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.
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.
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."
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.