March 19th, 2010 – While elected officials are often accused of letting polls determine public policy when it comes to Health Reform that does not seem to be the case. A new NBC News/WSJ poll shows that 48% of Americans oppose the current health care legislation vs. 36% supporting the health reform bill. The new March 2010 poll shows an increasing number of people that think the $940 billion bill is a bad idea compared to when the poll began in September of 2009.
While the public’s increasing opposition to the health reform bill is hardly news, it is not slowing down support by the House Democrats for pushing the controversial health reform bill forward. The House may be ready for a vote as soon as this Sunday to try and pass the Senate Health Reform bill. As of today it looks like the Democrats are about 10 votes shy of the votes needed to pass the bill. However, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office showing the Health Reform Bill could reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years may sway enough House Democrats to support the bill.
If the House votes to pass the Senate bill Sunday, it would immediately follow up with another vote on a package of changes designed in part to make the overall legislation more acceptable to House Democrats. The Senate would use a procedure called reconciliation to vote to approve those changes next week with a simple majority vote. Then the original bill would go President Obama to be signed into law.
Most changes won’t have much material effect on people in Colorado getting health insurance until 2014. The elimination of denial or rating for pre-existing conditions and the introduction of Health Insurance Exchanges would begin in 2014. Americans without health insurance will be fined $695 or 2.5% of their income, whichever is greater, starting in 2016. Children would be able to stay on their parent’s policy up to age 26 under the new bill. The government would offer subsidies to aid purchasing health insurance for families of four making up to $88,000 annually or 400% of the federal poverty level.
However, the elimination of lifetime caps on new health insurance policies, no longer allowing children with pre-existing conditions to be excluded, and subsidies to help Americans with pre-existing conditions get insurance may take effect in the first year. The bill with the proposed changes is expected to insure 95% of Americans.
Since we don’t yet know exactly what the final language of the proposed changes is we will have to wait until it is passed by House and Senate to fully understand the impact on our lives. Check this web site frequently as we’ll update it frequently to keep everyone in Colorado informed about how Health Care Reform will impact their lives.