Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Hopeful Start

A frustrated Rush Limbaugh, apoplectic at the thought that health care reform will benefit the Democratic Party politically, today exclaimed

I think that in the meantime, we ought to start demanding all of the benefits. We want the premium reductions now! We want access to free services now, like the free preventive care like colonoscopies and whatever, mammograms.

We want the deficit reduction starting now! We want all the promises today. We don't want the promises in 2014; we don't want the promises in 2019. We want it now! We want all of the goodies in this bill to happen immediately. Because after all, most of the people that supported it think the stuff happens immediately. If Obama is to be true to his word, if Obama's to be true to his supporters who voted in support of this thing, we want it all now: Deficit reduction, free services, and the reduction in premiums. We want all these kids that are gonna get to stay on their parents' policies until 27. We want that on now. We want the preexisting condition insurance changed so that it happened right now. We want 32 million people without health care to have it this week. We don't want to wait until 2015 for these poor, unfortunate people.

It's coming, Rush, it's coming, though much of the change wrought by the bill approved Sunday night by the House of Representatives won't occur overnight. It took us many years to get a health care system far inferior to what we as Americans deserve, and it's going to take a while to transform it into something we can be proud of.

However, according to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (video below) last night, change will come quickly.

Immediately, small businesses can apply for tax credits for insurance they purchase for their employees. There will be assistance for the elderly to pay for pharmaceutical drugs. The "doughnut hole" is hereby filled and a $250 rebate check will be sent to those who already reached that threshold in 2010.

Ninety days (June 21, 2010) after the bill is signed, a high-risk pool will be operating and refusal to cover an individual for pre-existing conditions will be prohibited.

As of September 23, 2010, children cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions; rescission (dropping a customer when he/she becomes sick) will be eliminated; lifetime limits on coverage will be dropped; and young people can stay on their parent/parents' insurance until they turn 26.

As of January 1, 2011 a minimum medical loss ratio will be established, in which insurance companies will be required to spend on coverage at least 80% of what they collect in premiums. And there will be free preventive care for Medicare patients.

Obstacles remain. A delay in implementation would not be surprising, and Republicans are readying court action to invalidate the law, though that probably will be unsuccessful. Moreover, there is that pesky problem of mandating individuals to buy an inferior product (insurance) which they may not, even with subsidies, be able to afford, and the upward pressure that may place on the price of premiums. Still, it's not a bad start, achieved against the full-throated opposition of the Corporate Party of No.

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