Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Will Congress Repeal Health Care Reform?

Today I am putting up a guest post from Barbara O'Brien whose main blog is The Mahablog.  A little while back Barbara contacted me and asked if I would allow her to guest post on this blog and after  bit of toing and froing, mainly because I didn't really see what benefit there was to her in publishing an American Health story on an Aussie Blog, she sent through the article below for me.

Here is what she wrote to me -

My name is Barbara O’ Brien and my blogging at The Mahablog, Crooks and Liars, AlterNet, and elsewhere on the progressive political and health blogophere has earned me the notoriety of being a panelist at the Yearly Kos Convention and a featured guest blogger at the Take Back America Conference in Washington, DC.
I’m contacting you because I found your blog in a health care site search and wanted to reach out to you to tell you about my newest blogging platform —the public concern of healthcare and its relationto the baby boomer and those over the age of 40.
My main goal is to increase awareness on these important issues, and Iwas hoping you could help me. I am interested in providing you a guest post to be placed, but I realize this may not be a viable option. I am also willing to inquire about link opportunities. I hope to hear back from you soon.


Barbara O’ Brien
Barbaraobrien (at) maacenter.org

Now in my lifetime I have voted for all main political parties in this country, except the Greens [and don't get me started on that bunch of fairies at the bottom of the garden], but as I've gotten older I've probably tended more towards the slight right of centre, mainly because I believe that they are better economic managers.  However, there are two areas where I am probably a bit more of a socialist and that is in the areas of Education and Health Care.   People, in our society have fundamentals rights to a good education, good health care and I'll throw in the right to feel safe and secure as well.

I believe that we in Australia are generally in pretty good shape from a health care viewpoint when compared to others.   Sure we have problems with waiting lists, and ambulance delays and shortages of beds, but most times, people who get sick and need help can get it.   And that is why I've agreed to put up this post by Barbara - from what I know of the American system, it sucks, and whilst we have political interference in health care reform in my country, it pales into insignificance, compared to what appears to be happening in the States.  I make no judgement on whether Barbara is right or wrong here and would be really interested in any comments, you as readers care to make.

So here is Barbara's post.

Will Congress Repeal Health Care Reform?

As soon as Republicans knew they had won a majority of House seats in the midterm elections, GOP leaders vowed to repeal health care reform. Can they do this? And should they?

Frankly, chances that the health care reform bill could be repealed completely are remote, especially since such repeal would have to override President Obama's veto, and the Senate still has a Democratic majority.

House Republicans say they have some tricks up their sleeves, such as refusing to provide funds in the budget to implement health care reform. However, provisions of the law that will expand Medicaid and help subsidize private insurance won't kick in until 2014. Until then, there's not much the House can do to the budget to stop health care reform from going forward, short of defunding the entire Health and Human Services department.

Another "trick" might be to dismantle the bill piece by piece. One provision that many people want to remove is the individual mandate, which will require most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty. This provision also kicks in in 2014, and it's one that Baby Boomers in particular will want to fight to keep.

Here's why: Beginning in 2014, private insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse to insure someone because of a pre-existing condition. But without an individual mandate, there will be no incentive for younger and healthier people to purchase health insurance until the time comes when they need it. This means those left in the insurance "risk pool" will be older, and that drives up the cost of insurance.

By the time we reach 50, nearly all of us have "pre-existing conditions." Some of our conditions are common, and some are not -- mesothelioma, for example, is rarely diagnosed in patients younger than 50. And without Medicare or other good insurance, mesothelioma treatment would be financially devastating.

But without the individual mandate requiring that healthier people share in the cost of insuring all of us, the health insurance premium bills for people aged 50 to 65 will be ruinous. We can scrap health care reform entirely, of course, but keep in mind that if you lose your insurance before you reach Medicare age you may not be able to purchase insurance at all, at any price, if you have a pre-existing condition.


Andrew said...

I am not very well informed about the changes to US health care. I thought Obama was going down the road of free health care for all who needed it, like Canada, Europe, England, Australia etc. Subsidised private insurance indeed!!!

That someone needs money to be treated for mesothelioma is extraordinary.

Signed, fairy at the bottom of the garden.

Loz said...

No offence meant Andrew :)

The great thing here is that we are all able to have and express our own opinions and that is way better than the alternative. BTW in the 70's I did vote informal because I wrote "No Dams" on my ballot paper. :)

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