Remember in elementary school when fractions were the bane of any student’s existence? Numerators and denominators were “bad words” and their relationship kept many school kids up past their bedtimes. Although many of the people who are working on implementing health reform are far past their elementary school math days, a certain numerator is causing them the same headaches.
The White House Blog recently posted a response to an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, which claims the new health reform law will limit consumers’ choices and prevent them from keeping their current health care plans. As the author of the blog, Stephanie Cutter, points out, “this ignores the realities of health reform.” We couldn’t agree more.
People suffering from mental illnesses need access to appropriate medications and the right providers so that they can live productive and fulfilling lives. However, insurance companies have traditionally discriminated against individuals who need mental health services by placing more restrictive barriers—like higher co-pays or lower limits on hospital stays—on mental health services than on medical or surgical services.
One of the least mentioned aspects of the health reform law are measures that will improve the quality of health care. Although the benefits were not scored by the Congressional Budget Office, these measures are intended to positively change care, in both patient and doctor satisfaction and costs.
According to David Brown of Washington Post,
It’s no secret that our economy has left businesses around the country in a tight financial bind. In an effort to save money, many employers have decided to drop health insurance coverage—leaving many hard-working Americans in a vulnerable position. One group of people that is especially vulnerable is early retirees.
The recession has affected every American. But in Michigan, the effect of the recession is amplified. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In addition, residents of Detroit, a city of over 900,000, don’t have access to a national full-service chain grocery store. Without jobs, many will lose health coverage. And without access to healthy foods (those in areas without grocery stores rely on fast food restaurants and convenience stores as their food sources), people are at higher risk for health conditions such as diabetes. This is a bad combination
Before health reform, insurance companies generally could deny Americans in the individual market coverage if they had a history of health problems. Heart disease? Denied. Breast cancer? Denied. Diabetes? Denied. For decades, many insurance companies have been allowed to treat those with pre-existing conditions unfairly. But because Congress and the American people became so fed up with this blatant discrimination, we’ll finally see an end to these shameful practices.
We recently asked you, the members of the Stand Up for Health Care community, to let us know how health reform will affect your lives. The response was overwhelming. And while opponents of reform are relying on tired old rhetoric, we’ve collected stories from people like you whose lives will be better thanks to health reform.
Jean from Minnesota told us,
Recently, many health insurance providers said they will stop the practice of dropping coverage when a customer becomes sick. The practice of rescissions has been outlawed in health reform, but some are choosing to comply before the September 23rd deadline.
According to Tom Murphy of the Associated Press,
Thanks to health reform, young adults can stay on their parents' coverage longer, seniors are protected from spending too much on costly prescription drugs, and insurance companies can no longer deny people coverage if they've ever been sick -and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because of these provisions we will be a much healthier country. If that's not reason enough to love the bill, consider this: We'll also be a richer country.