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General News    H1'ed 11/9/09

We're Not There Yet, But Health-Care Legislation Takes Giant Step Forward

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2. IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED UNTIL EXCHANGE IS AVAILABLE (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL) Creates a temporary insurance program until the Exchange is available for individuals who have been uninsured for several monthsor have been denied a policy because of pre-existing conditions.

3. BANS LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGEProhibits health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage.

4. ENDS RESCISSIONSProhibits insurers from nullifying or rescinding a patient's policy when they file a claim for benefits except in the case of fraud.

5. EXTENDS COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 27TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS' INSURANCE Requires health plans to allow young people through age 26 to remain on their parents' insurance policy, at the parents' choice.

6. ELIMINATES COST-SHARING FOR PREVENTIVE SERVICES IN MEDICAREEliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program.

7. IMPROVES HELP FOR LOW-INCOME MEDICARE BENEFICIARIESImproves the low-income protection programs in Medicare to assure more individualsareable to access this vital help

8. PROVIDES NEW CONSUMER PROTECTIONS IN MEDICARE ADVANTAGE Prohibits Medicare Advantage plans from enrollees higher cost-sharing for services in their private plan than what is charged in traditional Medicare.

9. IMMEDIATE SUNSHINE ON PRICE GOUGINGDiscourages excessive price increases by insurance companies through review and disclosure of insurance rate increases.

10. CONTINUITY FOR DISPLACED WORKERSAllows Americans to keep their COBRA coverage until the Exchange is in place and they can access affordable coverage.

11. CREATES NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAMCreates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become functionally disabled.

12.HELP FOR EARLY RETIREESCreates a $10 billon fund to finance a temporary reinsurance program to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64.

13. COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERSIncreases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for a doubling of the number of patients seen by the centers over the next 5 years.

14. INCREASES NUMBER OF PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS.

According to ChuckL, at Washingtonwatch.com, The fact that the Constitution does NOT grant to congress the power to create or pass this legislation should have been the first and final point. FDR had something to say about that and was working on a constitutional amendment, a bill of rights of all Americans for health care and basic other sustenance, including employment, housing, and food, when he died. (I can't find a source on the Internet to verify this.) Eleanor's amazing Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 embraces this in Article 25, Section 1: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. . . .

Less than 24 hours after passage of the bill, and maybe even sooner, the Internet began to swell with irresistible offers of plans that are legit and can't be beat.

There's so much more to say about this flawed yet inchoate step in the direction of tending to our tired, poor, huddled masses yearning for what every person is entitled to, according to the U.N. declaration. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, in the process of rebuilding Western Europe after World War II, the United States established universal health care in Germany, first of all countries. What a stunning gesture. Who left us out in the cold?

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for Opednews.com since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)
 

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