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    Right-Wingers Fuel Racism And Paranoia

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Insurance Bill Passes

The House approved sweeping legislation to guarantee Americans access to medical care for the very first time in history.

Naturally, 100% of Republicans voted no.

Time to sign a farewell card to Rush Limbaugh.

For those right-wingers like Thomas Lindaman that had to preempt their failure by saying the normal GOP "This is bad news...uh, for Obama" soundbite: Even if you're right, which you aren't, some things are more important than elections, which is something you people will never understand. And if some medical professionals quit because of this legislation: Good. FUCK those worthless people, because they clearly chose their jobs for the wrong reasons.

If insurance companies will still be demonized: Good. They still deserve it. This reform isn't perfect (still no public option or single payer yet), but for the first time, our health care system (or "Obamacare" as you corn-humpers call it) will be just a little less embarrassing.

You right-wingers had your chance to bring something to the table, and you accomplished the usual: Nothing. Just like so many times before, the Conservatives accomplish absolutely nothing that betters this country, or the world. Stick a fork in you guys. This reform isn't perfect, but it's a start. You say the Democrats only provided a Band-Aid for a broken leg? You backward fucks never even provided a BAND-AID for decades. Your ideas were laughable ("Lower malpractice suits! Crush unions!") at best. But that was absolutely no surprise and definitely expected, since you people seem to think that going to the doctor when you are sick is a privilege.

If you Conservatives REALLY want to make our health system a completely objectivist and "free market" system, you should be pushing for ER's to refuse treatment to people who cannot pay for anything. Then you would reach your utopia where only the "responsible" people who can afford their health care, get it. Surely that's better than "Odumbacare", as you totally creative and original right-wingers call it, right?

Below is what Americans can expect from this reform (via Reuters). As you can see, it hasn't "already been tried." Oh, and there's no death panels, either:

WITHIN THE FIRST YEAR OF ENACTMENT *Insurance companies will be barred from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Lifetime coverage limits will be eliminated and annual limits are to be restricted. *Insurers will be barred from excluding children for coverage because of pre-existing conditions. *Young adults will be able to stay on their parents' health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college. *Uninsured adults with a pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain health coverage through a new program that will expire once new insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014. *A temporary reinsurance program is created to help companies maintain health coverage for early retirees between the ages of 55 and 64. This also expires in 2014. *Medicare drug beneficiaries who fall into the "doughnut hole" coverage gap will get a $250 rebate. The bill eventually closes that gap which currently begins after $2,700 is spent on drugs. Coverage starts again after $6,154 is spent. *A tax credit becomes available for some small businesses to help provide coverage for workers. *A 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps goes into effect on July 1. WHAT HAPPENS IN 2011 *Medicare provides 10 percent bonus payments to primary care physicians and general surgeons. *Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get a free annual wellness visit and personalized prevention plan service. New health plans will be required to cover preventive services with little or no cost to patients. *A new program under the Medicaid plan for the poor goes into effect in October that allows states to offer home and community based care for the disabled that might otherwise require institutional care. *Payments to insurers offering Medicare Advantage services are frozen at 2010 levels. These payments are to be gradually reduced to bring them more in line with traditional Medicare. *Employers are required to disclose the value of health benefits on employees' W-2 tax forms. *An annual fee is imposed on pharmaceutical companies according to market share. The fee does not apply to companies with sales of $5 million or less. WHAT HAPPENS IN 2012 *Physician payment reforms are implemented in Medicare to enhance primary care services and encourage doctors to form "accountable care organizations" to improve quality and efficiency of care. *An incentive program is established in Medicare for acute care hospitals to improve quality outcomes. *The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the government programs, begin tracking hospital readmission rates and puts in place financial incentives to reduce preventable readmissions. WHAT HAPPENS IN 2013 *A national pilot program is established for Medicare on payment bundling to encourage doctors, hospitals and other care providers to better coordinate patient care. *The threshold for claiming medical expenses on itemized tax returns is raised to 10 percent from 7.5 percent of income. The threshold remains at 7.5 percent for the elderly through 2016. *The Medicare payroll tax is raised to 2.35 percent from 1.45 percent for individuals earning more than $200,000 and married couples with incomes over $250,000. The tax is imposed on some investment income for that income group. *A 2.9 percent excise tax in imposed on the sale of medical devices. Anything generally purchased at the retail level by the public is excluded from the tax. WHAT HAPPENS IN 2014 *State health insurance exchanges for small businesses and individuals open. *Most people will be required to obtain health insurance coverage or pay a fine if they don't. Healthcare tax credits become available to help people with incomes up to 400 percent of poverty purchase coverage on the exchange. *Health plans no longer can exclude people from coverage due to pre-existing conditions. *Employers with 50 or more workers who do not offer coverage face a fine of $2,000 for each employee if any worker receives subsidized insurance on the exchange. The first 30 employees aren't counted for the fine. *Health insurance companies begin paying a fee based on their market share. WHAT HAPPENS IN 2015 *Medicare creates a physician payment program aimed at rewarding quality of care rather than volume of services. WHAT HAPPENS IN 2018 *An excise tax on high cost employer-provided plans is imposed. The first $27,500 of a family plan and $10,200 for individual coverage is exempt from the tax. Higher levels are set for plans covering retirees and people in high risk professions. ------------

The above is what the Conservatives will be running against in 2010. Ingenious, isn't it?

Well, they've got the Teabagger vote locked down. If the private, for-profit, health insurance model cannot provide affordable health insurance to everyone who WANTS or NEEDS it, then it should go away and be replaced by something that can. Understand? At this point, the mandate seems to be the most controversial aspect of the plan, and the most likely to be repealed. Once it is, we are that much closer to single-payer. Raising the fines is not going to happen, unless the insurance companies start twisting arms. If even one American dies because they "couldn't afford" health care, then the system needs changing.

You right-wing cowards that kick the sick in the stomach are a disgrace. There are some things you CANNOT let the market decide.


Covering some Quick Hits that Thomas Lindaman wrote (on a SATURDAY NIGHT since he has no social life):

1. The stimulus package is helping. Since this is something Obama actually had some control over (unlike the Olympics or Copenhagen Climate Summit), naturally Conservatives won't credit him for it. GFY.

2. As far as Charlie Rangel: The people calling for him to step down from his chairmanship are Democratic members of Congress. When Democrats are accused of offenses, they resign or at least give up their power (Spitzer, Rangel) whereas when Republicans are accused of improprieties, they stonewall and try to keep them in office (Sanford, Ensign, Abramoff, Delay, Vitter).

One of the biggest differences you see between Republicans and Democrats, is Democrats are willing to call out dumbasses and douchebags within our own party, Republicans are not. Republicans are the last people to talk about scandals and corruption.

Steve Benen has an amusing piece on this here: