Terrance Heath

Vote For Health Care

Filed By Terrance Heath | October 29, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: election 2010, GOTV, health care reform, reason to vote

Still looking for a reason to vote? Here’s a three word answer: health care reform. I’m not sure why Democrats aren’t running on it, but it’s a big step towards "change we can believe in" — the kind that some 66,882,230 (53% of the popular vote compared to Bush’s 47.9% in 2000 and 50.7% in 2004) voted for in 2008. Parts of it are already in effect and making a difference in live of millions of Americans, and some of its biggest changes — expanding coverage to millions of Americans, lowering costs to seniors, and prohibiting some of the insurance industry’s worst practices — are yet to come.

That’s why the GOP is promising to do all it can to repeal health care reform, take away the benefits Americans already enjoy, and block future benefits. That’s also why health care reform has to be defended. It represents not only change we can believe in, but change we still believe in.

The health care reform legislation congressional Democrats passed and President Obama signed into law on March, 23, 2010, was, as vice president Biden aptly put it, "a big f***ing deal." It represented change that Americans have waited almost a century for, and response to the urgent needs of millions of Americans.

Conservatives, when they held power in both Congress and the White House, never moved to reform health care or answer Americans’ health care related concerns. When they did do something, they lied about the cost of the Bush administration’s Medicare overhaul, suppressed estimates that exceeded the White House estimate by $100 billion, and gave senior citizens a Medicare donut hole that benefited big pharma more than anyone else.

In the absence of a response from the federal level, several states and local governments moved to provide coverage for their residents. In fact, the only other time conservatives rallied around health care during the Bush era was to block states from extending coverage to children. (It wasn’t that conservatives didn’t’ think children should have coverage. It’s just that they only thought children should have coverage if insurance companies profited.)

Health care reform is already making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans; differences that the GOP had eight years to make, and didn’t. Despite this, Republicans are already running on a pledge to repeal the hope and help that is already reaching millions of Americans, and replace it with more of the same.

Now health care reform and the benefits it has and will extend to millions of Americans face a new threat from Republicans who are campaigning on a pledge to repeal health care reform, and "replace" its benefits with policies and proposals that will benefit insurance companies more than Americans who need access to quality, affordable care.

The GOP’s "Pledge to America" promises to repeal health care reform, and replace it with a an unworkable plan that would not "replace" the benefits of health care reform. The Congressional Budget office says that health care reform will cut the deficit by $140 billion over 10 years. Repealing it will not only increase the deficit, but fail to protect Americans or cover costs. Buying and selling insurance across state lines would allow insurers in states with fewer regulations and consumer protections to sell cheaper, less valuable products that would amount to a "race to the bottom" in health care.

Americans across the political spectrum have consistently supported health care reform. The majority of Americans want to see health care reform expanded, and oppose any attempt to repeal it. Whatever their political strip, all Americans can identify with the having a loved one in need of urgent medical care, or needing care themselves, and understand being afraid of losing coverage and with it access to care.

Health care reform is already beginning to remove those fears from the lives of millions of Americans, and replace it with and assurance that they and their families will have access to quality, affordable care that can not be taken away from them or denied to them when they need it most.

A number of benefits from the Affordable Care Act have already taken effect.

  • Insurance companies may no longer use simple mistakes and typos to deny cancel coverage if a person become ill.
  • Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions — from asthma to allergies to old injuries — with the exception of "grandfathered" plans in the individual market.
  • Young adults may stay on the their parents insurance up to age 26.
  • Insurance companies may no longer limit the amount of coverage available to those who face expensive medical conditions. This will help Americans who develop chronic illnesses.
  • Many plans, with the exception of those "grandfathered" plans in the individual market, must phase out annual limits over the next three years.
  • Insurance companies must pay for preventative care, such as mammograms and immunizations.
  • Insurance companies must improve the appeals process for insurance claims, giving Americans a better process to received benefits they have paid for, but that insurance companies have denied.
  • Insurance companies must let Americans choose any available participating physician as their primary care doctor, and any available participating pediatrician as their children’s doctor.
  • Insurance companies must provide more direct access to OB-GYN care, instead of requiring women to have referrals from a primary care physician.
  • Senior caught in the Medicare "Donut Hole" — where "Part D" beneficiaries pay all of their own prescription costs — will receive a one-time rebate check from Medicare this year.

Health care reform will continue to benefit Americans and expand coverage in the next several years.

  • Tax credits will help small businesses cover employees.
  • Medicare will provide 10% bonus payments to primary care physicians and surgeons.
  • Medicare will cover the full costs of annual wellness visits and personalized prevention plan services.
  • A Medicaid program will allow states to offer home and community-based care for disabled Americans who would otherwise receive institutional care.

In the the near future, Americans will benefit even further from health care reform.

  • As of 2014, health insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
  • In 2014, state health insurance exchanges will open for small businesses and individuals.
  • Individuals with income up to 133% of the poverty level will qualify for Medicaid coverage.
  • For people with incomes up to 400% of the poverty level, health care tax credits will become available to help them purchase coverage on the exchange.
  • By 2019, health care reform will extend coverage to 32 million Americans who would not otherwise be insured.

Yet, the work of health care reform is only beginning. It must be defended against obstruction and attack, in order for Americans to experience all of its benefits. Like other programs that the overwhelming majority of Americans support — such as Social Security — the support for health care reform will continue to grow as more Americans feel its positive impact in their lives:

Every time Americans don’t have to feel anxious about health care for themselves or loved ones, and feel the liberating effect it has on their lives, support for health care will grow. It will grow to the point that they will not stand for anyone trying to take it away. They will refuse to go back to what they knew before.

The opponents of reform know this. That’s why they are desperate to stop health care reform before it improves the lives of millions of Americans. They’ll even shut down the government to do it, if they get the chance.

We must protect health care reform and the benefits it has already begun to extend to Americans, and fight to give health care reform time to change the lives of millions of Americans.

To do that, we’ve got to vote.

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Terrance, you are mostly right. But here's what happend on the way to the party:

Rahm & Co. ruled the pro-healthcare message for 16 months. It was ridiculously soft, even silent.

In that vacuum, the NoNo Club (Boehner, McConnell, et al) had a wide-open message field. About half their message stuck.

It was an historic gamble for the NoNos. A president had just been elected, who enjoyed overwhelming personal popularity, and had a strong wind at his back. His platform was the most-clarian-clear of any presidential nominee in my lifetime: who in this country did NOT know he wanted strong health care reform?

The NoNos had nothing to lose. They could just as easily have been sitting here, five days out from mid-terms, grabbing their ankles. And it turned out to be one of the best political gambles in modern history.

Rahm & Co. called into the White House, in early 2009, the leaders of the health insurance/hospital cabal. A bigger bunch of capitalist opportunistic whores you'll rarely find, but there they were, eating those fancy crust-less sandwiches and drinking iced tea. If those walls could talk. It was closer to the Cheney/Halliburton/Energy policy debacle, than a populist president's strategy session.

The result? Rahm co-opted these ruthless bastards. They vowed not to oppose the health care reform agenda. They kept to most of that promise, until the bitter end, when some of them funneled money to the Chamber and other groups, to re-run some of the "Harry & Louise"-type ads. We got a victory anyway.

Watered-down, because if this were a game of battleship, Rahm bargained away two destroyers before the game began.

The end-result? Seniors scream "get government off my back!" whilst cashing those diability/SocSec checks, and gettig most of their health care paid by us anyway. Because facts didn't really matter, only the political debate.

It was a great political poker game to watch, if you love the process, and don't care about the outcome.

Today, if you're an incumbent Member of Congress, unless your district was 60% pro-Obama, you can't get out-front on health care. So patheticly sad.

I hope we all learned a lesson and paid attention. We'll need firm resolve in the next two years.

There is no, repeat NO, shame in aggressively fighting for your beliefs, and losing. (Especially when your election produced such a clear mandate) Now, the President will likely get a less-friendly Congressional climate in which to wage battles. It's gonna be a hell of a ride.

If we're lucky, the President has learned. He's one smart cookie. But, I remind you, so was Jimmy Carter. A Naval Academy-trained nuclear science man.

In DC, it's not about brains. It's about power, and wise use thereof. Pres. Obama listened to the wrong man, Rahm, too much. We forgive him, but there must be a different course for 2012.

I think there will be. I'm seeing the Old Barack a little more. May he return with a passion, loudly, and with sharp elbows under the basket.

Vote for health care. Vote for LGBT rights. Vote for tax relief. Just vote.

If only... well, Democrats are better than the alternative. But they didn't do much to tackle that list of problems about health care just after the jump. Especially that last one, about us paying 2.5 times more than we should be for health care - Democrats were happy that their health care bill would cost the same as the status quo! Whoo hoo!

But, yeah, go vote for a lesser evil.

Health care has been a very critical issue for many Americans for years that has needed to be addressed. Now an attempt has been made. Of course, there may be parts that need to be changed, revised, or altered. From a human caring point of
view, I simply do not understand why individuals want to undo this step in the right direction.