Health Care Open Thread

So…what are y’all thinking?

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  • Dena

    I am pretty freaking pissed. While I’m glad that this healthcare reform is near passing (I suppose something is better than an already screwed system), I do not support the fact that women’s reproductive health and rights have been compromised in order to get the bill to pass.
    I mean, I figured Obama was going to do it– he wanted the votes. But I was still surprised when he signed that Executive Order. Then it was found that we did not need Stupak’s vote– even Stupak himself admitted that! I just feel that on that front this is in embarrassment for the Democratic party. But I think it is important to remember that the fight for healthcare that we can all be proud of is far from over.

  • aftercancer

    Honestly as much as I am for health care reform I’m pretty freakin’ sick of it and I don’t know how much of a difference it will make. Feels like we’ve given away anything that would really matter. I did give Stupak the dick of the day award, no change to federal policy at all he was just on a power trip.

  • LadyPolitik

    I don’t like the mandates, I don’t like the lack of cost controls, I don’t like that reproductive health and women specific healthcare has been cut out and received so much negative attention, I don’t like the distortions, the double standards, the racism and theh homophobia of the tea party protesters, I don’t like the ignorance and lackc of compassion surrounding this debate.
    But, it’s a small step in the right direction. Eventually, we’ll have to reform the health care system again and it will be ugly like this. Being that I’m only 25, I hope by the time I’m 50, we’ll really have a just single payer system that’s more like Canada’s or England’s.

  • southern students for choice

    From the NYT article linked above:

    The bill would require most Americans to have health insurance, would add 16 million people to the Medicaid rolls and would subsidize private coverage for low- and middle-income people, at a cost to the government of $938 billion over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office says.

    Number one, it seems ironic to require “most Americans” to have health insurance, including young people who have the greatest need of access to reproductive health care services, while creating policies which will discourage insurers from covering (at the very least) elective abortion. It seems ironic to require young people to pay for something and then take away that which they might be most likely to need (even if most may not even be aware that their health insurance likely covers elective abortion).
    Number two, how few…well, how hardly any…well, can’t even think of ONE, please correct if this is wrong…of the best-known get-out-the-vote/voter education groups that engaged young people to vote for Obama fall before last had any comment at all on coverage for reproductive health care, and abortion in particular. Most were little more than cheerleaders for whatever the administration was putting forward at the time, if they had anything to say at all.
    Given the freaking major impact that this has on young people, it would be astounding to note that so little was said by those GOTV groups…astounding, unless you knew of similar things which happened in the Clinton administration, and the Carter administration, going back to what…LBJ?
    You know, when the phrase “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” was spoken, it probably wasn’t taken to mean that it’s cool for your country to make it harder than necessary, and harder than it was previously, for you to pay for something you or someone you care about would very likely need in their lifetime. And back then too, there might have been a little more attention given to the disproportionate impact policy changes like this will mean to relatively poor (and today red/relatively conservative/leaning right-wing) states and communities.

  • EAMD

    In a word: FUBAR.

  • distractedbyshinyobjects

    I don’t know. I wanted universal single-payer. Then I was willing to settle for that robust public option everyone was talking about. Now I get neither, but I’m still going to be mandated to purchase coverage that I can’t afford, and that won’t include coverage of my right to an abortion. Feels pretty damn shitty, to be honest.
    Are we closer to being able to get those things? Was this just a first step we had to take to get there? God I hope so. And in the mean time I’m still going to be praying every day that I don’t get pregnant (despite my IUD,) get hit by a bus, or contract a serious disease.

  • gypsy

    I’m appalled that people think it’s ok to stand outside of a 60 year old congressman’s office, scream racial slurs and spit on him. There are better ways to disagree with some one’s politics. That does not make me want to listen to that groups side of anything.
    Not thrilled with the bill, but I’ll worry over that later – I mean, once it’s passed, they’re gonna fight over it for the next 3 years right? :p I’d love to finally have health coverage (currently can’t afford it – Blue Cross wanted $289/month and that wouldn’t cover my “pre-existing” thyroid disease or anything pertaining to being female…not sure what I would use the policy for then.. :p ) But at the same time, my gut tells me my employer (a college) would rather eliminate my job than kick in and pay health benefits….(it’s been threatened before…)
    So, we’ll see.. I mean, you can tell me I HAVE to buy health insurance all you want, but that won’t give me $289/month and the cash to pay all of my real medical expenses. :p

  • geek_girl

    I’d prefer something more like (I think, correct if wrong) Australia’s system, where there’s a single-payer option, but you can always pay more if you want something more or different. Canada’s great and all, but if someone can’t get the treatment they want there, they’ll come someplace (like the US) where they can.
    That said, I think this was a nearly-impossible-to-achieve step forward. Even if not everything I’d like in there is in there. There hasn’t been major health care reform like this in the US in some time.

  • Hypatia

    All I can say is–and I’ve been hearing this a lot lately–is that its a small step in the right direction. Hopefully there will be many more steps (forward!) to come.

  • Jovan1984

    August 3 just can’t come soon enough, eh?
    I want to see Connie Saltonstall rout Stupak right out of DC.

  • heatherlchase

    I love watching sixty year old men talking about abortion.
    I was under the impression that this bill didn’t cover abortion, what are the Republicans talking about?

  • leeraloo

    I’m just kind of shocked and a bit pleased that something like this actually got passed. It’s a good sign, I suppose. At the same time, the bill has some massive problems, of course, and probably no hope of fixing them anytime soon. I’m just glad I don’t have to listen to a bunch of Conservatives blowing up my Facebook saying how happy they are it didn’t pass. I couldn’t handle that.
    Besides, isn’t Rush Limbaugh going to move to Canada now?

  • Athenia

    I’m glad they’re doing something about Healthcare, but I’m not sure how giving subsidies will make Healthcare more affordable and cost effective–I feel it will just let the Medical Industrial Complex keep doing what it’s doing.
    However, if it gets the care people need, then I guess it will surfice for now.

  • Opheelia

    Someone (presumably an R) yelled “babykiller” at Stupak while he was speaking against the motion to recommit. Classy.

  • Sky

    Insurers can no longer deny me coverage for pre-existing conditions. I can go get appointments with a therapist to get help for my anxiety disorder and not have to worry about never having insurance again because of it. That’s pretty fucking exciting.

  • maryspassions

    There are a lot of issues with this bill. And while yes it takes some good steps forward we had to make a deal with devil and sacrifice woman’s reproductive rights to get it past. Bart Stupak I hope your 15 minutes of fame were worth all your female constitutes health.
    Now I am glad that in 2014 insurance companies will no longer be able to deny me coverage or charge me more because of my pre-existing condition, or because I am a woman. However I am above that %133 line that they will pay for health insurance, but live in Chicago where my rent and expenses are HUGE so I still can’t afford health insurance. So they are going to charge me a fine I can’t afford? That’s BS. It isn’t working in MASS I can tell you that much.
    I am glad to see that the poor and children will be getting coverage they need, that is a good thing. It’s a good first step, but it is only a first step and we need to keep pushing for a Public Option or (better yet) universal health care that INCLUDES abortion coverage.

  • chechelle

    219-212? sounds like we DID need Stupak (as much as he annoys me)

  • dustxandxlight

    I don’t understand much about politics or health care, so I need some help. This is a quote from that article:
    “The budget office estimates that the bill would provide coverage to 32 million uninsured people, but still leave 23 million uninsured in 2019. One-third of those remaining uninsured would be illegal immigrants.”
    Can someone tell me in layman’s terms why there would still be so many uninsured? I don’t get it.

  • Brittany

    My other comment got deleted I guess.
    But: Is it true that we will be providing health care to illegal immigrants, who will be exempt from the taxes?

  • jruka

    I am 23 and I am battling cancer. Up until right now that means that in order to stay on my parent’s health insurance I need to remain a student. Considering I Have had three surgeries in the last six months, that’s hard to do.
    So, I am pretty happy about the “Until 26″ extension and what it means for me personally.
    I also know a lot of my peers are excited about this, since most of us are graduating without the promise of a job and knowing commencement day means the official boot from our parent’s insurance plan.
    But, the Stupak Amendment and anti-abortion language makes me feel incredibly bitter.
    First, women’s bodies and the right to make decisions over our own body has been the bargaining chips used to get this bill passed.
    Furthermore, I thought Obama really was Pro-Choice. I thought he would end the Hyde Amendment.
    And the polarization of HealthCare and Abortion through Stupak and the following executive order is really disheartening and maddening. Someone please tell me how abortion isn’t healthcare? It hurts.
    Furthermore, Right now “babykiller” is a tweet trending topic, and I feel like this bill has crystalized the separation between Democrats and Republicans and will fuel a long-lasting conversation that places them against each other as opponents, and as long as they are combatting each other—they are never serving the interests of their constituents.

  • Emily H.

    I’m very glad this finally passed. With this legislation, people with major diseases can’t just get dropped from their health-car plans once their bills goes beyond a certain amount, and insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. That will make a huge difference in a lot of people’s lives. It will also stop people complaining that Obama didn’t/couldn’t get anything done, and it will enable him to spend more time on other important issues (e.g. jobs). And it’s a huge loss for the Republicans. They couldn’t deserve it more.
    There are a lot of problems with this bill, & like most of us, I would have preferred a single-payer/public option bill, rather than something so conservative/half-assed. But the Obama administration has been fighting over this tooth & nail for a year, and it still passed by a very small minority. So one can’t really argue that the Dems *could* have gotten something much better, and they just didn’t want to bother. We got the best reform we could right now, & it’s a step in the right direction.
    On the other hand, “fuck you” times infinity to the pro-life Democrats who made their votes contingent on restricting abortion coverage. Way to derail progress and chip away at women’s rights… seriously, they’re scum.

  • Citizen Lane

    There are good parts of the bill, too. I’m not sure if they balance out the bad, and to be honest, I’m not that interested in listing pros versus cons. Some of the reforms, like the changes to the pre-existing coverage regulation, are absolutely necessary and we’re better off for having them. It also paves the way to greater changes later, which I’m hoping we get in 2012+ after people see that the Republican/Tea Partiers’ prophecies of doom do not come true.

  • bradley

    The health industry co-wrote the bill. It’s a sop to insurers that provides them with a captive audience and punishes anyone who wants out.
    It doesn’t correct the distorting tax subsidy toward employer-provided health care, nor do anything to promote market competition in the insurance sector.
    The cost will probably be 3 or more times the CBO estimate. Premium costs will probably rise by 10–15% in the next few years, and the subsidies can’t cover everyone. Ultimately this will not save money. Medicare and Medicaid are still going bankrupt, and Americans are still on the hook for it.

  • Becca

    Woah… I was expecting a lot more happy people on this thread, I was surprised by what I saw.
    Yes, I disagree with the fact that fed $ can’t be spend on abortions. It’s stupid. It makes me angry. But I think that compromises have to be made. If I were to expect the congress to only do things “my way or the highway,” how is that any different than what we’ve been complaining about Republicans doing the whole time?
    Yes, I would prefer a single payer system, but same deal. That would be quite a radical change – a good one I’d say, but I just don’t expect anything radical to come out of our government. It’s just not setup that way.
    I know this isn’t our dream bill, but isn’t it better than nothing at all? Isn’t it still historic? Won’t it still help MILLIONS of Americans? Come on! I’m not saying we should sugarcoat it and pretend it’s perfect, but let’s at least celebrate the accomplishment that it is!!

  • southern students for choice

    It’s hard to say that NO left/progressive/student oriented voter education/GOTV project or project spokesperson came out in favor of things like a public option, universal health care, or (apparently least spoken about in any supportive fashion) coverage for elective abortion. Proving that means proving a negative, that there was NEVER a supportive word said by anyone in even a semi-official “I’m a member of…” capacity. So please leave that allegation aside for a moment.
    We did find one example of a progressive voter education/GOTV group that addressed insurance coverage of abortion. There’s a group with good intentions, Young Invincibles (YI). It was noted that there were at least at some point in the last few months there were some supportive pro-choice statements made on their Facebook page by someone with YI itself, and not just a Facebook fan. We trust our source (it’s irrelavent to say who because we don’t have a exact date or a link), a few words of unqualified support for not interefering with the current policies of private insurance companies to cover elective abortion coverage — basically, support for the status quo — was there. It’s also worth noting that that group was mentioned at least once before on this website. They surely have a base of support which is significantly pro-choice (maybe not overwhelmingly, but we’ll bet they’re in the majority within YI’s ranks), but nothing on their website or in any other easily searchable document mentions the battle over abortion coverage.
    It’s a cheap shot to name any organization for criticism without clear examples of what one feels is wrong, suggestions for what would be right, and a sincere offer of help to change things. So if anything let’s single out YI’s for praise, not criticism, for their focus on passing health care reform which for many people will be better than nothing, and apparently at least tolerating pro-choice sentiments expressed by whoever had access to their Facebook account at least at one point in time in the recent past (and never taking an overtly anti-choice position). But really that’s more than we can say for any other youth oriented GOTV/voter education/civic engagement-oriented organization, partisan or not, that made any mention of national health reform, except for young people directly representing existing pro-choice groups, of course. If you, the reader, know of any examples, please mention them!
    It’s not like a campaign like this can’t be done, there’s even polling data to support it, most recently in a survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for NARAL, New Survey Examines Younger Voters’ Views on Abortion Rights, Shows How Pro-Choice Position Can Be an Electoral Asset for Candidates. But this survey is nothing especially new, it’s well known that there is support for broadly worded pro-choice positions. It’s not like tangential mention of these issues by groups like Young Invincibles is unheard of, there was at least brief mention in 2004 by a many youth-oriented GOTV groups of the 2004 March for Women’s Lives. But that March received extensive mainstream media coverage, and the GOTV groups we’re talking about didn’t do much beyond acknowledge in a friendly but detached way what was going on.
    So you tell us, if there’s at least nominal support from young adults for pro-choice concerns in health care reform, why didn’t we hear more from them? We really don’t think it’s what some have said is a tendency for established pro-choice groups to not take young people seriously. The problem is more than the current administration doesn’t take the issue seriously beyond what it can do for them in turning out votes come next election, and while it’s possible to craft pro-choice appeals that have majority support, they don’t engage people to the extent that appeals on other issues like the economy, for example, obviously does.
    But when a bill like this passes which obviously puts relatively young and poor people at a disadvantage in that they are less likely now to get coverage for elective abortion than they would have before (assuming they could have gotten health insurance at all), it’s hard to see young people on the fence politically coming to support the Democrats for what they’ve given them (or for what they didn’t give them) come next election.
    Maybe that’s why it’s seemed over the last several days, maybe a week, we’ve seen little mention of health care reform in the progressive and even relatively pro-choice blogs. It’s as if there’s time to NOT take a stand for abortion rights, and to talk about things almost tabloid and sensationalistic in nature, if taking a stand would be going against administration policy that obviously involved making deals with compromises in the favor of anti-choice and anti-progressive health care reform lobbies and interests.

  • MaggieF

    Step one: Pass the bill. Now we’ve shown that we can overhaul health care, and hopefully it’ll make future changes easier. I’m upset about the abortion thing, but my impression was that most policies don’t cover abortion, anyway.
    And as someone who’s spent the past six months having health insurance applications denied, I’m pretty fucking happy.
    Now what to do for the next four years…?

  • wittb

    I’m curious why you think it’s not working in Massachusetts? There are some problems, I know (like the fact that it’s sometimes hard to get a doctor’s appointment), but health care coverage has shot up in this state to almost 99%.
    Something is certainly working well in Hawaii, anyway!

  • Brianna G

    Eh, the thing is, they include something about how federal can’t pay for elective abortions in every single budgetary bill, so the order really is completely empty– it would have happened anyway. The difference is, this method, unlike Stupak’s amendment, does not affect the ability of private insurers to offer abortion coverage, even for subsidized plans. We aren’t getting screwed, we are maintaining a shitty status quo.

  • Brianna G

    Is it ideal? Heck no. But it has two incredibly important things– one, it prevents discrimination for preexisting conditions, which ends a lot of sex discrimination by insurance companies as well as probably saved a lot of people (that alone saved a LOT of my friends and family).
    Two, it allows people to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, finally acknowledging that getting out of school and immediately getting a job with good benefits is next to impossible. This will then allow a LOT of young people to continue to have insurance coverage while trying to get started, which is both good for them and good for the country as a whole, because they are contributing to the general pot of health insurance despite being healthier. That probably just saved me from working a shit job for 5 years while I tried to get started but needed coverage.
    It also finally acknowledges that health care is a much greater percent of a person’s salary than it was when Medicaid was developed by providing subsidies or Medicaid to more people. It prevents states from discriminating against childless people by requiring them to provide Medicaid to anyone who qualifies, children or not.
    It’s not ideal because there’s still no public option, it requires people to buy insurance and provides subsidies based on income, not expenses; it doesn’t address our national shortage of medical professionals; it doesn’t limit the extent of care the government will pay for except with abortion; and it doesn’t cover abortions. However, they aren’t anywhere near done with health care reform. They may set it aside while they solve other problems but they’ll come back to it and rework it. The truth is, even WITH the bad, the end of preexisting condition discrimination and allowing young adults to be covered by their parents alone easily make up for it. No matter how much you hate some aspects of it, it’s important to focus on those two things, which overall make this a GIANT leap in the right direction.

  • AnnieW

    Ouch! Did you all feel that? It’s the knife being twisted in your back as you got run over by the bus you were thrown under.

  • liz

    I agree with distractedbyshinyobjects. Just to add– I am concerned that the whole “debate” centered around those Dems (for) and Repubs (against) it. For those of us who are against it, because it is not socialist enough, there is no public space for discourse, and I feel discouraged.
    On the other hand, my mom said that this opens the door for broadening. I hope so.

  • Comrade Kevin

    I echo those above me on the thread in lamenting that reproductive rights were used as a bargaining chip to ensure passage. Still, it makes me want to work harder to articulate what I believe and why it is so important to us all.

  • YellowMellow

    Actually, around 80% of current insurance plans do cover elective abortion. (I know, I was surprised too)

  • norbizness

    I too can’t believe that something perfect didn’t get passed, and not only that but the issue will never be revisited and it’s the end of history.

  • mahjani

    If anyone would like to read the full text of the bill, it is available here:
    I am glad it was passed. While I wish the reforms went further in many areas, I am particularly glad for 1) Office of Women’s Health, 2) Removal of Gender and Pre-Existing Conditions as a reason not to insure, and 3) Removal of lifetime benefit limits.


    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the mandatory aspect is what I disagree with most. I hate doctors with a passion and avoid them at all costs. So I would really like to know why it is I have to pay a bill for something I have no intention of using?
    My husband and I canned the insurance we got from work, even though I’ve heard numerous times we have the SEIU-back, Cadillac variety people wish they could have. But uhhh… $300+/mo is way too much money for a family of three; I don’t care what people try to tell me!
    I can lessen our grocery bill. I can cancel cable. I can cancel Internet. I can even let the gas bill slide and depend on space heaters. Or one better, I can always haul ourselves to move in with my mom and save a bundle. But now they’re saying I can’t cancel insurance without a penalty?
    Nah. I think I’ll pay the $700 penalty and do without. It’ll be cheaper for sure!

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    I’m not seeing how the version of the bill that passed isn’t a huge giveaway to the insurance companies.
    First it was “well, the nonprofit public option will keep them honest.” Then that was gotten rid of and it was “well, insurers have to spend a certain percentage of premiums on benefits.” I don’t see any mention of that now either.
    At best, then, premiums will still be 2x or 3x benefits, and no one will be able to afford them except that the government will pick up a lot of it.

  • Ellen Marie-Frances

    That was right after I got a swift kick to the stomach and repeatedly bashed over the head with the word “baby killer.”

  • Ellen Marie-Frances

    That was right after I got a swift kick to the stomach and repeatedly bashed over the head with the word “baby killer.”

  • wittb

    WORD x10000.
    There is a huge country out there filled with many different kinds of people with many different kinds of opinions. All voters need to be represented in Congress, not just the ones we think are right.
    The idea that there wouldn’t have to be significant compromise on such a huge landmark bill is so confusing to me. This is a beginning, people! Not the end.

  • makomk

    Even with the awful cover (or lack thereof) for pregnancy that most insurance schemes have, covering abortions probably still saves them money overall… (Does this version of the healthcare bill still prohibit insurance companies from taking these savings into account?)

  • Brittany-Ann

    I’m pretty pumped about that too! For all the problems with the bill, my epilepsy isn’t going anywhere. Getting insurance after I graduate has been a serious point of stress for me for the past year. Kinda screwy though, how excited I am for merely adding hundreds of dollars at a time to my debt instead of thousands. Oh, America.

  • ScottRock

    No. Where did you hear that?
    It would also help to know what you mean by “health care.” Where do you think immigrants go when they need emergency care? It’s against the law for emergency departments to deny care to anyone. In that sense, we have always (since 1986) provided “health care” (in the form of emergency services) to illegal immigrants.

  • Marisa

    The reality is that for everyone to get covered (which won’t be happening under this bill but we will begetting closer) you need everyone to buy into the exchange to make it work.
    Those who don’t have insurance raise costs for everyone!!! Do you believe that even though you don’t have insurance if you get in a car accident you should be rushed to the hospital and treated no matter what? Of course.
    People expect public goods but aren’t willing to buy in and that’s not consistent.

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    If you have no intention of using cable, and cancel it, you won’t use it. If you have no intention of using the Internet, and cancel it, you won’t use it. If you have no intention of going to a doctor, and cancel your health insurance, will you never get sick or injured?

  • daytrippinariel

    Well, almost everyone I know who is under the age of 26 who didn’t already have insurance (including myself) will now have it. Everyone who was denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions will now have it. So, I think it’s going to make a huge impact on a number of people.