“Health care is not only a civil right, it’s a moral issue,” stated Representative Patrick J. Kennedy last night in the last go-around before voting began on the new health care bill. The result of this voting has landed us with another day that will be carved into history – for both our President and for the benefits that this bill will provide to millions of uninsured people around America. The healthcare reform bill was passed by a narrow margin of 219-212 with some parts of it going into effect immediately – like prescription drug coverage for seniors and children with pre-existing conditions that were previously denied insurance and the rest of the bill going into effect by 2014.
This bill seeks to:
- Provide medical coverage for up to 32 million Americans that previously could either not afford it or were being denied due to a pre-existing illness.
- Make it illegal for insurance agencies to drop clients or charge them more because of new or existing medical conditions or to deny coverage to those with a pre-existing condition.
- Make it so that employers would be required to provide insurance to every employee or face a $2,000 fine per worker.
- By 2014, make sure that most Americans are insured or face a specific fine.
- And finally, make it so that parents are now allowed to keep their children on their health insurance policy until the age of 26!
There are of course exemptions to these general guidelines and changes to the bill began as soon as the bill was passed when a package outlining various features that need to be amended within the bill was passed directly after.
The only people truly affected by this bill would be the wealthy (who will face investment taxes to help support these costs). In order to help cover the costs of this new plan, Medicare will also receive some cuts which they hope won’t affect the people that depend on it with the new Medicaid coverage (should add about 16 million people to the number of those already under this plan) and with employers having to provide coverage.
We have to wait a few more years before we know exactly how this bill pans out, but what do you think about it now?