First, there were the highly publicized rate hikes in California. Then, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report detailing rate hikes in several more states. And then there was WellPoint, who joined the club last week by jacking up premiums in 11 states.
After an exhausting year of debating health reform, we have finally reached the home stretch. We are closer than we have ever been to affordable, comprehensive health reform. However, opponents of reform continue to do everything in their power to delay, mislead, and disrupt the process. While they may score short-term political points, I have to wonder if they know what is truly at stake.
We may say it a lot, but it bears repeating one more time: We are closer than ever to enacting comprehensive health reform. So close, in fact, we can almost taste it over here at Stand Up for Health Care.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as excited about the prospect of passing health reform as we are.
No strangers to stall tactics, opponents of health reform have developed a habit of telling us to "start over" and "scrap the bill" instead of just compromising and forging ahead with the bills the Senate and the House have passed.
One of the biggest myths surrounding the current health care legislation is the notion that these reforms will add to our national deficit. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The latest figures from the non-partisan referee of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), show that the Senate health care bill will reduce our national deficit over time. According to the Director of the CBO,
When I was in elementary school, I spent my time playing in my backyard or running around with my friends on the playground, I certainly didn't think much about health care. But that's probably because I didn't have to: I was always covered through one of my parents' jobs and so was my entire family.
You may have seen a television commercial where a woman at a restaurant is asking her waiter endless questions about menu items. But then, when the same woman is shown at her doctor's office and is asked by her doctor if she has any questions, seemingly out-of-character, she replies with a "no."
Last week a lot of people were standing up for health care reform. There were marchers in the streets of Washington, D.C. trying to get equal access to insurance. There were congressional hearings on the subject, and 24 health care survivors spoke of their healthcare tragedies. One of those wonderful people was Marcelas. He is 11 years old.
Insurance companies have demonstrated some pretty egregious practices when it comes to who they'll cover and if they'll take away coverage. We've heard horror stories, but this one takes the cake. Reuters reported yesterday that in 2002, 17-year-old Jerome Mitchell, a college freshman, was dropped from his insurance plan because he was diagnosed with HIV.
If you watch the news on TV or read a newspaper, you know that a lot of Americans are nervous about health reform. One recent poll, conducted by Ipsos-McClatchey on February 26-28, found that 41% of Americans favor reform, while 47% oppose. And that's in line with what the media have been telling us, isn't it?
Today, you helped make history.
The House passed the Senate health reform bill. All of your hours, months, and years of hard work made this once-in-a-lifetime victory possible.
The entire team at Families USA is proud to have worked hand-in-hand with you every step of the way.