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Robert Longley

House Passes Health Care Reform: The First Changes

By March 21, 2010

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With its passage Sunday night of the bills H.R. 3590 -- the Senate Health Care Reform Bill -- and H.R. 4872 -- the Reconciliation Act of 2010 -- the U.S House of Representatives cleared the way for final enactment of the most sweeping reform of the U.S. health care system since the creation of  Medicare in 1965. While the most impactful and controversial elements of the new law, like mandatory health insurance coverage, will not take effect until 2014, many people will see some important changes much sooner.

Small Business Tax Credits: Beginning in calendar year 2010, the bill offers tax credits to help more small business provide their employees with health insurance. Business that begin offering employee health coverage will be eligible tax credits of up to 35 percent of their total employee premium payments. Starting in 2014, the small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.

Closing the Medicare Part D "Donut Hole": Effective this year, Medicare beneficiaries who fall into the costly Part D prescription drug donut hole will get a $250 rebate. Starting in 2011, the bill institutes a 50-percent discount on brand-name drugs needed by seniors already in the donut hole, and by 2020 completely eliminates the hated donut hole.

Free Preventative Care Under Medicare: Starting January 1, 2011, co-payments for Medicare-covered preventative services will be eliminated. In addition, preventative services will be exempted from deductibles.

Help for Early Retirees: To survive the recession, many businesses have been offering their employees early retirement. To help them, the bill creates a temporary re-insurance program to to help businesses offset the costs related to health benefits for retirees age 55-64. The temporary re-insurance program will become effective 90 days after enactment of the bill and will last until the State Health Insurance Exchanges are available.

Insurance Rescissions Ended: Imagine paying your health insurance premiums for years, and the first time you get really sick, your insurance company drops your coverage. That's called "rescission" and 6 months after the health care reform bill is signed, insurance companies will be banned from doing it.

Immediate Help for the Uninsured: Until the Health Insurance Exchange is set up, the bill provides immediate access, through a temporary high-risk pool, to health insurance for Americans who have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. This benefit takes effect 90 days after final enactment of the bill.

Coverage for Kids With Pre-existing Conditions: Beginning 6 months after final enactment, the bill bans insurance companies from denying coverage for children with pre-existing medical conditions.

Extended Coverage for Your Adult Kids: Six months after final enactment of the bill, young people will - until their 26th birthday -- be allowed to retain coverage under their parent's health care insurance, at the parents' option.

More Doctors and Nurses: Effective immediately, the bill authorizes money to fund programs intended to increase the number of doctors, nurses, and public health professionals.

More Community Health Centers: Beginning this year, the bill authorizes increased funding for Community Health Centers. It is estimated that the increased funding will allow the Health Centers to double the number of patients they can treat over the next 5 years.

No More Lifetime Coverage Limits: Beginning 6 months after final enactment, the bill bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime coverage limits.

More Bang for Your Insurance Buck: Starting on January 1, 2011, insurance companies serving individuals and small groups will be required to prove that they are spending 80 percent of their customers' premium payments on medical services, rather than on things like advertising and executive salaries. Insurers in the large group market will have to spend 85 percent on medical services. Companies that do not meet the standards will have to rebate their customers.

Also See:
CBO Scores on Health Bill Counter Republican Objections (Liberal Politics)
The 'Self Executing Rule' and the Health Care Bill
That 'Reconciliation' Process in Congress

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Comments

March 21, 2010 at 11:58 pm
(1) Elizabeth says:

Thank you for this–hard to find this kind of clear-cut info. What is your source/what are your sources, though–simply the bill, itself?

March 22, 2010 at 12:48 am
(2) Jsonic says:

Um, you totally left out the mass abortions and geronticide, not to mention the imminent socialist Nazi threat in the form of an armed civilian force under the direct control of Comrade Obama. I definitely heard that stuff was in this bill. No?

March 22, 2010 at 7:39 am
(3) Robert Longley says:

Elizabeth: The information came from the bill. The Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872) is the bill that contains the entire health care reform package.

The bill can be read at:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.4872:

Robert

March 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm
(4) Sharon says:

Thank you so much for this information!

March 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(5) Debbie says:

Hi Robert – Can you give us some information about how this bill might, if it does, provide any relief to non-profits trying to offer health insurance to their employees? I get my insurance through a very small non-profit for which I do some part-time work. We’ve only got 5 people on our coverage, and our premiums have skyrocketed in the past few years. It’s frustrating because that means less money goes toward our programs and service to the community.

March 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm
(6) maseratiman says:

Your link to the health bill does not work. Guess you don’t want anyone to find out what is REALLY in the bill.

March 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm
(7) Fleetwest says:

Thanks for reading the 2700+ pages.

March 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm
(8) Allen says:

I have to agree with someone who said this is the mother of all tax and spend bills ever passed. Some focus on the few benefits provided in the bill but don’t understand the high price for those meager benefits. Perhaps the highest price that a country can pay: economic depression and becoming a second or third rate country.
The process for reforming health care was lead by a president whose understanding of the country is shown by the fact that he thought there were more than 57 states in the USA. Can you trust his knowledge??

Then his understanding of numbers was shown by the fact that he thought his new plan would lower insurance rates by “3000%!” Now, if they lowered our rates by 100% then our rates would be zero. Lowering the rates by 3000% made no sense. How can he be saying these things and not catch himself unless he is absolutely ignorant of what he is talking about? Can you trust his numbers?

March 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm
(9) amontef says:

Anyone wanting to read the bill, at the above link Robert kindly provided, must make sure the colon is at the very end. If you copy and paste, it works fine, but if you right-click and select open link in new tab it does not open it fully.

March 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm
(10) The One says:

Yes you can trust me. I am the Jedi mind trick President, and yes there are 57 states. Also theres are not the droids you are looking for.

March 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm
(11) The One says:

And I did not misspell any words in this or the last comment.

March 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(12) Paula says:

Thank you for posting this! It cleary summarizes the major pts of the bill! I will fwd this to my friends.
THANK YOU !

March 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm
(13) Brenda says:

Does this “health Care Bill” cover dental ?

March 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm
(14) The One says:

Yes. I command that Granny have teeth

March 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm
(15) The One says:

And I command that they cost 3000% less than before.

March 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm
(16) Rose says:

Does this mean retired public servants are no longer life-time recipients of free health insurance?
Anyone?

March 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(17) The One says:

I am the One AKA the tooth fairy

March 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm
(18) jim mcdermott says:

A question about the seniors $250. rebate.
Do all seniors on Medicare automaticly recieve this rebate? Or do they have to prove to the Gov’t that they have reached that $2.800. limit on drugs?
thank you for your help.

March 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm
(19) Ms.Young says:

This letter appeared in the Indianapolis Star (which is owned by the same people who own the Arizona Republic) and was sent to a very popular Indiana Senator. This just goes to show everyone what pressure these Democrats are currently under, so continue to let them know how you feel about the healthcare bill.
Bill Stough
Shock to NBC This morning.

An Indianapolis doctor’s letter to Sen. Bayh about the Bill (Note: Dr. Stephen E. Frazer, MD practices as an anesthesiologist in Indianapolis, IN).

Here is a letter I sent to Senator Bayh. Feel free to copy it and send it around to all other representatives. — Stephen Fraser

Senator Bayh,

As a practicing physician I have major concerns with the health care bill before Congress. I actually have read the bill and am shocked by the brazenness of the government’s proposed involvement in the patient-physician relationship. The very idea that the government will dictate and ration patient care is dangerous and certainly not helpful in designing a health care system that works for all. Every physician I work with agrees that we need to fix our health care system, but the proposed bills currently making their way through congress will be a disaster if passed.

I ask you respectfully and as a patriotic American to look at the following troubling lines that I have read in the bill. You cannot possibly believe that these proposals are in the best interests of the country and our fellow citizens.

Page 22 of the HC Bill: Mandates that the Govt. will audit books of all employers that self-insure!!

Page 30, Sec 123 of HC bill: THERE WILL BE A GOVT. COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get.

Page 29, lines 4-16 in the HC Bill: YOUR HEALTH CARE IS RATIONED!!!

Page 42 of HC Bill: The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC benefits for you. You have no choice!

Page 50, Section 152 in HC Bill: HC will be provided to ALL non-US citizens, illegal or otherwise.

Page 58 of HC Bill: Govt. will have real-time access to individuals’ finances & a ‘National ID Health card’ will be issued! (Papers please!)

Page 59, lines 21-24 HC Bill: Govt will have direct access to your bank accounts for elective funds transfer. (Time for more cash and carry)

Page 65, Sec 164 HC Bill: Is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in unions & community organizations: (ACORN).

Page 84, Sec 203 HC Bill: Govt. mandates ALL benefit packages for private HC plans in the ‘Exchange.’

Page 85, Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels for Plans –The Govt. will ration your health care!

Page 91, Lines 4-7 HC Bill: Govt mandates linguistic appropriate services. (Translation: illegal aliens)

Page 95, Lines 8-18 HC Bill: The Govt will use groups (i.e. ACORN & Americorps to sign up individuals for Govt. HC plan).

Page 85, Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels for Plans. (AARP members – your health care WILL be rationed!).

Page 102, Lines 12-18 HC Bill: Medicaid eligible individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. (No choice.)

Page 124, lines 24-25 HC Bill: No company can sue GOVT. on price fixing. No “judicial review” against Govt. monopoly.

Page 127, Lines 1-16 HC Bill: Doctors/American Medical Association – The Govt. will tell YOU what salary you can make.

Page 145, Line 15-17 HC Bill: An Employer MUST auto-enroll employees into public option plan. (NO choice!)

Page 126, Lines 22-25 HC Bill: Employers MUST pay for HC for part-time employees AND their families. (Employees shouldn’t get excited about this as employers will be forced to reduce its work force, benefits, and wages/salaries to cover such a huge expense.)

Page 149, Lines 16-24 HC Bill: ANY Employer with payroll 401k & above who does not provide public option will pay 8% tax on all payroll! (See the last comment in parenthesis.)

Page 150, Lines 9-13 HC Bill: A business with payroll between $251K & $401K who doesn’t provide public option will pay 2-6% tax on all payroll.

Page 167, Lines 18-23 HC Bill: ANY individual who doesn’t have acceptable HC according to Govt. will be taxed 2.5% of income.

Page 170, Lines 1-3 HC Bill: Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay.) (Like always)

Page 195 HC Bill: Officers & employees of the GOVT. HC Admin. will have access to ALL Americans’ finances and personal records. (I guess so they can ‘deduct’ their fees)

Page 203, Line 14-15 HC: “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.” (Yes, it really says that!) ( a ‘fee’ instead)
Page 239, Line 14-24 HC Bill: Govt. will reduce physician services for Medicaid Seniors. (Low-income and the poor are affected.)

Page 241, Line 6-8 HC Bill: Doctors: It doesn’t matter what specialty you have trained yourself in — you will all be paid the same!
(Just TRY to tell me that’s not Socialism!)

Page 253, Line 10-18 HC Bill: The Govt. sets the value of a doctor’s time, profession, judgment, etc. (Literally – the value of humans.)

Page 265, Sec 1131 HC Bill: The Govt. mandates and controls productivity for “private” HC industries.

Page 268, Sec 1141 HC Bill: The federal Govt. regulates the rental and purchase of power driven wheelchairs.

Page 272, SEC. 1145 HC Bill: TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS – Cancer patients – welcome to rationing!

Page 280, Sec 1151 HC Bill: The Govt. will penalize hospitals for whatever the Govt. deems preventable (i.e. re-admissions).

Page 298, Lines 9-11 HC Bill: Doctors: If you treat a patient during initial admission that results in a re-admission – the Govt. will penalize you.

Page 317, Line 13-20 HC Bill: PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. (The Govt. tells doctors what and how much they can own!)

Page 317, lines 21-25, & Page 318 lines 1-3 HC Bill: PROHIBITION on expansion. (The Govt. is mandating that hospitals cannot expand.)

Page 321, lines 2-13 HC Bill: Hospitals have the opportunity to apply for exception BUT community input is required. (Can you say ACORN?)

Page 335, lines 16-25 & Page 336-339 HC Bill: The Govt. mandates establishment of 2 outcome-based measures.. (HC the way they want -rationing.)

Page 341, Lines 3-9 HC Bill: The Govt has authority to disqualify Medicare Advance Plans, HMOs, etc. (Forcing people into the Govt. plan)

Page 354, Sec. 1177 HC Bill: The Govt. will RESTRICT enrollment of ‘special needs people!’ Unbelievable!

Page 379, Sec. 1191 HC Bill: The Govt creates more bureaucracy via a “Tele-Health Advisory Committee.” (Can you say HC by phone?)

Page 425, Lines 4-12 HC Bill: The Govt. mandates “Advance-Care Planning Consult.” (Think senior citizens end-of-life patients.)

Page 425, Lines 17-19 HC Bill: The Govt. will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. (And it’s mandatory!)

Page 425, Lines 22-25 & Page 426, Lines 1-3 HC Bill: The Govt. provides an “approved” list of end-of-life resources; guiding you in death. (Also called ‘assisted suicide.’) (Sounds like Soylent Green to me.)

Page 427, Lines 15-24 HC Bill: The Govt. mandates a program for orders on “end-of-life.” (The Govt. has a say in how your life ends!)

Page 429, Lines 1-9 HC Bill: An “advanced-care planning consultant” will be used frequently as a patient’s health deteriorates.

Page 429, Lines 10-12 HC Bill: An “advanced care consultation” may include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. (AN ORDER TO DIE FROM THE GOVERNMENT?!?)

Page 429, Lines 13-25 HC Bill: The GOVT. will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order. (I wouldn’t want to stand before God after getting paid for THAT job!)

Page 430, Lines 11-15 HC Bill: The Govt. will decide what level of treatment you will have at end-of-life! (Again – no choice!)

Page 469 HC Bill: Community-Based Home Medical Services = Non-Profit Organizations. (Hello? ACORN Medical Services here!?!)

Page 489, Sec 1308 HC Bill: The Govt. will cover marriage and family therapy. (Which means Govt. will insert itself into your marriage even)

Page 494 – 498 HC Bill: Govt. will cover Mental Health Services including defining, creating, and rationing those services.

Senator, I guarantee that I personally will do everything possible to inform patients and my fellow physicians about the dangers of the proposed bills you and your colleagues are debating.

IS THIS THE KIND OF HEALTH CARE WE WANT ?
IF YOU CAN GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT VOMITING, YOU HAVE
A STRONGER STOMACH THAN I .

March 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm
(20) aloha says:

And what did he say about a “Corpsman?”!!!!! DUH! KILL THIS BILL and start over using people with real intelligence AND who were actually born and raised in AMERICA – aka: US citizen and Patriot, ones who LOVE America and our FREEDOMS….

March 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm
(21) Tater Salad says:

——————————————————————————–

A nation in Hock and a Hand Basket:

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/03/20/david-frum-a-nation-in-hock.aspx

March 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm
(22) Dave In CO says:

to Rose(16)

Retired federal employees have the option of keeping their insurance plans after they retire. They will pay higher premiums because they lose the government’s portion. They are not “…life-time recipients of free health insurance” and never were.

March 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm
(23) Gradymusic says:

I for one am very happy you posted this info! Being an artist who has had no insurance for the past 5 years, I am happy for this much needed change. Better to spend money on healthcare reform than a senseless pricey war !

March 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm
(24) ann says:

Actually the link works just fine, when the page opens just click on his name at the top and it will take you to his page with the info!

March 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm
(25) Keri says:

It is gravely irresponsible for the people in Washington to sign a bill of this nature. We are at our highest deficits, job loss %, country out-cries and lowest consumer confidence ratings and lowest approval ratings. And to sign another bill full of earmark spending, outright spending will not help. As a country, we do not want to keep barrowing money from our enemies (China), but yet we still do. This is unacceptible.

As citizens we are are not allowed to conduct our personal affairs in this fashion. We are not allowed to spend more than what we can make. We are not allowed to write checks for more than what we have in the bank. To let our government get away with doing the same thing is purely wrong.

Call your Senator. We cannot afford this bill, and to support it, is merely burrying our children to the point of no digging out.

Pelosi needs to take an accounting class or two.

March 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm
(26) JEANIE says:

WHAT IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO GET INSURANCE ? MY HUSBAND IS OUT OF WORK, AND I AM ON DISABILITY?

March 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm
(27) melanie says:

Now is the time for quiet, hardworking citizens to speak up about our currupt, manipulating, arm-twisting government. I’m disgusted at Obama and Pelosi. Just disgusted. I am however very proud of the 30 Democrats that had the courage to vote against the bill. They are heroes, worth recognizing!

March 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm
(28) Jason says:

I will admit, I was not following this like I needed to be. I watched like 96 hours of basketball this weekend. But here is my question: I thought Scott Brown’s election in the Senate was going to keep Health Care from happening. What is going on there? The Senate passed this bill and then the House but didn’t the House make changes? So does it have to go back to the Senate or not? And why can’t the Senate filibuster it now that they have 41 members? Should have flipped on the news instead of all basketball, I knew it!

March 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm
(29) Charles says:

Wrong ! First changes will be the hidden taxes in this bill . Wait until the non readers and fan club party partisans feel the pain . Then if they wake up and look at the Christmas bulbs on this tree . of pig fat these people wrote in to the bill . Kick back , kick back heaven for ins , pharmaceuticals , and medical supply industry . They will also be lowering the standards in medical training and hospitals to make up for money problems . When they start showing up . I worked in health care 37 years and have watched it over and over . Why do you think the mental ill live in the streets now and cost 100 times more for health care .

March 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm
(30) Sandi says:

Thank you, Robert, for a thoughtful summary of facts. I VERY MUCH appreciate it, and will take my time looking through the bill as well. It’s too bad other commenters won’t do that for themselves and instead parrot political opinion rather than facts.

March 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm
(31) Robert Longley says:

Jason (28): The bill H.R. 3590 – the one they voted on first – the main reform bill – originated in the House and was extensively amended and passed by the Senate on Dec. 24, 2009. The House’s vote on Sunday was to pass the bill as amended by the Senate. The reconciliation bill will not be filibustered in the Senate because it will be considered under the rules that apply to reconciliation bills, which allow debate to be ended with only 51 votes, rather than 60. This effectively negated the effect of the election of Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Mass. I have an article explaining the reconciliation rule at:

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/reconciliation.htm

Robert

March 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm
(32) Robert Longley says:

Jeanie (26): The mandatory requirement to have health insurance does not take effect until 2014 and then there will be exemptions for very-low income individuals and families. There will also be government subsidies available for low-income individuals and families. Low-cost insurance will be available through the state Insurance Exchanges, which will be set up before the requirement takes effect.

Robert

March 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm
(33) Robert Longley says:

Debbie (5): The final health care package would provide a tax credit beginning in 2010 through 2013 for businesses and 501(c) organizations with less than 25 employees and average wages below $50,000. During those three years, the bill permits a credit for all eligible small employers that provide insurance for their employees, and beginning in 2014, credits are available to employers purchasing employee coverage through health insurance exchanges. Nonprofits could take a credit in the initial period of 25 percent of the employer contribution and 35 percent in subsequent years, and apply the credit to taxes they withhold from payroll. Employees would still receive full credit for taxes withheld from their pay. For businesses, the credit is 35 percent initially and 50 percent in the proceeding years. The different values of the credit reportedly relate to efforts at cost containment (the nonprofit provision costs $2.1 billion over 10 years) and to reflect the differences in the frequency and likelihood of paying taxes between for-profit and nonprofit employers.

Robert

March 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(34) Ron says:

The “D” does not stand for Democrat Party anymore it stands for Death Party or Demonic Party. The contempt that these so called Pro Life congressmen showed for their constituents is reprehensible. Those states shouldn’t wait for the next election. A recall should be started to remove these frauds from office. At the same time the states attorneys should start organizing a lawsuit against the federal government and a constitutional amendment forum against this death tax bill.

March 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm
(35) John says:

After you click on the link that Robert gave for the Healthcare Bill, click on “home.” That will take you to the page. It’s at the top of the page in “red.”

When you first click on the link that Robert gave, the web page comes up blank. The problem is with the server.

March 22, 2010 at 9:04 pm
(36) jack adams says:

Having lived under the universal health plan in the UK, where my son waited in agony for 12 hours with a broken leg to be attended to( by a nurse) which left him with a permanent limp, and a friend who died from a staff infection delivered by a nurse in a burka who was the “typhoid Mary” of East London who could not be required to wash since it would “violate” her rights as a Muslim, I think Americans are in for a big surprise when European style socialized medicine is implemented. If you like waiting at the Post Office to buy a stamp, just wait until the line is ten times longer while you wait to see if a family member, or you, can save your life.
Medicare was supposed to cost $10 billion according to the budget estimates when it was passed but the number was actually ten times that.
Obamacare will cost trillions more than the Congressional Budget Office estimated since Congress will never make the hard decisions in the future, just like the current Congress refused to make with this vote by pushing the hard decisions into the future.
It is the end of the best health care in the world, which millions of people travel to the US to buy. Including Canadians who spend billions to get the health care in the USA that they are denied in Canada. The same with all Europeans who travel to the USA to save their lives.

March 22, 2010 at 10:40 pm
(37) Stan says:

What this article DOES NOT say is that the bill requires the hiring of 16,000 new IRS agents, who will come to YOUR home with guns drawn to collect the money to pay for all of these new programs. If you don’t think they will, just try not paying the new taxes and see.

March 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm
(38) Sarah says:

I am horrified that this has come to pass by one portion of the government working without regard to the voices from the other side or from the constituents. We live in a country where we are guaranteed the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion among the many others. Why have we let our goverment shackle us to pay for the health care cost of others? Why is that not our choice? I have chosen to donate to charities. I have chosen to help friends in need and to volunteer my time for others. Why am I now being forced to work not for the betterment of my family in the house we selected because it was within our means, but rather to give more of my earned cash for others? I know that a portion of the country is in need of a helping hand, but I read people saying they are artists or work for small non-profits, etc. That is and was a choice– you went into those fields knowing that the benefits were not as great as they may be for a manager or for an engineer. Why do I now have to pay for that choice? And now that the census has come out to count heads at a residence– but does not make any requirements of proving the residents are citizens, the politicians in the districts of people we shouldn’t even have to pay for will remain in office. Say no to this, focus on putting money back in people’s pockets by creating confidence in the economy which would then create jobs, and then let’s talk about the right way to provide health care for those who need it and currently do not have it. You are not entitled to my earnings for work I do, and I resent that I am being forced to give it.

March 22, 2010 at 11:49 pm
(39) Tom says:

I’m surprised by all the false “Rush facts” that GOP supporters post here and I’ll bet that most (if not all) of them haven’t even read a sentence of the Bill, at least the ones that can read…
Thank you Robert, for your info and links to the Bill…
Maybe someday folks will understand how important this legislation is and realize that Healthcare shouldn’t be a priviledge only reserved for the wealthy but instead a right of every American…

March 23, 2010 at 12:45 am
(40) Linda says:

Robert, this post is invaluable and I can’t thank you enough for your summation of the bill in simple language.

Unfortunately, you are not getting the recognition you deserve from the commenters who sadly think they sound intelligent by parroting the latest falsehoods pedaled by Rush et al. Some people are not happy unless they’re up in arms and complaining about something. And many of these folks call themselves patriots.

A patriotic nation cares about all its citizens, not just “the haves.” The fact that millions of Americans will now have access to health insurance speaks to the ideals of “justice for all.” I for one am happy to shoulder increased expenses to see that others enjoy the same benefits that I do. What happened to the golden rule of doing unto others?

Health care reform was a tough road, but in the end, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

March 23, 2010 at 2:02 am
(41) The Patriot says:

What are you smoking. Common sense tells you that when you give away so much health care, some one needs to pay the piper!

Here’s what I plan to do until we can throw the bums out:
1. Cancel membership in AARP & Consumers Report for their Liberal support of a stupid bill!
2. Stop all contributions to hospitals, universities and medical research programs. Ask big hearted Obama for more money!
3. Work to rescind AARP’s tax exemption. Get Obama to give them money to stay in business. If they go on the dole, so be it…they need to get a real job and stop bilking the rest of us.
4. Throw the bums out in November. They need a real job too!
5. I’d Promote Obama Impeachment proceedings but then we’d end up with a bigger dope…Biden or Pelossi!
6. Buy a Ford or foreign car. Screw the unions, GM & Chrysler.
7. Support the GOP with $$$$.
8. Repeal Obamacare & support the state that are suing the Federal government because the bill is unconstitutional.
9. Keep an eye the Commie & Socialist groups like ACORN, Working Family Party & Moveon.org as they struggle to survive and make sure they go under also.

More to come over time.

PS to Tom:
I read both the House and Senate Bill and downloaded them to my PC. They are useless because they refer to other documents like the IRS where there are penalties called out for those who violate the new health bill. You will love having Big Brother checking you out and dipping directly into you bank account for penalty payments if you don’t carry enough coverage! Check it out big shot!

As usual, more proof that you are smoking something or drinking too much cool aid. You sound like one of those Libs who want some one else to pay for your largesse!

March 23, 2010 at 6:09 am
(42) Dyana says:

If the administration worked as hard on the economy and getting people back to work, this wouldn’t strike me as such a empty victory. I’ve always thought that health care was a right not a privledge. My concern is how do you justify health care for everyone when so many are watching their jobs, homes, and peace of mind slip away, and no one seems to care.

March 23, 2010 at 7:58 am
(43) Hettiemae says:

As the grandmother of a four year old boy who has Wiskott-Aldridge Disease, I am very happy the bill passed. My daughter-in-law, whose job provides the family health insurance because my son is self-employed, had been laid off twice in the last three years. I think because they find out about my grandson’s preexisting condition. Now, with the stress of having insurance eased for them, they can fully focus on the future for my grandson and his sister.

March 23, 2010 at 8:57 am
(44) mammahop says:

I can understand both sides of the fence to a degree–My brother was born clubfooted and cannot get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. This bill would help with his medical bills and prescriptions. However, I have carried health insurance ever since I graduated high school. Our family policy costs us $815 a month with a $4000 deductible.

I know this bill will help my brother, but will it help to get OUR cost down? It is pretty pathetic when your health insurance premium is twice the amount of your mortgage payment! We barely get by every month, but we are afraid that we would go bankrupt if some catastrophic illness hit us and we didn’t have insurance. We have not had any major illness since 1997 but our insurance has gone from $175 a month to $815 a month and the deductible has gone from $1500 to $4000.

Will this bill help close the gap between the have and have-nots? Maybe we are going about this the wrong way. Should we be lashing out at the insurance companies for letting the government think that they need to do something? How about making the insurance companies reimburse the amount of premiums that you don’t use. hehe

March 23, 2010 at 9:13 am
(45) usgovinfo says:

mammahop (44): I predict that it will take about a decade for the real, overall economic effects of this bill to become evident. The Medicare Act was passed in 1965 and only in the last 5 years or so have the true costs of Medicare become known. Social Security rocked along fine for decades and now look at it. And, to be sure, the insurance companies have helped make their own beds.

Robert

March 23, 2010 at 10:07 am
(46) Millie says:

Funding for education for new health care workers, and building more community health centers does not put health care workers in place TODAY. Physicians and other providers are already at their limits as to taking additional Medicare and Medicaid patients due to the low payments. And the government has already started to limit what physicians earn. Did you ever try telling a lawyer that he can only make so much a year?

March 23, 2010 at 11:45 am
(47) Winds says:

This bill is absolutely awesome! It’s about time the US joined the rest of the civilized world. All you doomsayers are just brain washed by the republican propaganda.

March 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm
(48) Natalie says:

Thanks Robert for you easy to understand synopsis of the health care bill. It explained so much that I didn’t understand before in a non-biased way. I also appreciate your ability to answer the commenters with relevant questions and ignore the people calling for impeachement and spouting general stupidity. Stay classy!

March 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm
(49) Elan says:

This is probably the only post on here that is different. I feel for all the people on here that gave stories on how they were denied health care and how the government take over of healthcare has given them hope. What know one has told you is that their were free market solutions already out their solving this. I have my healthcare through Renco Direct, it’s 11 years old and never denies for preexisting conditions, no lifetime or yearly caps, no procedure denials of any kind and only costs me $88 per month for my whole family, wife and 3 kids. The government doesn’t want you to know that their are good companies out there with a heart already fixing these problem before congress made them. Ha, there new slogan I saw on a email about the bill said that, Renco Direct .com doing the right thing before congress made us. You guys have no clue whats going to happen, I have a roomate that is MA and her doctor told her that they would probably close down now because most of his patients are medicaid etc. and because the government is reducing payment by 21% to “cut costs” it will put his practice upside down, he is the most respected doctor in our city and was asked by the president to sit on board of doctors for ideas on the bill, yet he will now go out of business as will thousands more doctors. Can you say Rationed!!!

March 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm
(50) Sammy says:

I felt that this was nicely done. A ‘must have’ list of very important items in a concise & well organized format and sequence.

March 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm
(51) Richard says:

This short article repeats some of the “candy” in the bill, which was certainly included for a mix of motivations; most obviously to provide talking points for those in favor of federalization of an entire industry.

One does have to read the bill in entire to realize it is about 99% poison…to the economy, to our health, and to our culture itself. Remember…the big print giveth and the small print taketh away. This bill is a perfect example.

March 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(52) Candice says:

I don’t know much about the bill. I do know that I’m glad something is being done. I live in Canada where I’ve never been denied a procedure. Some have to wait and we’re working on that ourselves. No one’s perfect. BUT if my child is sick, I take them to a doctor. I don’t have to mortgage my house to pay for treatments or surgeries. My husband needed eye surgery or he would go blind. Where would an American with no insurance be in that position? Either blind or broke. So please don’t slam what you don’t know (my healthcare system). I like my system and it breaks my heart when I hear about people not being able to afford treatments or even simple doctor’s visits because they can’t afford the horrible health insurance costs.

March 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm
(53) rICK says:

tHANS SO MUCH TO PRESIDENT oBAMA AND EVERY ONE THAT WORK ON THIS BILL AND GIVE A MERICAN WHAT THEY DESERVES , LIFE WILL BE MUCH EASIER , THIS WILL MAKE THE UNITES STATES A BETTER COUNTRY

March 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm
(54) RICK says:

I CANT BELIEVE HOW THE UNITED STATES BEEN CALLED A CHRISTAN NATION
WHEN I HEARD PEOPLES TALKING NEGATIVE ABOUT THIS REFORM , HEALTH IS A PRIVILEGE THAT EVERY BODY DESERVES,
LET GIVES PRESIDENT OBAMA ALL OUR SUPPORT , WE NEVER REGRET IT WHAT HE DID TODAY FOR AMERICAN PEOPLE

March 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm
(55) Wanda Bankson says:

Your “clear-cut explanations” are just regurgitations of the government line. I dread the real implementation of this bill–it is going to cost us all in taxes and in freedom. Who in the Senate can honestly say he or see has actually read and understood this bill before it was voted into law? I dare say very few could give an honest “yes” to that question.

March 23, 2010 at 8:08 pm
(56) Calvin says:

WHAT IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO GET INSURANCE ? MY HUSBAND IS OUT OF WORK, AND I AM ON DISABILITY?

You will be fined and possibly thrown into jail. However, if you pledge you undying oath to Obama, they may have mercy on you and let you die quickly.

March 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm
(57) Jim says:

Very few people are informed well enough yet to know the total effect of this health care bill. Much is said like it may be almost a sin and yet many will benefit and some will lose. Maybe that is fair. I know that I paid taxes that paid for representatives health care, illegal aliens health care, old people’s health care, criminals health care and yet couldn’t afford much needed health care for myself. All working people deserve a certain level of health care and only those who can afford the best should get it. I say let the public vote on every line of the health care package. If they don’t want to cover illegal aliens, then that should be law. Lets get the representatives out of the way and we can vote for everything.

March 23, 2010 at 9:54 pm
(58) Cali says:

For those of you interested in the truth, the above letter purporting to be sent to a Senator never actually was.
And most of the info in it is false.
To wit:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/jul/30/e-mail-analysis-health-bill-needs-check-/

I support a healthy debate on this topic, but spreading random spam emails full of untruths to bolster your own opinion I feel is pretty deceptive.

March 24, 2010 at 1:05 am
(59) Eva says:

If this were such a wonderful bill members of conress should be forced to have the same health care plan that we have! I appreciate you reading the bill Robert, as I have tried to get through the whole thing and it has been difficult. As wonderful as the things sound, there is a lot that is not good at all and the end result will be a government run health care system because the insurance companies will probably all be out of business in 5 years or less. They may have to insure everyone and can no longer drop anyone but at what cost? Some of these new laws don’t go into effect for 6 months. Remember what the banks did when Congress set new regulations for credit card fees and other charges? The banks had several months to raise rates and change things to minimize their loss of income. The insurance companies are going to have to make the money to pay for this and they will have to raise premiums. As far as I know there are no limits on what they can charge a person to insure them. If people can’t afford to pay the price they will start crying because they aren’t getting the free health care they or low cost care they were promised and that is when the government will have to step in and take over. Thus we will join the rest of the world with substandard health care and there will be no place for anyone to go anymore to have the great medical care we all enjoy now and people from other countries travel here to take advantage of. And yes the president is putting the IRS in charge of making sure everyone has an approved healthcare plan by hiring thousands of new agents to audit our tax forms. You will be noticing that question on your tax form in the very near future. If you don’t have insurance you will be fined. And who is going to pay for all this, we the people through higher taxes which go into effect immediately!

March 24, 2010 at 7:58 am
(60) Robert Longley says:

Calvin (56): Very-low income individuals and families will be exempted from the requirement. Instead, Medicare will be expanded to cover them, regardless of their age. Low-income individuals and families will be given tax subsidies to help them afford coverage. AND the bill specifically provides that no criminal charges will result from failure to pay the tax penalty. No arrests. In fact, people may choose to remain uninsured as long as they continue to pay the annual tax penalty.

Robert

March 24, 2010 at 9:35 am
(61) Dianne says:

It is the working class that need affordable health care. I have it through my job but the high co-pays are such that I still can’t afford the care I need. Also older people on Medicare/Medicaid still have to pay a monthly premium that is excessive considering their income and they also have co-pays. Health care should be a right for those who have worked and contributed to society and their families.

March 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm
(62) Rico says:

There is a dangerous level of stupid in the comments here :) .

This is what happens when college isn’t mandatory ;) .

March 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm
(63) Chris says:

Article I, Section 8, clause 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the “Power To lay and collect Taxes…”

The President and the Congress, through this bill, have willfully violated the U.S. Constitution. A major portion of the money used to help pay for this bill comes from the INTEREST, NOT TAX the government will EARN from the government takeover of student loans. This bill affects more than healthcare and causes one of the largest expansions of U.S. government in history. Realistically, this country has the best private healthcare system in the world. It is the insurance industry that must be fixed! I myself do not want the government deciding treatment procedures for myself or my family. I am a disabled veteran and I am REQUIRED to receive treatment for my service-connected disabilities at VA(government run) medical facilities. For procedures such as, ct scans, x-rays, ekg’s or eeg’s, I typically wait 3-4 months. For those of you who say this can’t be, ask a vet who uses the VA. The VA has made many attempts to fix or fine tune their current system, but the never seem to be able to get it right. If the government cannot efficiently run a relatively small system (compared to the one which must be maintained and regulated with the passing of this act), how can we expect it to run a system created by this bill. I’ll save the “TRAMPLING ON MY PERSONAL LIBERTIES SPEECH,” for another time.

March 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm
(64) Bev Giltner says:

I would think “preventative care” would be a top priority. If we are so worried about high fat and high salt content in our foods that would be preventative, yet the new law basically “punishes” the elderly who have a checkup every 6-months to ensure their medication levels are adequate. Not only is it not subject to co-pay, it’s not applied to your deductible. It seems they really do want the old to die sooner.

March 27, 2010 at 12:26 am
(65) Cosmetic dentist - Atlanta GA says:

Thanks to president obama ….

March 27, 2010 at 10:20 am
(66) Roy Bliven says:

I want to see a copy of the Health Care Reform Law as signed by President Obama. I asked to see a copy of the Senate Bill from Senator Bill Nelson, (D) FL, and never received any reply.
Is this new law a big, dark secret by the Obama administration? If not, get me a copy that I can read through the laws to see how it will effect me and my family!

March 27, 2010 at 10:35 am
(67) Robert Longley says:

Roy (66) and All: A copy of HR 3590 — the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” — as signed by President Obama and authenticated by the Government Printing Office — can be read at:

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/PDF/hr3590.pdf

Robert Longley

March 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm
(68) Ben says:

This article is a big load of propaganda.

And 46% of doctors said they will either leave the industry or retire early because of this bill.

This bill may have passed, but we’ll remember in November!

March 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(69) Tom Hardin says:

All you commentators have announced that business must “offer health insurance to employees”, or some such similar words.

It’s a meaningless comment unless you also say what the employee cost must be, or the deductible, etc.

If there is no employee co-pay, or deductible, then say so.

March 31, 2010 at 6:40 pm
(70) margaret stefanson says:

Reading the items in this article, one would suspect whoever is in control is attempting to close down insurance companies. I suggest all insurance companies close their doors at once, and let the government get started dealing with what they are asking for.

April 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm
(71) Kathleen says:

Robert, thanks for your hard work in sifting through these comments and taking the time to respond to those folks truly seeking amplification; I’m sure it’s a pain in the patoot to put the work into reading the bill, provide this synopsis, and then slog through comments in which folks who’ve not read the bill parrot misinformation.

April 5, 2010 at 10:52 am
(72) Maria says:

Robert Longley’s address is correct, you just have to click on Home and it will take you to it. Another way is to do The Library of Congress Thomas http://thomas.loc.gov/ there you will see the H.R. 4872: Reconciliation Act of 2010 click on it.

April 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(73) David says:

I think what the leaders of this country are doing is a total travisty. They give themselves raises whenever they want with no regard to the people of this country who put them there. When all of us are having a major problem even getting by without loosing our homes , or having utilities shut off because its either that or food on the table for our children.This country no the goverment of this country has ruined everything our parents and grandparents did to get this country on top by hard work and being honest, which is not whats going on in our goverment seats today.our goverment officials should be taking pay cuts and selling your personal jets ,your second or third home you keep to vacation too. cant you take a trip like everyone else in this country.My mother worked for 27 yrs to keep food on the table she walked to work because the car wouldnt start,my father put in 20 years on a police dept and 7 years in the airforce now there getting ready to loose there home because of every one of you in Washington , you give them stimulis money then turn around and tax them and take away there tax return money , real good guys you make me sick and every one of you should have your job taken away and put people in your seats that knows its the people of this country who keep you in office and you should not be taking advantage of them!

May 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(74) Kay says:

A person got up in our church a couple of weeks ago and made a statement that the health care bill requires that all Americans must be injected with an information chip as required by the health care bill. I do not believe it but have had a problem researching it. Can someone help me either prove or disprove it. I would like to be able to stand up in church and dispute the statement if it is not true.

May 10, 2010 at 7:47 pm
(75) Robert Longley says:

Kay (74) — It’s not true. Far out, but not true.

Robert

June 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm
(76) Leading Medication says:

think what the leaders of this country are doing is a total travisty. They give themselves raises whenever they want with no regard to the people of this country who put them there. When all of us are having a major problem even getting by without loosing our homes , or having utilities shut off because its either that or food on the table for our children.This country no the goverment of this country has ruined everything our parents and grandparents d

leadingmedication

August 4, 2010 at 9:35 am
(77) J-Ray says:

I love the majority of the comments on this thread. Most are common sense people that don’t wear rose colored glasses. It’s hard to believe how this bill was passed with the majority of American’s that are against it. I currently am un-employed and do not have heath care. I do not want this BS…

@ Rick comment #53 and 54 The key word is American people. Not all the anchor babies born here or the illegal’s crossing the boarder.

October 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm
(78) Trixye Rich says:

I would like to have a copy of page 170 of the recently passed healthcare Bill…thank you…Trixye

October 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm
(79) Jeanne Gomer RN says:

I have read a good portion of this bill and agree there are a lot of things that I don’t really like BUT if any of you were around in 1965 when Medicare was first inacted you would know it was terrible,. Over the years it has been fine tuned and at age 67 and really glad to have. We are about the only country in the world even Cuba! provides healthcare for all.
If you want to talk about the cost lets stop and look at what who are already paying health care for,
Our tax dollars pay for healthcare for our Federal elected official, ie Congress. ( NOt to mention the healthy retirement we probived them in or out of jail.
We provide health care to Seniors, via Medicare, We provide Medicare for disabled, We subsidized state Medicaid programs, lowest income individuals, taxes pay for active duty military & for retired military health care We pay for Vetrans who qualify for services at different levels.
We subsidize health care for all Federal workers for the emplorer share. If you put all of this together I think the new health care cost would seem like a drop in the bucket. A lot of people may not be aware of how our health care is determine now. There are codes that are required by our health care providers to bill our insurance. If they are not done properly your insurance will not pay. The utilizaiton rules determine how many days you can stay in the hospital or care center post hospital, if you can have home care what and how many assistive devices you can have. All the insurance providers have formularies for you medications which determine what they will pay for and how much. The government and insurnace companies determine your healtcare via a coding system that determines what we can and can not have from rx to hospital stays and equipment. read up on ICD-codes

May 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm
(80) Get Rid Of Stretchmarks says:

Great post. Just a heads up – I am running Arch Linux with the Opera beta and your blog’s comments is kinda broken for me.

April 11, 2012 at 4:18 pm
(81) joe baran says:

I do not understand the comments made by Dr. Stephen E. Frazer in #19 above. First of all he refers to “HC Bill” What bill by specific name or specific bill number is he referring to? Also most of his referral to section numbers are only 3 digits long. In H.R. 3590 as well as the Patient Protection and Afforable Act, the sexction numbers are mostly 4 digits long. Can someone please clarify the situation.. Thank you.

September 4, 2012 at 1:51 am
(82) Clint says:

Tom (39)
You need to read more about the bill before you spout off about other people not reading the bill. The first time you do something wrong according to this bill and the govt goes into your checking account and pulls out the fine without you giving them permission you just may not have enough money to pay your next mortgage pymt or your next insurance premium. Health care is for those that can afford it not illegals that come to this country to collect our American dollars and send them back to their home country. Since you want to give everyone health care. WOULD YOU PAY MY SHARE TOO??????

September 4, 2012 at 1:52 am
(83) Clint says:

Thank you Robert for your comments and all the work you put into the explanation of this ridiculous bill.

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