As one who saw the uninsured on a daily basis in the 1980's as PR director of Denver Health & Hospitals, I am overjoyed that Congress passed healthcare reform. Below are concise facts about the bill to counter misinformation disseminated by those who benefit from the current system. The bill:
1. Curbs insurance company abuses. Insurors must use 80% of premium dollars on medical care. Some spend as little as 60%; they can no longer deny for pre-existing conditions.
2. Bends the cost curve by requiring for-profit insurance companies to compete with non-profits head to head on price on a basic minimum benefits package. In Australia, people pay Half Per Capita what Americans pay. Insurance companies have not gone out of business, but they don't pay their executives excessively. the Congressional Budget Office says the reforms will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 2 decades.
3. Strengthens Medicare by creating incentives to improve quality and expands access to preventive services and reducing waste and fraud. This extends Medicare Funding for 10 years vs. running out of money by 2017.
4. Requires individuals to purchase health insurance just as people are required to buy auto insurance. A large number of "free riders" who don't buy insurance are 20-something males. When they land in the ER, you and I pay — up to $1,000 more a year in premiums– for their care.
5. Expands access to 30 million US citizens through subsidies for low and moderate income families. Every parent wants to buy insurance for their kids, but if you make $30,000 a year, you can't afford $12K in premiums. Now the US joins all other industrialized nations in providing healthcare to its citizens. As it is phased in, the toll of 45,000 preventable deaths a year will be reduced as more people get preventive care on a timely basis.