Monday, March 22, 2010

On Passage of Health Care Reform

Well, the bill passed the House last night. A quote from a friend who is a doctor practicing at a hospital in Fairfax will serve as a nice coda to the evening: They did it. Health care reform has passed. I am about to eat a gigantic, rotten, steaming plate of crow and I will enjoy every last mouthful. :)"

I think there are four things to remember when people ask us "so what?"
  1. No more rescissions. That means that if you've been paying your policy premiums in good faith and develop a medical condition, your insurance carrier cannot arbitrarily rescind your coverage. This is a benefit we all deserve, and it is just plain common sense.

  2. No rejection for pre-existing conditions. This one has always amazed me. Insurance works best when everyone is covered. The people who need it most are the ones with conditions requiring treatment. Rejection of pre-existing conditions plus recissions is the health insurance industry essentially saying, "you can buy our insurance, but you can never use it." That is ridiculous.

  3. Expansion of coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans. Among the reasons that costs of care are high is that hospitals are required to treat everyone who comes into the ER. Many of those doing so do not have insurance, meaning that the costs of care for those people are often shifted onto those who do have insurance and the local, state and Federal government. By providing a way to get insurance for 31 million people, those costs will be managed better, leading to more efficiencies and lower costs for all of us.

  4. An end to lifetime caps on coverage. Insurers will no longer be able to dictate the value of your life relative to how much you are costing them. If you have insurance, they must cover you.
There is a good article in the same spirit on Huffington Post today. Vivian Paige is also a good read this morning, as she posits on the nature of the conversation over the past 24 hours. And when it comes to some of the process consternation post-passage, you must read Nate Silver.

Jen gets the final word.