Immediate Benefits of Health Care Reform

One potential political problem with passing the Senate health care reform bill (and hopefully making some improvements through budget reconciliation) is that people will continue to hear the distortions from Republicans but won’t see many of the benefits for a few more years. Jonathan Cohn notes this problem and reminds us that there are real benefits which will be seen soon after passage of the health care reform bill:

These benefits will be abstractions when you run for reelection in the fall. The big structural changes to health care–the ones that guarantee good, affordable coverage for all–wouldn’t happen for several years. And without tangible benefits, voters will remain easy prey for Republican misinformation–the kind that nearly derailed reform over the summer and, undoubtedly, helped elect Brown on Tuesday.

But the people who constructed this reform plan aren’t stupid. They knew voters would be anxious to see results. And they designed the reform plan to produce such results. Health reform is full of what wonks call “deliverables”–tangible benefits scheduled to take effect mere months after the bill becomes law. Among them:

Seniors will see the Medicare “donut hole” start to shrink.

Families will get to keep kids on their policies past high school, until the kids are 26.

Preventative services will have “first-dollar” coverage, meaning you’ll pay nothing out-of-pocket–that’s right, nada, zilch–when you get a regular checkup.

People who are uninsurable because of high medical risks will get access to catastrophic policies, as a stopgap until full coverage becomes available in a few years.

The government will set up a website with information about different insurance plans, letting people compare benefits in standardized, plain English terms.

It will also make investments in the health care workforce–spending money to train or hire new primary care doctors, nurses, and direct care workers.

Insurers will have to fess up about how much money they divert from patient care to overhead and profits–and to set up systems for appealing coverage denials.

People will have the right to go to the emergency room–and women the right to see an obstetrician/gynecologist–without prior approval.

The list goes on.

It is possible people will not see the benefits on this list because people in Massachusetts, who see no reason to vote for a national plan similar to what they already have in their state, voted out of fear last week.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    yvonne says:

    What is really nthe issue here ? It must be political or personal,because for what I read Health Care is long pass due. The immediated benefits are great for different people.

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