Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 252
Here is a rundown of what this reform WILL accomplish with a sense of WHEN the reforms kick in: (From The Gavel)
IF YOU ARE A SMALL BUSINESSES OWNER:
SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS—Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)
IF YOU ARE A SENIOR:
BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE—Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)
FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE—Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.
HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES—Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment.
IF YOU HAVE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE:
NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS—Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to adults as well.)
NO RESCISSIONS—Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.
NO LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.
NO RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Tightly restricts new plans’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)
FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PLANS—Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment.
NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS FOR NEW PLANS—Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions. Effective 6 months after enactment.
MORE FOR YOUR PREMIUM DOLLAR—Requires plans to put more of your premiums into your care, and less into profits, CEO pay, etc. This medical loss ratio requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premiums on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent. Insurers that don’t meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.
NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY—Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective 6 months after enactment.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE:
IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL)—Provides immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition - through a temporary high-risk pool – until the Exchanges up and running in 2014. Effective 90 days after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, health plans are banned from discriminating against all people with pre-existing conditions, so high-risk pools would phase out).
EXTENDING COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE – Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS—Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly doubling the number of patients served over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
MORE PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS—Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER ASSISTANCE—Provides aid to states to establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance to help consumers file complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in FY 2010.
A NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM—Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become functionally disabled. Effective on January 1, 2011.
And in 2014, once the exchanges have formed, more insurance reforms go into effect, including:
NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ADULTS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
BAN ON HIGHER PREMIUMS FOR WOMEN
PREMIUMS BASED ON AGE CAN ONLY VARY BY A MAXIMUM OF 3-TO-1 RATIO
CAP ON OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES for private health plans
It's a start.
In honor of those Congressional Representatives who took a risk and voted for healthcare reform despite Republican attacks:
The Obstructionist Republicans are saying they will repeal healthcare reform, because you know they are against saving American taxpayers money while saving American lives. Obama is challenging them come right out and try it:
Meanwhile, Congressman Anthony Weiner is among the more than 10 Democratic Congressional Representatives who have gotten threats or attacks aimed at themselves, their families or their offices. I happen to know Weiner and can say he is an excellent speaker. Smart and liberal, so obviously a target for right wing fear and loathing. In Weiner's case it was an envelope with a white powder in it, a clear allusion to the fatal anthrax attacks that may or may not have been solved. Of course if the FBI's version of things is true, the anthrax killer is himself now dead, and so the chances of that white powder being anything but a harmless white powder are slim. But the right wing resorting to violence is disgusting, immoral and, let's remember, outright illegal. Hopefully they will be caught and punished. Why does the right hate Weiner so much? Well, here is a sample of his views on healthcare reform (from before many of the changes made to the Senate Bill). And here is Weiner taking on Bill O'Reilly and calling Bill an outright liar:
Here is this week's newsletter:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I Declare the Celebrations Begin! Comeon and Party!
A Congressman with Guts
Right Wing Violence in America
Brooklyn, NY Focus
Manhattan, NY Focus
Queens, NY Focus
Bronx, NY Focus
Suffolk County, NY Focus
Rochester, NY Focus
New York 19th District Focus: Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Westchester Counties
NEW YORK STATE FOCUS
Austin/Travis County, TX Focus
Dallas County, TX Focus
Houston/Harris County, TX Focus
Texas 10th District Focus: Turn TX-10 Blue
Texas 21st District Focus: Turn TX-21 Blue
DEBRA BOWEN FOR CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE
Silicon Valley Area, CA Focus
San Diego, CA Focus
Orange County, CA Focus
California 11th District Focus: San Joaquin, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties
Sussex County, NJ Focus
Passaic County, NJ Focus
Warren County, NJ Focus
NEW JERSEY FOCUS
Charlottesville/Albemarle County, VA Foucus
Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County, VA Focus
Hanover County, VA Focus
Georgia Focus: Regina Thomas for Congress (GA-12)
Atlanta, GA Focus
Fayette County, GA Focus
Coweta County, GA Focus
Pennsylvania Focus: Lois Herr for Congress
Lancaster Co. PA Focus
Illinois focus: Bill Foster on Board with Healthcare Reform
Illinois Focus: Dan Seals for Congress (IL-10)
Nevada Focus: Republican John Ensign Subpoenaed
Michigan Focus: Bart Stupak vs. Catholic Nuns
WASHINGTON STATE FOCUS
NORTH CAROLINA FOCUS