Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Health Care Bill passes one hurdle.

Key elements of the bill

The House health care bill would:

• Require most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

• Expand health care coverage to 36 million more people over the next decade.

• Require employers with payrolls above $500,000 to provide insurance to their employees or pay a fine.

• Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions.

• End premium disparities between men and women.

• Impose a 5.4 percent income tax surcharge on income above $500,000 annually for individuals and above $1 million annually for households.

• Establish a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers beginning in 2013.

• Cost $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

• Cut Medicare spending by more than $400 billion over 10 years.

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

In the run-up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. They prevailed on a roll call of 240-194.

The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it. Large companies would have to offer coverage to their employees. Both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government's mandates.

The bill drew the votes of 219 Democrats and Rep. Joseph Cao, a first-term Republican who holds an overwhelmingly Democratic seat in New Orleans. Opposed were 176 Republicans and 39 Democrats.

The bill is projected to expand coverage to 36 million uninsured, resulting in 96 percent of the nation's eligible population having insurance.

The bill was estimated to reduce federal deficits by about $104 billion over a decade, although it lacked two of the key cost-cutting provisions under consideration in the Senate, and its longer-term impact on government red ink was far from clear.

(The above information comes from The Oregonian.)

A special thanks to Rep. Peter DeFazio for voting yes on this bill. Pete DeFazio represents the Fourth Congressional District of Oregon. He is well loved in our neck of the woods.


Maggie May said...

So when will this come into operation? Lets hope it will be soon.

Nuts in May

Rob-bear said...

Well, some progress at least. Good beginning.

Man of Roma said...

Good. Very good. Let us hope.

marc aurel said...

Apart from the abortion provisions, it all sound very Canadian. Some Republicans regard us as Socialists, I gather. Of course, most of us are Nationalists and a just bit smug.

The Writing Instinct said...

My eyes keep going back to 'end premium disparities between men and women'...this is hard to beleive that disparities in medical care can exist today. I guess I shouldn't be Australia there is still no cross-the-board paid maternity leave and gender-based salary disparities still exist eg. male teachers earn more than female teachers...

The Writing Instinct said...

PS: I apologise for all the grammatical/spelling errors in my previous comment...inexcusable!

potsoc said...

It is a good beginning but far from universal insurance in the Canadian way. It just creates a kind of cooperative insurance company to compete with the big trusts and it still leaves out several million citizens.
The rightist bigots in both parties raised their ugly heads...and the Senate battle is barely beginning. As some newspapers have bannered: "A battle was won, not the war!"

Eva Gallant said...

Thanks for listing the highlights. Let's hope the Senate passes it also!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

I am for hope and we had to do something. Thanks for the info. I have one more request...will you adopt me? I want to live by the sea...

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the quick and dirty run down...will be interesting to see the next debates. hoping it passes!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

They should have started with a higher bar - like medicare for all. This bill is a vastly watered down version of what it could be. And the abortion provision was made, excuse me, mostly by men. Or maybe all of them were men? It seems to me that the insurance companies reap huge benefits, still, to the tune of mandatory insurance for an addition 36 million people. & there'[s no guarantee that their premiums won't soar. Is it better than nothing? I guess that remains to be seen.

Renee said...

Thank God, but to be honest I am shocked that the spread was so narrow to pass.

Love Renee xoxo

Marguerite said...

Thanks so much for spelling it out for us. Very helpful and interesting post! Hope it passes!

Lori ann said...

You said it, hurdle. We'll see...I am truly hoping for the best, like most Americans.

Dave King said...

I have been following the progress - or lack of it - of the various attempts since the Clintons era. I do hope this attempt succeeds.

Anonymous said...

It is a start...little acorns etc.,

I saw on TV that some idiot had equated the bill to the Nazi Holocaust.

the walking man said...

Personally I think this is not a good bill and will be stripped of what little is good in it by the self serving sold to the highest bidder Senate. Health care should not now nor ever again be tied to employment.

I wonder how when the changes come into effect the long term unemployed are going to scrape together their portion for coverage, even with the subsidy.

No I believe that until there is reform in the way we allow the insurance industry to do business or wiped out all together, the titans of industry will find a way to re-manipulate us into another form of gross profit stream under this legislation.

The majority party gave up to easily, to soon and to early on single payer.

Reya Mellicker said...

My sister Hannah worked for Peter DeFazio for many years. She really enjoyed working with him - he is one of the good ones.

As for the health bill, let's see what happens next, whether and how it can be implemented and how it will be enforced. I'm not cynical, just realistic. Hoping for the best, though.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

It's a start, let's hope it keeps moving in the right direction.

lakeviewer said...

Hi folks, I've kept quiet on this topic for a while, frankly overwhelmed by the rhetoric and the mud slinging.

It's just a first hurdle. The Senate has its own bill. After both bills get tossed about, a final one will end up on the President's desk.

As you saw, this bill passed by a small margin, with many democrats holding back. It is ponderous and still quite inadequate in my book.

Everyone will have insurance; that is the cornerstone piece. It allows the insurance company to have a bigger group to spread out the cost to, and in turn, it will cover everyone regardless of previous conditions.

Most people in my town who are barely making ends meet will not be able to afford any insurance, no matter how inexpensive; yet, like car insurance, they must purchase a basic policy. Something else will have to be forgone.

I'm anticipating that many will go underground; begin to go off the grid, take only day jobs that pay cash, etc...

In this country, politicians cannot hope to get elected on their good name or philosophy. They need major financial support. A couple of years ago our local county helped a doctor run for state representative. The total campaign cost over $10,000 dollars for a job that lasts a couple of years, paying less than $12,000 a year. Our doctor was willing to give up part of his practice to work for the public good. He was defeated. His opponent, an incumbent long term resident, is well supported, his ranch generates enough income, and his supporters enjoy the benefit of his decisions.

You see, everything is connected to money and power. No politician is going to fight the hand that feeds him.

Follow the money.

Lyn said...

It's a start. I was disappointed in the abortion provision as well. Abortion is a woman's healthy issue ... only women wealthy enough to afford options will have them! Maybe your country will eventually evolve to the point where the idea of free health care for all won't be regarded as communist. Let's just hope it doesn't get totally watered down in the Senate. Like I said -- it's a start!

cheshire wife said...

There are some big figures there but health is a big issue.