The health reform debate produced a lot of misinformation about how the health reform bill would change Medicare. Much of it focused on false claims of cuts to benefits, the infamous death panels, or hurting granny. Now that the reform bill has been signed by President Obama, it's time to set the record straight on how reform will really affect Medicare and its beneficiaries.
Imagine this: You've been a hard-working employee for years. Then, all of a sudden, your company goes under. Now you have to say goodbye to your salary-and your health insurance. It could happen to anyone. So what do you do now?
One option is to find a new job that provides health care benefits, but thanks to the recession, that's easier said than done. Another option is to find insurance through the private individual market-but as many Americans have found out, it's a jungle out there.
While most of the health reform debate has focused on expanding coverage, eliminating pre-existing conditions exclusions, or reducing costs, there are myriad ways that health reform will also improve the quality of your care. It will do this through rewarding quality of care over quantity, promoting better information-sharing, and investing in preventive care.
During my final weeks of college, I was too busy cramming for exams, writing endless papers, enjoying the spring weather, oh yes, and searching for a job to worry about my health insurance. But my parents were certainly worrying about it, and I should have been too.
No matter which side of the health reform debate you fall on, one thing is certain: premiums have been rising sharply, and hard-working American families are struggling to afford the high costs.
A 2009 Families USA study showed that from 2000-2009 health insurance premiums skyrocketed, while wages have remained at a standstill-causing a strain on family budgets.
Remember that song, I'm Just a Bill? I love that cartoon, but as I watched it recently, I realized that my friends at School House Rock left me hanging! Health care reform has been on my mind, and what better way to understand it then to take a stroll down memory lane with the same folks who taught me my multiplication tables and the basics of English grammar? Imagine my shock and horror when I realized that the cartoon ends with the New Law wearing a sash and ribbon, smiling as confetti rains down. The End.
The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new tracking poll yesterday that showed that while about half of Americans are confused about how the health reform law will affect them, when asked about specific provisions in the law that go into effect in the first year, an overwhelming majority supported them.
Many opponents said that the passed health reform legislation amounted to a "federal government takeover" of health care. That, like many of the myths we've heard for the past year, is false.
Most of the implementation work is now up to the states. According to Cindy Mann of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, "We're very clear we have to pass the baton to states."
Many Americans believe that Medicaid is available to all citizens with low incomes. The assumption is that anyone who is "poor" can qualify for the program. Unfortunately, it's just not that simple.
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.