March 22nd, 2014 – Last night members of Congress voted 219-212 to pass the Senate’s Health Reform bill. No Republicans voted for the historic bill and 34 Democrats voted against it. After approving the bill, the House passed a package of changes to the Senate’s bill.
Democrats in the Senate will pass the bill using a parliamentary process called reconciliation so they can approve it with a simple majority vote. President Obama plans to sign the bill into law tomorrow. Then the Senate can begin debate on the package of changes approved by the House last night.
The bill is expected to help 32 million uninsured Americans get health insurance. The big winners in the health reform bill are hospitals, doctors and manufacturers of brand name prescription drugs who will gain access to a larger group of paying customers while giving few concessions for cost controls. Losers for the new bill include health insurance companies and generic drug makers.
Critics of the bill say lament its nearly $1 trillion price tag and that it does not do enough to control costs from health care providers and the pharmaceutical drug makers that are blamed for skyrocketing health insurance premiums.
How and When Health Reform Effects You
Changes That Go Into Effect Six Months After Bill is Signed Into Law
- Insurance companies can not cancel policies because someone became sick
- Elimination of caps on new health insurance policies
- Children can stay on parent’s health insurance policies until their 26th birthday
- New health insurance plans required to cover full costs of specified preventative care (required by all existing plans in 2018)
- Insurers are barred from denying health insurance to children with pre-existing conditions
- A $250 rebate for Medicare Part D policy holders with claims in the “doughnut hole.” The doughnut hole is to be closed by 2020
- A new high risk pool will be introduced to help people that are declined health insurance due to their health
- Government ombudsman to aid patients in getting reimbursed for contested medical bills
Change that Go Into Effect in 2011
- Insurers are required to spend 80% of premium dollars on patient care
Change that Go Into Effect in 2013
- Individuals earning over $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay several thousand dollars more in Medicare taxes than they do today
Changes that Go Into Effect in 2014
- Insurers required to cover adults regardless of pre-existing conditions
- Individuals required to carry health insurance or be subject to a fine
- Family of four with earning of $88,000 or less will be eligible for tax credits on a sliding scale to help them pay health insurance premiums and deductibles.
- You can keep your existing health insurance plan, but new (and likely more costly) plans can also be purchased through state run health insurance exchanges
For small businesses with under 50 employees the health insurance reform bill will have little impact on your business. Businesses with 50 or more employees will either have to provide health insurance to employees or face a myriad of “what if” scenarios to understand the impact their bottom line.
The bill will expand the Medicaid insurance program for Americans making less than 133 percent of the federal poverty line, which is $14,404 for an individual or $29,327 for a family of four. The Health Reform Bill also has the federal government spending nearly $500 billion in subsidies over the next decade to help millions of low and moderate income Americans buy health insurance though an exchange, apparently after 2014.
President Obama plans to go on a road trip to try and improve the public’s perception of this bill in an effort to try and win over the majority of Americans that were opposed to the Democrat’s health bill.
Colorado, what do you think of the new Health Reform bill. Do you think it will it make your life better or not?