The victory on health reform was long overdue and will make great strides in improving the lives of millions of American families-bringing us closer to a more just and equitable health care system. But you wouldn't know it to talk to opponents of reform. Despite the popularity of the individual provisions of the health reform law, opponents have continued their tactics of misinformation and negative rhetoric.
Senator Tom Harkin was recently quoted in a New York Times article saying, "We don't have a health care system in America. We have a sick care system. If you get sick, you get care. But precious little is spent to keep people healthy in the first place."
Spring is the part of the year for something new to begin. A new love, new flowers blooming, a new baseball season-spring symbolizes a fresh start for the days ahead.
This metaphor can be applied to health care, as a new era of insurance reforms are set to debut. Many provisions are being implemented immediately or within the next year, so the details about the bill can be confusing. But as the winter clouds make way for sunny spring skies, Families USA has set up a resource to shine light on the new reforms.
Andrew Ondrejcak, 24, was attempting to live out his dream. He moved from a small town to New York City to start a career in fashion. To make ends-meet, Andrew worked at a local bakery. He could barely afford rent and health insurance was out of the question.
It is likely sometime in your life that you, or someone you know, have been denied insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition. According to a report recently released by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services:
"12.6 million non-elderly adults- 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market - were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years."
Insurance company abuses have been a central part of the debate on health reform-they represent some of the worst parts of our current health care system. The policy to drop people from coverage when they get sick or even to retroactively revoke their coverage, called rescission, is especially troublesome and goes against the very nature of health insurance.
A common misconception about health insurance is that if you are covered, you don't have to worry about skyrocketing health care costs. We pay insurance companies premiums every month so we won't have to shell out tons of money when we get sick, right? In theory that's true, but in practice it doesn't always work out that way.
Small businesses fuel the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, small businesses are struggling due to the financial burden of providing health care for their employees during tough economic times. But with health reform, some of this financial burden will be lifted, and employers will be able to help their employees get the care they need.
The passage of health reform will provide immediate and long-term help for businesses. So, as many business owners would say: Let's talk about the numbers.
For those of us not lucky enough to be insured by our employers, having to face the daunting task of navigating the private insurance market can cause heart palpitations. The current insurance market is confusing and overwhelming; there is no one state or federal entity that regulates all markets nor is there much regulation on what information insurers must provide to consumers. Therefore it is often difficult for consumers to know what exactly they are getting under each plan, until it's too late.
In the last few months, we have seen insurance companies from across the country announce drastic increases in their premium rates. A February report from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius revealed that rate increases ranged from 24 percent in Connecticut and 39 percent in California to 56 percent in Michigan.