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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So What Did We End Up With?

In the coming days and weeks I know that more information will be forthcoming regarding the details of the historic health care bill which President Obama signed and which Republicans, none of whom voted for the bill, already oppose.

I can certainly understand anyone's concern about this bill, as it is most certainly imperfect. My problems with the Republican opposition are:

1. This bill happens to include many provisions which were originally proposed by Republicans. It can even be looked upon as a huge effort to compromise with Republican interests, in its rejection of Progressive proposals such as Medicare For All and in the sweeteners it gives to private insurance companies.

2. If there is a Republican plan which would help more Americans get access to health care than this bill will, I have yet to see it.

That said, I, like many people, have questions about the bill. A few of mine are:

Does the bill truly eliminate the life-threatening "doughnut hole" gap in coverage in Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan for seniors/disabled; many disabled have no other choice but this plan) ? If so, how does it do this, and when?

What is the actual amount of the much-discussed fine for people who do not purchase health insurance (for whatever reason) ?

Is the expansion of Medicaid now to cover people whose incomes are 133% of the poverty level? What happens if a state does not go along with this, since Medicaid is a federal/state program?

Do the promised achievements in lowering the deficit come at the expense of Medicare? taxes?

What does this bill and/or an executive order signed by the President do to women's rights to an abortion?

How does it (supposedly) eliminate discrimination re pre-existing conditions? What is the exact mechanism of this? What if the policies offered are unaffordable?

What goes into effect immediately?

Ok admittedly I have a lot more questions! But I'm researching a few at a time. After all, I'm ill myself, and right now in a huge mess because I can't afford my Medicare copays (a problem I do not think this bill addresses is the lack of access of the disabled under age 65 to Medigap policies.)

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An undergrad economics degree was all I could afford. Alas and alack, it did not guarantee me regular meals.

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