctors in rural areas.
Everyone wants to be able to see their doctor when they need to. Which is why reform puts an emphasis on graduating and training more primary-care doctors by increasing scholarships and financial help for medical students who choose that field. There also are incentives to boost the number of doctors in those states with low doctor-to-patient ratios, as well as increase the number of nurses through more training and loan repayment programs. LEARN MORE HERE

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As Jim Hightower explains it, is that “the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess more net worth today than the bottom 90 percent of us combined. Worse, these privileged few and their political henchmen have structured a new economic ‘normal’ of long-term joblessness, low wages, no benefits or worker rights, miserly public services, and a steadily widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us.” We must restore sanity to this nation.