There are certain things that are still unclear about Obama's health reform such as whether there would be a public health insurance provision, co-op, or a trigger mechanism for either one. (The uncertainty is due to having to change certain items and details to compromise with the Republicans, blue-dog Democrats, and liberal Democrats. It's tough to try to satisfy all sides.) However, there are two items on the bill that all sides (the right, the left, and the middle) stood up to approvingly clap during President Obama’s speech in front of Congress last night. The undisputed two items that I am quite sure would not change in the bill when it’s passed are:
• Elimination of Discriminatory Practices Based on Health Condition
It would be illegal for insurance companies to exclude anyone from starting or renewing coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
• Prevention of Bankruptcy from Medical Expenses for Individuals
Insurers would no longer be allowed to put a cap on the amount of benefits received by an individual. However, there would be a cap on out-of-pocket medical expenses by an individual.
It would be unthinkable for any Congressman to dispute these two items, unless they want to appear impious. However, those Congressman who are influenced by the private health insurance industry would just try to throw out the whole proposed-bill (including these two items) or they would try to delay the process. (They know that, historically, any long delay of health reform destroys any chance of it. This was true with President Clinton and previous presidents who had made the effort.) The private health insurance industry and the influential people they back (politicians, the media, some bloggers, and others) are likely the source of all the mis-information in the last few months that are compromising our chance of reforming healthcare.
Even if you have health insurance (from your job or from purchasing on your own), not having these two proposed terms (and others) signed into law may affect you or someone you love. Many have faced bankruptcy when they came down with a disease, even when they had health insurance from their job. There are lots of problems with our current system, or the current status quo, but most of us don’t see it until something major goes wrong with our health. I didn’t see it until I faced my own health crisis in 2004, and I had probably the best health insurance benefits in the state of California, being employed by the University of California. Chances are, your current health insurance is not better than the ones offered by the University of California to their professors and employees. You are therefore even more vulnerable than I was, although you won’t really know it until you are hit by a health crisis – the perfect storm.
You may find my article about Obama’s health care reform including a summary of the proposed bills at the right page of:
Feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want the pdf version
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