9 Pros and Cons of the New Health-Care Reform Bill

What are the pros and cons of the new health-care reform bill that House Democrats approved yesterday? The bill is 2,000 pages long, and full of lawyer-speak. Most pros and cons are based on partisan opinion. Still, there are some changes in the bill with more objective elements. Here are nine aspects that will help and hurt consumers and the economy.

Pros

More coverage.
Coverage will expand to cover nearly 95 percent of legal U.S. residents. With a recent study showing that patients without health insurance have a shorter life span, coupled with the number of uninsured approaching 50 million in 2010, that is perhaps the biggest reason to cheer. (Kevin Pho, MD via CNN). Plus, preventative care will be free.

A more competitive insurance industry.
Increased regulation will stop insurance companies from rigging prices–that recent 40% insurance premium increase in California comes to mind. Competition with newly formed public entities will ideally make the entire industry more competitive. Also, insurance companies are now required to post their balance sheets, executive compensation, and administrative costs online.

Insurance companies will have to accept everyone.
No more pre-existing condition exclusions. They can’t place limits on coverage anymore, either.

Cheaper prescriptions for seniors.
Closing the “donut hole” means cheaper prescription drugs for seniors.

It’s reform.
We need reform. We’re in a situation where healthcare is even becoming unaffordable to employers, leaving employees with higher out-of-pocket expenses even if they are ensured. Healthcare costs have jettisoned innumerable people from the middle class. People get sick and die because insurers won’t take them. This isn’t functional. Any kind of reform helps.

Cons

Cuts in Medicare.
The elderly on Medicare will see their benefits changed dramatically. The biggest item being used to pay for the new program is more than $500 billion in cuts to the Medicare program at a time when 72 million baby boomers become eligible for it in the next decade. The second biggest move to pay for this is by raising and expanding the Medicare tax. (Ed Rollins via CNN)

Costs. Any way you slice it, adding another $940 billion to the deficit is not a good thing for the US economy. Yes, the Congressional Budget Office said that healthcare would actually reduce the budget deficit, but nobody really knows what will happen.

No new incentives for primary care physicians. Physicians are increasingly turning to specialties as a way to pay off expensive medical school debt and make more money. This means more workload and burnout for primary care physicians, who get no bureaucratic relief under the current reform bill. That also means longer wait times, more obstacles, and potentially higher specialist costs for consumers.

More taxes. The government has to pay for healthcare reform somehow. Taxing businesses is a big strategy. For example, medical device makers will see a new 2.9% excise tax. Families earning more than $250,000/year will have to pay higher Medicare taxes. Also, this isn’t a tax, but employers will be fined $3,000 per employee if they don’t provide affordable medical coverage.

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Comments

  1. Mike's Gravatar Comment by Mike on March 23rd, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Competition with newly formed public entities will ideally make the entire industry more competitive.

    How do the introduction of ‘public entities’ increase competition? The gov’t has an unfair advantage anytime they enter a market. They have deeper pockets and can run a deficit.

    Also, Stossel corrects some misinformation about ‘the lack of competition’.

  2. Zack's Gravatar Comment by Zack on April 7th, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Private and Parochial schools have been competing with public schools for as long as I can remember. These schools have to show that they’re worth paying for or they don’t get customers.
    The health care industry, on the other hand, doesn’t have government competition. Its more along the lines of ‘you pay us outrageous amounts of money or you die.’And even if you do that, they still look for ways to hose you.
    Bear in mind that from 2000 to 2006, health care premiums have increased 87% compared to overall inflation (an increase of 3.5%) and wages (3.8%). A ‘Public Entity’ would help keep costs from skyrocketing.
    Of course, we as taxpayers would probably have to foot the bill for this ‘public entity’.
    In short, it would help focus the industry on something it seems to have forgotten about… The customers.

  3. Mike's Gravatar Comment by Mike on April 14th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    @Zach – But nobody’s arguing about the quality of education at private/parochial schools – it’s the gov’t-run public schools that are ‘failing’.
    A public entity would certainly cause costs to head upward- maybe not if gov’t mandates premium levels, but certainly in taxes, more restrictions on companies which decreases ingenuity and R&D, and myriad other ways. When gov’t grows, they do so by taking away from the private sector.

    Instead, how about opening up interstate competition to increase competition among HC companies. Or moving more control from the HR dept to individuals could cause people to fight for lower costs. There are (were?) still other options besides having the gov’t get involved this way.

  4. Ryan's Gravatar Comment by Ryan on April 15th, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    @Mike -
    I see your concerns, and to be honest I’m not sure this bill does the best job, but you forget that similarly to Public vs Private Schools, Public vs Private Healthcare will not show the Public option as attempting to steal subscribers as other Private Healthcare companies do. It is attempting to set the bar at a level reachable by the millions of people who are not eligible for many different reasons.

    For example, single citizens (or even couples without children) can often not afford healthcare because they can not meet the prices that competition has raised to extraordinary levels. The Health Insurance industry has realized that they do not need every citizen enrolled- just those that can pay well, and premiums have skyrocketed across the board with inflation and other issues.

    Again, it isn’t the Gov’ts plan to run these insurance companies out of business- just to make healthcare attainable, and if the healthcare industry choses to not provide a service that saves life because they wish to keep their profit margins then yes, they will die.

    Again, all of my thoughts, and yours are conjecture and we will have to see how this plays out.

    One point I did not understand in your post was what you meant by moving control from the HR(?) department to individuals as lowering costs… Maybe I just missed something there.

  5. Mike's Gravatar Comment by Mike on April 16th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    @Ryan – I respectfully disagree on several points.
    First, I assume you misspoke – it’s certainly not competition that has raised premiums/prices. That sounds more like a price fixing or collusion. And it seems to be a straw man argument to blame the ‘evil’ HC industry.

    Also, the ‘HR’ was for Human Resources – consumers currently pay less than 12% of their HC expenses out of pocket, the rest is covered by employer-paid insurance (thus, the HR) and medicare.

    A truly competitive free market doesn’t function in this scenario – millions of individuals making their own choices would be more effective in managing costs than a 3rd party like a government bureaucrat or your employer.
    For example, see Mitch Daniel’s NYT op-ed -here.
    Also look at NRP’s report on how Medicare started and what that meant for HC industry costs -here,/a>.

  6. Jeffrey Williamson's Gravatar Comment by Jeffrey Williamson on April 21st, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I will support Health Care Reform due to what is stated below.

    Individuals or politicians commonly use the constitution as their ethical resource when debating the Health Care Reform bill. Due to what I’m about to share with you, consider the ethics of the individuals stated above.

    Health Care Reform has been an argument in this nation for approximately a century. Therefore, I trust the following will get your attention for it concerns an insurance company that was founded over a century ago by a member of the Moody Family. The American National Insurance company was my employer to include insurer from 1999 to 2006. During 2004 I suffered an intra cranial hemorrhage, seizure, and stroke that first became apparent on Sunday May 23, 2004 when I collapsed while jogging on the beach. I was immediately hospitalized at UTMB. Within approximately 12 hours, a craniotomy was performed on my skull to keep me alive. Comas, rehabilitation, to include reoccurring seizures and impairments for the past 6 years I have endured since almost loosing my life on that day.

    Over the past 6 years ANICO has been stating to me, it’s fellow departments, the Social Security Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and/or the Court House in downtown Houston that on May 24 2004, I requested a medical leave of absence and it was approved. So basically my employer to include insurer has been stating for the past 6 years that I requested a medical leave of absence when I could not mentally or physically request anything and some how they approved it. Please be advised, that when ANICO filed it’s motion for summary judgment in the Disability Discrimination case that I filed, my direct supervisor approximately 5 – 6 years after my craniotomy, decided to change his affidavit after he retired as a President of ANICO. The Honorable Melinda Harmon in the Southern District of Texas Houston Division then found it necessary to dismiss civil action H-07-3776 (my case of disability discrimination).

    Due to what you have just heard in this presentation, include the following as a need for Health Care Reform. I was not just a health and life insurance policyholder with ANICO throughout my employment. I also paid for health insurance policies for my children. How significant do you find it, that the highest priority of my job throughout my employment with ANICO, was to code, create, edit, and store health insurance policies that ANICO sells throughout this nation. I created the format, every letter, every word, and every statement in the health insurance policies that policyholders have or had in their possession to this day. Therefore I did not just represent ANICO, I also represented approximately millions of ANICO policyholders throughout this nation. If ANICO has the ability to do that to me as an employee to include policyholder, what can they possibly do to you as a policyholder. Do you not agree Health Care Reform is an issue our politicians should have addressed a long time ago?

    Republicans, since you continue to argue Health Care Reform, and due to the fact that your understanding of ethics has an impact on this entire nation, consider the following. Put yourself in my shoes. Suffer a craniotomy where you can’t request anything from me, although I’m going to state you did, to you, to the court house, to include multiple departments associated to this government, for I’m your employer to include insurer. Continue to work for approximately 20 months while suffering reoccurring seizures and impairments, but don’t forget the highest priority of your job is to code health insurance policies that I sell throughout this nation. When I terminate you, the social security administration is going to find you fully disabled in approximately 4 months. As you continue to suffer reoccurring seizures and impairments, you are going to have to file a lawsuit against me yourself, for there is no lawyer in Houston Texas that will represent you. If you make it, since I was your employer to include insurer, I’m going to change my affidavits when I file a motion for summary judgment to the honorable judge. In other words, before we go to trial the judge is going to become aware, that you did not request a medical leave of absence, which really doesn’t matter for in today’s judicial system in relation to the insurance industry you’re dismissed!

    Republicans, due to being an honorably discharged corporal of the guard in the United States Marine Corps for a platoon overseas, I believe you understand that one of my highest priorities, concerned the lives of every member of my team. Therefore, I’m going to ask you one final question, relating to your performance in your profession. What is the value of ethics, in regards to your communication with society? As you contemplate, perhaps the following 3 issues will help you respond. First, how many times during the Health Care Reform debate did you refer to children or grandchildren of united states citizens, having to bear the burden so to speak, in regards to Health Care Reform? Republicans, Health Care Reform has been a debate for approximately a century. Relate that period of time to your date of birth. In other words Republicans, you are the children or grandchildren, yet you continue to manipulate society. Second, during the Health Care Reform debate you have constantly referred to the 2000 pages associated to the Health Care Reform bill. There are approximately 5 – 10 thousand pages associated to my case. Relate those pages to the 2000 pages of the Health Care Reform bill. Third, you commonly state the effect Health Care Reform is going to have on the economy. Then, tell me, how many tens to hundreds of millions of citizens in this nation do you relate to Moodyeconomy.com?

    As the pro se litigant in my case, in other words as representing myself, the Defendant found it necessary to provide 3 attorneys to argue my claims. One of those attorneys was the senior of Greer, Herz & Adams, whom happened to be the judicial law clerk for the Honorable Hugh Gibson in Downtown Houston prior to my case.

    If for any reasons this presentation does not help you support Health Care Reform, I’ll provide you another piece of this case. ANICO has approximately 5 million policyholders throughout this nation to include approximately 18.5 billion in assets. My direct supervisor whom decided to change his affidavit after he retired as a president of ANICO also chose to terminated one other employee the exact day he terminated me. This particular employee of ANICO was suffering from cancer. Within a matter of months after we were terminated by ANICO he died.

    I encourage a discussion with any individual in this nation concerning Health Care Reform from this day forward – for of the 3 particular types of parties I just stated – they are all sworn in to this nation. Politicians, attorneys, and veterans, whom of course put their lives on the line for every single one of you every day. I believe you can understand why I will support Health Care Reform till the day I fall. Feel free to contact me at your convenience to either windandwater2010@live.com or 3804 Brandt St. #16, Houston Texas 77006.

    Ladies & Gentlemen – thank you for your time – - – - – - stay healthy!!!

    Please note: Prior to filing my case of disability discrimination I provided a presentation throughout this nation in 2007, which included the news, talk shows, and medial as you can see below. The numbers on the right – represent the article number found on each green card – for each presentation was certified to each recipient. If you possibly doubt what I just stated to you – you can track every single one of them – verify the date and address and see what you find.

    NEWS – TALK SHOWS – MEDIA

    ABC NEWS (7007/0220/0001/4296/0891)
    NBC UNIVERSAL (7006/3450/0003/3758/2687)
    CBS TELEVISION (7006/3450/0003/3758/2748)
    THE VIEW BARBARA WALTERS (7006/3450/0003/3757/4385)
    GOOD MORNING AMERICA (7007/0220/0001/4296/0488)
    WALL STREET JOURNAL (7006/3450/0003/3757/3173)
    60 MINUTES (7006/3450/0003/3758/2748)
    LARRY KING (7007/0220/0001/4296/0099)
    DR. PHIL SHOW (7006/3450/0003/3758/2670)
    REGIS & KELLY (7007/0220/0001/4296/0464)
    CONAN O’BRIEN (7006/3450/0003/3758/2700)
    OPRAH WINFREY (7007/0220/0001/4296/0136)
    FACE THE NATION (7006/3450/0003/3758/2632)
    ELLEN DEGENERES (7007/0220/0001/4296/0884)
    DAVID LETTERMAN (7007/0220/0001/4296/0471)
    BLOOMBERG PRESS (7006/3450/0003/3758/2663)
    LOS ANGELES TIMES (7006/3450/0003/3757/3142)
    JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (7007/0220/0001/4296/0112)
    THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW (7006/3450/0003/3757/2694)
    HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL (7006/3450/0003/3757/3159)
    THE MONTEL WILLIAMS SHOW (7007/0220/0001/4296/0082)

    You know, of all recipients of the presentation – only 1 party – for whatever reasons undetermined at this time – found it necessary to forward the presentation through the united states postal service – to AIG claims – prior the 182 billion dollar bail out – from the united states government. For your information, A.I.G is an associate of ANICO. A.I.G. (7006/3450/0003/3758/2779)

    In regards to states attorney’s filing suit against Health Care Reform – be advised that Greg Abbott also received this presentation during 2007. Therefore he received the presentation 2 – 3 years prior to my case being dismissed.
    Greg Abbot (7006/3450/0003/3757/3135)

    Any recipient of the presentation(s), as stated above, will have to contact me prior to receiving my full consent.

    Thank you for your time,
    Jeffrey Alan Williamson

  7. dave's Gravatar Comment by dave on July 16th, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Thank you for providing this pros and cons article and also thank you Jeff for the great insight provided above. Only one quote comes to mind at this time. “Her life is in your hands, Dude. Her life is in your hands.” – Brandt in ‘The Big Lebowski’

  8. Michelle's Gravatar Comment by Michelle on October 30th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Wow, I just got over Gallbladder surgery delema with out health insurance. It was terifying! It was only through Gods blessing of special people being put in my path that I was able to get the surgery I needed. My family is like many others, struggling to keep moving forward through this devastating economy. We still cannot aford health insurance yet, and the worst fear came to life. I had an emergency without insurance! YES we do need reform. Yes its going to be hard. Yes it will cost. I dont agree with all the “cons” of the Medical bill, but I hope its a start in correcting a long standing corupt discusting problem, THE HEALTH CARE WHORE! Both republicans and democrats are responcible for the system being broken and poor! Realistically this Reform Bill wont be close to finding any sort of balance through modification for 5 to 10 years. And Thats being opptomistic! Very! But thats me.
    Michelle

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