HCR: What They Are Trying To Obstruct

If you only heard the John Boehner and Mitch McConnell sound bites, you’d have plenty of reason to wonder if the current healthcare reform bill on the table was evil or not. A lot of politicians are effectively putting their jobs on the line depending on how all of this shakes out over the next few months and years. But consider what is going to immediately take effect with the passage of this bill into law, and it makes one wonder what all the controversy is really about:

Eliminating Lifetime Caps: No longer will insurance agencies be allowed to drop a policyholder simply for outliving their coverage. There are some medical conditions that can cost millions of dollars in treatment and care over a policyholder’s lifetime, where the person actually lives a decent life. Should this person be thrown out of treatment or into bankruptcy just because they have a horrible but maintainable medical condition?

Insurance is always a gamble for either side: the overwhelming majority of policyholders NEVER cost more than the services they pay for in premiums, and thus they are mostly very profitable. But some insurance customers will far exceed their lifetime value because of circumstance or plain old bad luck. Accidents and diseases strike rich and poor with equal frequency, so why penalize someone just because they don’t have the financial resources to save their own life? It is cynical to call that “survival of the fittest” in a country that espouses equal opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you pay for a health insurance policy that basically just collects your money in good times, then that same policy should pay off in bad times too. That’s a fair contract.

Eliminating Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions: It is barbaric to turn our backs on people who need healthcare. If you have cancer, then having health insurance is critical to your recovery. Then if you go into remission–which is the goal of treatment–you shouldn’t be penalized for being a survivor by being denied future coverage. Currently the insurance companies are insulated from future liabilities by being able to deny coverage to people who were previously sick. That’s like saying, “Congratulations, you’ve survived your struggle against a life-threatening disease, but now you are on your own. Good luck if you ever get sick again, but you are dead to us now.”

This is especially important to children, who we claim to treasure more than anything else in this country. The same people who are against this reform are the same people who rant and rave against passing the national debt on to the future of this nation–the children. They want to protect our childrens’ futures by not saddling them with debt, but could care less if those same kids get sick and die from lack of resources and access to quality care. It makes no sense. Children come into this world with total innocence, and they deserve a chance to grow up and fix all the problems we’ve created.

Expanded Coverage For Dependent Children: This gives parents the option of covering their non-student dependents up to the age of 26. The current age limit is 21, unless they are enrolled as full-time students. Today’s economy has altered the playing field for young people, and employer-provided insurance doesn’t exist in abundance like it used to. And besides, do you know many graduates who come out of school with a job at all these days? That’s not their fault, it’s ours. So we owe them a better chance. It doesn’t mean they get free insurance, just the opportunity to have paid access. There’s a huge difference. It’s not an entitlement, it is an option.

Small Business Tax Credits: This sounds like a completely right-wing, pro-business idea. And it is. Republicans are always screaming for tax breaks and aid to small businesses, and this is exactly that. For a small company to compete for top talent, they need to offer benefits that are competitive with large corporations. Health insurance costs can destroy the existence of a small business, so why not give them a hand? I dare one single Republican to call this a “re-distribution of wealth”, when all it can do is help create jobs, and encourage the start-up of innovative new companies in the United States.

Preventive Care: Checkups, routine testing, and immunizations can all catch, diagnose, and prevent diseases early and cut down on the cost of treatment in the future. So the current HCR bill provides for full-coverage of these kinds of doctor’s visits. All it does is protect the insurance companies’ liabilities–the customers they have contracted with to insure care for. The people who pay the premiums finance the high salaries of the insurance company CEOs, and their collective profitability drives shareholder returns. Don’t kill the golden goose by ignoring it, encourage it to live a long and prosperous life at least until it qualifies for Medicare.

Appeals Process: If you feel that your insurance company is unfairly denying your claim you should have some recourse to appeal and protect the rights that you have paid for. It doesn’t mean you will always win, but there shouldn’t be the current draconian system of the insurance company having the final word. That runs contrary to the American way of life. There would be an independent arbitrator that mediates these kinds of disagreements, just like in sports. Why is it we care more about ballplayers getting fair contracts than we do the average American citizen getting fair treatment by their health insurance company? An insurance company has gobs of money (ours) to hire top lawyers to fight these cases, and the average citizen is almost helpless by comparison, and needs an impartial advocate on behalf of the truth. Something tells me the legal lobby is behind the resistance to this reform.

Close The “Doughnut Hole”: For seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D Drug Coverage “gap”, this reform will provide  help to pay for prescriptions. Otherwise seniors will be less likely to receive their medications, thus increasing their risk of developing diseases or great health complications, and then requiring more financial resources for care. This is an excellent way to keep healthcare costs down, no matter what anyone says to the contrary.

Now, will someone please explain what the hell is so controversial about any of that?

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