It's a catastrophe!
Health care reform is falling apart everywhere.
The special election on Jan. 19, 2010 of Republican Scott Brown as the new Mass. Senator, replacing former Sen. Ted Kennedy, a pillar in health care reform, erases the 60 democratic vote majority needed to thrawt a filibuster.
A filibuster is "speaking or talking out a bill." It is a form of obstructing legislation to delay or prevent a vote entirely.
The whole issue could be closed.
The debate on health care reform has been heated from the start with the one, fortunate binding aspect between parties being the agreement that our health care system is in need of repair.
We have the most expensive system of the industrialized world while our infant mortality rates rival that of El Salvador.
The major concern is where our current money is going and how to fix the system to function as quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively as possible so every American receives quality health care.
It appears we all agree on the goals of the system.
From there, nothing seems to be agreed upon.
Even as a staunch supporter of health care reform, I see the opposite side of the debate.
With the democrats in control, health reform became almost a coup.
The reform vote which took place Christmas eve that resulted in a 60-39 party-line vote became an example of individual representatives' greed as long time Democratic representative supporters became desperate to obtain the 60 necessary votes and made "sweet heart" deals with conservative party members.
However, the vote seemed to clear the path to enacting the bill into a monumental law comparable to Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965.
The bill would provide insurance coverage to 31 million uninsured people, adding 15 million people to medicaid and subsidize coverage for low and middle income people at the cost of 871 billion over 10 years according to the federal budget office.
It would also greatly expand the role of government in health care, as well as require American's to obtain health insurance.
To fund the overhaul, the Senate bill increased the medicare payroll tax on high-income people and levied a new excise tax on high-premium insurance policies in hopes of controlling costs.
Hostility towards insurance companies was a theme among reformists. The bill would establish strict federal standards for an industry that has been regulated by states since it's inception. This simple aspect has impeded the ability of consumers to hold insurance companies liable as they practice over multiple state lines and regulations vary state-to-state.
Under the bill, insurance companies could not deny coverage because of a person's medical condition; they could not charge higher premiums because of sex or health status, and could not rescind coverage when a person becomes sick or disabled.
The government would also limit the profits insurance companies could make on illness by requiring them to spend 80-85 cents per dollar on health care.
Problems have arisen in every aspect of legislation, but primarily in how the changes would be paid for.
Costs of the bill would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, be more than offset by new taxes and fees and by savings in Medicare. The bill would squeeze nearly a half-trillion dollars from Medicare over the next 10 years, mainly by reducing the growth of payments to hospitals, nursing homes, Medicare Advantage plans and other providers.
Republicans asserted that the cuts would hurt Medicare beneficiaries.
It could also result, again, in cost-shifting towards hospitals.
I am a staunch supporter of an individuals' protection against "purging practices" by insurance companies to increase their profits.
As a Registered Nurse and Patient, I'm appalled by the exploitation of my illness and suffering for profit. I have been the victim of purging on all forefronts of insurance.
I was dispelled from my life insurance coverage 6 months after my diagnosis with Hodgkin's lymphoma when the policy changed hands from my employer to myself. Everything I had put in previously as a healthy payer was profit, and my family no longer had a safety net in the event of my death.
My long term disability insurance company did one worse, not only did they purge me, but they sued for the return of their money citing one sentence in the policy that reduces your payment when you receive social security.
After ten months of full payment, they requested the return of $8000.
Three and a half years later, Reliance Standard again tried the same trick. This time they said my social security payment for my son needs to be deducted from my payment and anything sent repaid.
This would require me to pay over $20,000 to the company during a period of time when my family is coping with the reality that I will likely live a short, uncomfortable life, dying eventually from side effects of my cancer or treatment.
It is also a possibility that in my battle we will meet our insurance maximum spending amount of 2 million dollars, at which point insurance will no longer cover anything.
The proposed bill would erase maximum limits imposed by health insurance companies.
I will never have the ability to return to work as a Registered Nurse due to my illness, a cancer which no one knows the cause or the cure.
I agree that the bill isn't perfect, but over sight is needed to stop the predatory practices of exploiting people when they are at their weakest, most vulnerable point.
I'm in hopes that the popular parts of the bill can be salvaged, and the rest continued to remain a topic of discussion in hopes of encouraging agreement across parties.