The Senate Heathcare bill passed. But what does it say?

The healthcare debate has been raging for months here in America. Unfortunately, though, the debate is centered on extremely polarized assumption on what exactly the healthcare bill will do. While some of this is generated through ecstatic comments from both sides of the issue, the sad reality is that getting clear-cut and honest facts on what the healthcare bill will include is extremely hard. The entire debate, if truly given shape, sense, and a impartial public face, I am convinced would boil down to a large number of obvious rules and regulations that almost anyone with a heartbeat can approve of. If one of this countries vital rights is the right to life, and the government is charged with protecting it, it seems beyond logical that the government should be closely involved in ensuring that people can afford and get access to life-care.

If you are wondering WHERE to find the supposedly landmark Senate health bill that was approved today, go here: http://help.senate.gov/BAI09M01_xml.pdf

I was saddened and amad that finding the bill was a massive task all on it’s own. How sad that something so pivotal and public seems to be done so privately. I have gone through about 180 pages and so far it makes sense. however, with over 2000 pages it’s sure to have a ton of useless pet projects.

A few high points from what I have been able to garner include:

  • Health Insurance companies (HIC) must impose NO lifetime limits on any coverage they offer. Duh- this seems beyond obvious. Coverage limits are as close as we can get to putting a price on life.
  • HIC’s cannot deny people healthcare based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Emphasis on HIC funding continuous health initiatives so healthcare is about staying healthy, not just fixing you up when your sick. Some of this new focus would include things such as weight loss, smoking cessation, diabetes care, exercise… common sense things that many health plans do not cover.
  • The immediate creation (once signed by president) of a high-risk insurance pool that would cover individuals who currently are denied healthcare based on pre-existing conditions.
  • The establishment of standards on how to provide accurate, succinct, and common language information to consumers. It even emphasizes how long a coverage information packet can be and how small the small print can get. This part also affects hospitals, in that each one must clearly present the cost of all their services. This is great, if passed we will be able to get information on not just which are the best hospitals in America, but which hospitals offer the best value. If anything, this will foster awesome competition based on clear information.
  • Steep penalties for misrepresentation of coverage information, or failing to provide information in the correct way, this one will cost $1,000 per enrollee, per incident.
  • While there will be federal guidelines to follow, the bill provides States with great amplitude both through regulation and funding, on ensuring that HIC in their districts are overseen locally.
  • Age in which a “child” is covered by a parent insurance is increased to 26. This makes alot of sense since most insurance policies today stop covering “children” over the age of 18, unless they are enrolled full time in college. But what if the family does not have enough money for college? Currently, the system drops young adults when they are most vulnerable economically.
  • Create the American Health Exchange System. This provision is a unique system that would open up competition of health plans to small business and even perhaps individuals. If HIC want to sell insurance policies to small businesses they would have to go through a Health Exchange System that would enforce standardized ways to easily disseminate and asses the value provided by any insurance policy.

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