Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday night

Watching Anthony Bourdain in Provence.

Last night late, after watching Jamie Oliver's new show on nutrition in the U.S., I was glued to the TV watching the health care votes in the House.

So we're going to have a health care system that borders on universal coverage. I'm still for Medicare for all, which would be the most efficient way of going about it. Maybe someday. Meanwhile I think this legislation has much to offer and serves as a foundation on which to make further improvements.

From an email from Bernie Sanders:

What Health Care Reform Means for You Today:

  • No Denials for Pre-Existing Conditions Insurers may no longer exclude individuals under 19 years old with pre-existing medical conditions. The age limit increases over time. By 2014, people with pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied insurance.
  • More Young Adults Insured Parents will be allowed to keep their children on their health insurance plan until age 26.
  • Broader Coverage Within 90 days, people who have been locked out of the insurance market because of a pre-existing condition would be eligible for coverage.
  • Insurance Stability All insurance plans will be barred from imposing lifetime caps on coverage. Insurers can no longer cancel insurance retroactively except for outright fraud.
  • Prescription Drugs The 4 million Medicare beneficiaries with prescription drug bills so high they are not fully covered will get a $250 rebate this year. Next year, charges will be cut in half for seniors who fall into the Medicare coverage gap known as the doughnut hole.
  • Tax Credits for Small Businesses Small business owners will no longer be forced to choose between offering health care and hiring new employees. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will help them insure their employees.
  • Holding Down Premiums Insurers must report how much they spend on medical care versus administrative costs, a step that later will be followed by tighter government review of premium increases.
  • Health Centers Funding for community health centers will begin to go up this year. About 40 million patients, twice as many as today, will be treated in community health centers within five years.
  • Professional Training Investments in training more primary care doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will begin later this year.

Here's a summary of the new and improved bill (PDF).

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