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Ysobelle
11-08-2009, 01:47 AM
It's a start. The anti-choice amendment worries the hell out of me, but it's a start.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/07/AR2009110701504.html?hpid=topnews


House Democrats pass health-care bill
One Republican votes for plan Senate will act next on legislation
By Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hours after President Obama exhorted Democratic lawmakers to "answer the call of history," the House hit an unprecedented milestone on the path to health-care reform, approving a trillion-dollar package late Saturday that seeks to overhaul private insurance practices and guarantee comprehensive and affordable coverage to almost every American.

After months of acrimonious partisanship, Democrats closed ranks on a 220-215 vote that included 39 defections, mostly from the party's conservative ranks. But the bill attracted a surprise Republican convert: Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana, who represents the Democratic-leaning district of New Orleans and had been the target of a last-minute White House lobbying campaign. GOP House leaders had predicted their members would unanimously oppose the bill.

Democrats have sought for decades to provide universal health care, but not since the 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid has a chamber of Congress approved such a vast expansion of coverage. Action now shifts to the Senate, which could spend the rest of the year debating its version of the health-care overhaul. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to bring a measure to the floor before Thanksgiving, but legislation may not reach Obama's desk before the new year.

At the Capitol, Obama urged the few Democrats who were still wavering on Saturday afternoon to put aside their political fears and embrace the bill's ambitious objectives. "Opportunities like this come around maybe once in a generation," he said afterward. "This is our moment to live up to the trust that the American people have placed in us. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard. This is our moment to deliver."

The House legislation would for the first time require every individual to obtain insurance, and would require all but the smallest employers to provide coverage to their workers. It would vastly expand Medicaid and create a new marketplace where people could obtain federal subsidies to buy insurance from private companies or from a new government-run insurance plan.

Though some people would receive no benefits -- including about 6 million illegal immigrants, according to congressional estimates -- the bill would virtually close the coverage gap for people who do not have access to health-care coverage through their jobs.

"For generations, the American people have called for affordable, quality health care for their families," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said before the vote. "Today, the call will be answered."

The debate on the House floor extended for about 12 hours and settled into a civil, if predictable, pattern, after a heated start.

Republicans had blasted the 1,990-page bill as an ominous blueprint for a budget-busting government takeover of the private health-care system that would impose unprecedented mandates on individuals and employers, raise an array of taxes and slash projected spending on Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly. At a time of record budget deficits, Republicans argued that the country could ill-afford a new entitlement program that would cost an estimated $1.05 trillion over the next decade.

"Big government doesn't mean better health care," said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.). "This is not the reform families need. This is all about taking a giant first step toward a single-payer national health-care system. Washington will ultimately decide what doctors you can see, what treatments you deserve . . . and, when you're sick, will you be worth their cost?"

Throughout the debate, Republican after Republican warned that the legislation would rob Americans of their right to make choices about their health care, cost the nation jobs and unfairly financially burden future generations.

Pelosi needed to corral at least 218 of 258 Democrats to push the bill across the finish line. That task appeared to grow easier after party leaders broke a weeks-long impasse over abortion by agreeing to hold a vote on an amendment -- offered by antiabortion Democrats -- that would explicitly bar the public plan from` covering the procedure. The amendment, approved 240 to 194, with 64 Democrats in favor, also would prohibit people who received insurance subsidies from purchasing private plans that covered abortion.

The deal cleared the way for dozens of antiabortion Democrats to back the package. The most passionate advocates of abortion rights were not happy, but few were prepared to vote down legislation that promises to achieve so many long-held party goals.

The House bill
The complex package would affect virtually every American and fundamentally alter vast swaths of the health insurance industry. Starting next year, private insurers could no longer deny anyone coverage based on preexisting conditions, place lifetime limits on coverage or abandon people when they become ill. Insurers would be required to disclose and justify proposed premium increases to regulators, and could not remove adult children younger than 27 from their parents' family policies.

For the elderly, the group that has been most skeptical of Obama's initiative, the House package would immediately offer discounts on prescription drugs and reduce a gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage, closing it entirely by 2019. Uninsured people who cannot get coverage could join temporary high-risk insurance pools, and unemployed workers would be permitted to keep their COBRA benefits until the public plan and insurance exchanges started in 2013.

In four years, the measure would establish a new insurance system. Businesses with payrolls exceeding $500,000 would be required to offer their workers insurance or pay a fine of as much as 8 percent of payroll. Individuals would be required to obtain insurance or pay a fine of as much as 2.5 percent of income. States would be required to extend Medicaid coverage to as many as 15 million additional people. Low- and middle-income individuals who still could not afford coverage could apply for federal subsidies through an insurance marketplace that would negotiate with private insurers to provide comprehensive policies alongside a government-run "public option."

Congressional budget analysts say the package would cover an additional 36 million Americans, leaving 18 million people without insurance by 2019, about a third of them illegal immigrants. To avoid increasing the deficit, Democrats would pay for the coverage expansion by slicing more than $400 billion from Medicare over the next decade, and by imposing a variety of new taxes, primarily a 5.4 percent surcharge on annual income over $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for families. Initially, the tax would hit only 0.3 percent of taxpayers, but that number would climb rapidly, because the income thresholds would not be indexed to inflation.

Obstacles overcome
Introduced on July 14, the House package was approved in sections by three House committees. Since August, Pelosi has huddled behind closed doors with various factions of her diverse caucus to merge the three parts into comprehensive legislation.

The sticking points were clear from the start. Conservatives opposed the bill's price tag and limited efforts to cut costs. Moderates, who face the toughest 2010 reelection battles, were wary of big-government overtones in the public option. Democrats from wealthy districts opposed the tax on high earners, which originally would have affected taxpayers with annual incomes as low as $280,000.

One after another, the obstacles were overcome -- except for the simmering dispute over abortion. In early October, Rep. Bart Stupak, an antiabortion Democrat from Michigan, met with Pelosi to express the strong objections of about 40 Democrats to a provision in the legislation that appeared to allow federal funding of abortion. Stupak said they would oppose the bill unless the language was changed. Pelosi was noncommittal.

Late Friday, the Stupak coalition was still holding strong, and had gained a powerful ally in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose leadership has close connections to Pelosi. Over the strong objections of Democrats who support abortion rights, the speaker relented to Stupak, awarding him the only Democratic amendment on the floor.

The Senate bill
Attention will now shift back to the Senate. If the Senate acts, negotiations to iron out differences between the two chambers could be wrenching. Among the toughest issues: whether the public option should include an "opt out" clause for states, as Reid has proposed; whether to require employers to provide coverage to their workers or take the less punitive approach preferred by Senate moderates; and whether to tax the rich or tax high-cost health-care policies, as the Senate proposed -- a provision economists call the most important provisions in either bill for reining in costs.

In his lunchtime speech to House Democrats, Obama did not touch on any of those issues. But he acknowledged the anxiety felt by lawmakers who watched independent voters abandon Democratic candidates in Virginia and New Jersey in Tuesday's elections, and he warned that voting down the most significant legislation of his young presidency would only complicate the party's political future.

"If you think the Republicans are not going to go after you if you vote no," the president said, according to several people present, "think again."

Lady Hefron
11-08-2009, 09:20 AM
That and the 1 trillion plus price tag.

LdyJhawk
11-08-2009, 08:45 PM
Anyone who truly believes the concept of "Death panels" should be smacked.

Plus.. I'd rather see a 1.5 trillion pricetag over 10 years than more americans losing everything and being forced into bankruptcy to pay for overinflated medical costs.


Now, let's see what the Senate can do. Not sure if I, too, like the whole anti choice addition but..oh well

BronxGirl
11-08-2009, 09:18 PM
Plus.. I'd rather see a 1.5 trillion pricetag over 10 years than more americans losing everything and being forced into bankruptcy to pay for overinflated medical costs.




And how much are we spending in Iraq - per day?

LdyJhawk
11-08-2009, 10:03 PM
And how much are we spending in Iraq - per day?

Shh, that's different! It's not ~*socialist*~

BronxGirl
11-08-2009, 10:18 PM
Shh, that's different! It's not ~*socialist*~

I have such a girlcrush right now! Please don't be jealous, Yso!

LdyJhawk
11-08-2009, 10:33 PM
I have such a girlcrush right now! Please don't be jealous, Yso!

She can blame it on socialism! It's the American way! *hug*

Margaret
11-08-2009, 11:06 PM
I guess I am pleased. Yes, it will be a good thing that people will have health care available to them, however it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

I have a HUGE problem that I, and everyone else is *required by law* to have some sort of health coverage. What if I don't want it? What if I want to live life on the edge? Isn't that supposed to be my option?

And no, auto insurance is not an adequate comparison. I can choose not to own a car if I really feel that strongly about not wanting to be *required* to have auto insurance. Here, if I choose not to have health care coverage, I am fined.


In four years, the measure would establish a new insurance system. Businesses with payrolls exceeding $500,000 would be required to offer their workers insurance or pay a fine of as much as 8 percent of payroll. Individuals would be required to obtain insurance or pay a fine of as much as 2.5 percent of income. States would be required to extend Medicaid coverage to as many as 15 million additional people. Low- and middle-income individuals who still could not afford coverage could apply for federal subsidies through an insurance marketplace that would negotiate with private insurers to provide comprehensive policies alongside a government-run "public option.

And to actaully see it written here that the abortion clause is only illiciting a "oh well" type response here is frankly amazing.

LdyJhawk
11-08-2009, 11:20 PM
For me,, it's sort of about picking my battles. Am I upset by the abortion addition? Yes. Do I think, in terms of the greater good, that in the end I would rather see a woman have to come up with 300 dollars for a termination at planned parenthood than continue knowing that there are cancer patients who may die because they simply cannot afford their meds? yes.

In a perfect situation, abortion would be covered as adequately as other potential situations but unfortunately right now in order to help millions of americans there will be a small detriment to thousands. I'm.. torn over it, really

Mistress Morigianna
11-09-2009, 02:13 AM
i have issues about my issues!

right now i have a shoulder injury that requires a 3000.00++ surgery + after care. to start (not included) is a 1000.00 MRI. Disability pays 20.00 a day- that doesn't even cover the rent. I have put over 5000.00 in dr payments over the last 5 months. now i have no more.

so i take lots of OTC meds. Live with a heating pad and a ice pad attached to me and cry alot from the pain. ::tinfoil:

so now i have pre-exisisting condidtion.

I see how well the gov works other medical programs (talk to the people on the reservations that are told - don't get sick after june, there is no money left)
BUT
I also would be happy for anything that would help with this pain.

and YES I have problems with the anti-abortion add on

daBaroness
11-09-2009, 09:38 AM
Color me skeptical. The idea of everyone having to have insurance - tied to the fact they're taking a huge chunk out of social security ... doesn't bode well to me. A lot of it doesn't bode well. I agree 100% that we need some kind of national health policy/plan. But this has just come too fast on the heel's of Obama's election and so many components bother me. Why the rush? Why the partisanship? We've got a gaping, bleeding wound and this seems like a kid's band-aid. Frankly - I don't support this bill in its current form. The town halls were a disaster and once again, average citizens weren't taken into account, nor listened to. It's partisanship politics at play and I'm afraid once again it will be the taxpayers who get screwed.

Laurensa
11-09-2009, 03:10 PM
[quote=daBaroness;383270]Color me skeptical. The idea of everyone having to have insurance - tied to the fact they're taking a huge chunk out of social security ... doesn't bode well to me. A lot of it doesn't bode well. I agree 100% that we need some kind of national health policy/plan. But this has just come too fast on the heel's of Obama's election and so many components bother me. Why the rush? Why the partisanship? quote]>>

Why the rush? Over 44,000 people a year dying every year seems to me like a good reason to rush. We've been at war for ten years because some killed 3,000 Americans, can you imagine the hue and cry if they had killed 44,000??
Why the partisanship? Ask the Party of No. How long did it take the Republicans to come up with their own plan, and how many people would it have covered?

My mother DIED because she had no health insurance. She was one of 44,000 people that year. I don't want to see any one else go through that agony.

BronxGirl
11-09-2009, 07:09 PM
^^ What she said. Plus the fact that this has been an issue since FDR. I'd say 60+ years is long enough to wait.

Psyche
11-11-2009, 12:43 AM
I have a HUGE problem that I, and everyone else is *required by law* to have some sort of health coverage. What if I don't want it? What if I want to live life on the edge? Isn't that supposed to be my option?

And no, auto insurance is not an adequate comparison. I can choose not to own a car if I really feel that strongly about not wanting to be *required* to have auto insurance. Here, if I choose not to have health care coverage, I am fined.This is why I am not pleased.

daBaroness
11-11-2009, 01:46 AM
[quote=daBaroness;383270]Color me skeptical. The idea of everyone having to have insurance - tied to the fact they're taking a huge chunk out of social security ... doesn't bode well to me. A lot of it doesn't bode well. I agree 100% that we need some kind of national health policy/plan. But this has just come too fast on the heel's of Obama's election and so many components bother me. Why the rush? Why the partisanship? quote]>>

Why the rush? Over 44,000 people a DAY dying every day seems to me like a good reason to rush. We've been at war for ten years because some killed 3,000 Americans, can you imagine the hue and cry if they had killed 44,000??
Why the partisanship? Ask the Party of No. How long did it take the Republicans to come up with their own plan, and how many people would it have covered?

My mother DIED because she had no health insurance. She was one of 44,000 people that day. I don't want to see any one else go through that agony.


I completely understand the "hurry" part of it in one respect. But have your really read and wrapped your logic around what this bill really is? To me it's just not a satisfactory solution. It may seem great for the un- and under-insured (I'm in that category myself), but what's being done is really a band-aid fix. It's robbing Peter to pay Paul in the short term with a "we'll figure it out later," clause. It's taking from the rich and giving to the poor - but the problem is there are so few who fall in the "rich" category here - certainly not enough to cover all the poor. So they're taking from social security and medicare and spreading already thin resources even thinner. As more and more baby boomers (again, myself included) reach retirement age and depend on social security and medicare - where's the money going to come from then?

My 78-year-old father doesn't want to retire because they can't live even a subsistence living on social security. Medicare pays some, but not enough of the medical expenses of a growing portion of the population on fixed incomes. So those receiving social security already know there will be no cost-of-living increase in 2010 and their medicare benefits are being slashed even more. Unless retirees are fortunate enough to have a decent pension or personal savings - they're essentially being told to screw themselves.

While I'm basically an independent in terms of political party I've always been drawn to the more socially progressive views of the democrats and the more conservative fiscal views of the republicans. The plain and simple truth is - "someone has to pay for it," is a fact too many choose to ignore or try to sweep away while filling peoples' minds with visions of sugar plums. Even Obama himself admitted they had a plan, all they needed to do was figure out how to pay for it.

Well hell's bells, I've got plans, too, but unlike the government who runs on massive deficits (in other words - buys things it can't afford), I can't run in the red. I have to know how I'm going to pay the rent, food, utilities, etc., while going to school and paying tuition.

I think a national healthcare program is vital to the U.S. But Obama hasn't lived up to his promise to scour every line item of the national budget for waste and then apply that waste to the health care program. I'm willing to bet the health care program could be paid for if that was done - and every fargin' pork belly add-on, every $600 Navy toilet seat and every $900 Army wrench was audited. But that's not going to happen because politicians in both houses and from both sides of the aisles are more concerned with getting reelected. They are beholden to voters and moreso to lobbyists who represent industry and corporations, but not the citizens of this country.

I have great compassion and a heavy heart for the loss of anyone's loved one who hasn't been able to get the medical care they needed to have a good quality of life - or to have life period. This bill isn't really going to change that. The fact is costs are so high because our government keeps them there. Hundreds of thousands of us break the law and purchase prescription medications online out of Canada, India and Mexico because they're at least half the price of the same medications here.

Costs are high because of malpractice insurance rates. It would be fine if people who are truly injured or die from bad care or a crappy doctor were compensated. But we've come to view doctors and the medical community as being somehow super-human in its collective ability to care for us and heal us. OB's get the worst of it. Infant mortality rates have plunged in the modern age - and everyday we make new strides - but the bottom line is some babies are just too ill, or malformed or born to early to survive. Good lord - in the renaissance era we love so much - high infant mortality - and maternal mortality was a given. It was freakin' dangerous to have a baby - muchless one born 4 months premature weighing about a pound. And what about all the c-sections today? Even in the mid-20th century breach babies often died and took their mothers with them - not to mention children who got stuck in the birth canal and suffocated, etc. But let a child be oxygen deprived during birth today and develop cerebral palsy as a result and it's the doctor who gets sued to hell and back.

There are so many things to consider in how to best create a national healthcare policy/plan. We all want it - but we all want the best and we're not willing or able to pay for it. Countries like Sweden or even Canada tax the piss out of people and they don't have perfect plans by a long shot.

I don't know what the answer is long-term - but the current plan is, in my own opinion, short-sighted and rushed to market without have long-term solutions on funding. I would turn the argument back around and say - we've waited years for a national healthcare program - why should we accept something that's thrown together in such a slap-dash, willy-nilly manner just for the sake of a little more time?

But unless both parties are willing to come to the table with the citizens of this country top of the priority list (which we're not), leave all the political bullhockey behind really dig into revamping the federal budget and eliminating the hidden (and not so hidden) waste that's occurring - we all end up with the short end of the stick and we all end up paying for it one way or another.

Torra
11-11-2009, 08:26 AM
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to daBaroness again.

Drat. When I was dying to give it, I can't. daB, you have just explicated exactly why I do not like this bill, and why I believe it should not have been passed. You do so clearly and without vitriol. So thank you for being reasonable and intelligent (as is usual).

Margaret
11-11-2009, 09:35 AM
Got it for you Torra.

Does our health care system need some nipping and tucking? Yes.

Is this Bill the best thing ever to do that? No.

I feel like it was pushed through the House just so the Democrats could say they Did Something. Everyone in Washington was in agreement that the Bill would never pass the Senate in it's current form.

Health care reform will be a huge change. HUGE. The contry as a whole will always be nervous about it. However, give us more credit and respect. Don't throw a slapped together, don't know how it's going to get funded yet, good enough type pile of paper. Work at it. Look at the ecomony of it all. Explain it to us without blowing smoke up our ass.

Blue Pixie
11-11-2009, 08:49 PM
I have a few issues with this bill- but mainly the price tag. How do they think they are going to pay for this- by taxing the rich. They pay 50% of their total net income to taxes. Other countries that have universal health care are tax 50% (and it doesn't matter what you made). I'm sorry, but that has me concerned! I tired of the spending that our government is doing and it seems to me that they are doing nothing to control themselves! Before they spend us into a world of debt that we will never get out off- fix their budget!

Isabelle Warwicke
11-12-2009, 11:03 AM
Here's how they are going to fund some parts of it:

The House of Representatives has passed legislation this week that will impose new employer mandates and penalties on companies like ours. The Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) would require us to cover 72.5% of the premiums for individuals and 67% of the premiums for families for all full- and part-time team members. If we fail to comply, our company would be subject to an 8% payroll tax. The costs to *Company* are staggering ranging from $215 million/year to comply with the employer mandate or $88 million/year in new taxes!

This was included in an email that I recieved at work from our Advocacy Center. My company already covers 2/3 of the costs of insurance with a very good coverage overall. I dislike the idea that this enormous dent in profit is going to trickle down into my earnings. With a possible $215million hit, don't you think companies will find a way to take it back wherever they can? They will raise prices for customers and shrink merit earnings for employees. That has an effect on the landscape.

Betty Munro
11-12-2009, 03:19 PM
I just don't see how this is all going to turn out well. Fine companies if they don't cover employees, then they will have less employees. Fine individuals who choose not to have health care ... the rent has to be paid, so I guess groceries will be sacrificed. I don't have an answer ... personally I just plan not to get sick, ever. That's realisitic, yes?
:rip:

Lady Hefron
11-12-2009, 07:22 PM
DaB...I love the way you put things. What about Torte Reform...have they even addressed this?

I have pre-existing conditions and I pay a crap load for Cobra payments to maintain coverage. I'm doubt this will help.