Friday, July 6, 2012

   Making sense of “Obama care”

Photos this week are of American citizens in their normal lives, taken different places in the U.S.
49.9 million -- The number of uninsured Americans in 2010! 

That's 16.3% of the total U.S. population.  Its hard to grasp this number, but many of us know at least one person who lost their job during the recession, and also lost their health insurance.  This means that in any health crisis the only recourse open to such people is to go though the endless lines and uncertain care that they receive in country hospitals...or they can show up at the emergency room of a hospital and hope for whatever care they can get. Through no fault of their own, there were almost 50 million people in on the brink of personal disaster.

Street workmen
How did we compare with other countries before the new law?  if you study these numbers, they should raise some questions in your mind...
Comparison of Cost, and Results from Health Care Systems in 4 countries
Restaurant - Smithsonian museum
What does the “Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act” (“ObamaCare”) offer:  
       a) Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you    receive. 
      b)  They can no longer discriminate against individuals with preexisting conditions.
       c)  They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. 
d)   They can no longer raise your premiums without reason.

e)   They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms.   54 million Americans with private insurance already receive this.

f)     And by this August, nearly 13 million Americans will receive a rebate from our  insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.

g)   Young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent’s health care plans.  This is currently in place and helping 6 million young Americans.

h)   Americans over 65 receive a discount on their prescription drugs.  Already more than 5 million seniors on Medicare have received about $600 each.
Watching a parade
Contrary to what you may hear from some politicians, this is in not a general government imposed tax. . If you have health insurance already, you keep your health insurance, and you don’t pay any penalty. If you don’t have health insurance, and cannot afford it, then you will receive tax credits to make health care more affordable for you.
If someone chooses to not plan ahead, if they use the hospital emergency room when they need medical care using it like a doctor’s office, and if that person can afford healthcare but chooses not to take it – this person must pay a penalty. They are still free to not have health insurance and stick the rest of us with the bill for their health care when they need it.  Under the new law they will be required to pay a penalty of about $600 per year or 2% of their income whichever is greater

Students protesting for a Clean Water Bill
The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research center that focuses on economic and social policy, found that if the law had been implemented last year:
·      *  93 percent of the population under age 65 would not have had any penalty or had to buy      insurance under the new law. 
·      * About 2 percent of the total population would not receive any financial help and could face penalties for lacking coverage.  There are the only Americans facing the increased fees! ( and it is by their choice to do so.) 

Bus riders - Arizona

It is ironic that when Gov. Romney passed a very similar health insurance law in Massachusetts, he required the same provision – only they called it by different labels. If elected president, Romney’s proposed medical plan is practically identical to the current Obama plan but he is presenting it with different labels.  Semantics is important when you are running for office!

Romney’s Massachusetts plan was a conservative idea born out of the Heritage Foundation (a conservative "think tank") . It was based on the principle that each person should be responsible for his or herself. Now Republicans, are opposing a the very similar Obama plan; in effect advocating against personal responsibility.  They differ in how they would pay for their plans, when and how it would be implemented - in these areas Mr. Romney has been consistsently vague...

Putting up a tent
Some states are considering not accepting their portion of government funds to implement the program. For them to do so would be unconscionable because it is playing  politics at the expect of the well being and lives of the people in that state!  Rejecting the money would be financially unpopular as well, because the law provides great benefits for the states,  especially the red states with the least Medicaid coverage.  Also when the people of a state have better health they are more productive, pay more taxes, and cost the state less in services..Read more here: .

·     * Under the new law, the federal government would pay 90% of the costs (100% in the first three years)
·      *Example: South Carolina. Nineteen percent of the state’s residents were uninsured before the new law.  Medicaid expansion in the new law would cut South Carolina’s uninsured rate among eligible adults by 56.4 percent.  The cost of that for the federal government between 2014 and 2019? Almost $11 billion. For South Carolina? Less than $500 million.”

     What a deal!

Bicycle Race - Portland Or.

How does the cost of the new medical plan compare with other federally funded projects?  


Tourists on a hot day
When asked about the effect of the medical plan on the long term nation’s budget deficit,  Federal Budget director Peter Orszag  responded that  the “CBO (Congressional Budgeting Office ) estimates that the Act will reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next ten years and more than $1 trillion in the ten years after that. That’s more deficit reduction than has been enacted in over a decade,” Orszag wrote.

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Getting ready for a tour of the Capital