Very simply, health care reform in America will be spread out over the next eight years, with all aspects implemented by 2018. The laws contain provisions to protect those with pre-existing medical conditions, as well as "sin taxes" to penalize those who willingly put themselves at risk of disease (tanning salons, for example, will begin to charge a 10 percent tax).
In addition, insurance law will be changed dramatically. Insurance companies will be required to continue providing insurance to the sick, against the current practices of some companies that drop policyholders when they develop a disease. Administrative and executive expenditures by insurance companies will be public knowledge, allowing for more transparency in the industry.
Health care reform doesn't only extend to insurance companies, though they are by far the most affected. Chain restaurants will be required to display nutritional information, as will companies that operate vending machines. The goal is to educate consumers, hoping that they will become healthier as more information is available.
Finally, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the newly passed laws will reduce the deficit by up to $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years and that revenue will exceed spending within the next decade.
For more information, visit Healthreform.gov.
It’s Just What’s Needed
Jesse Goldberg, Associate News Editor
After a much-too-long bitter partisan battle, this March saw the passage of two bills that will positively reform the health care system in this country.
I am not going to spend too long arguing that reform, in general, is necessary. I think that is fairly self-evident. We've heard the narratives of the individual who is dropped from his or her plan after developing a costly illness, the person who can't receive coverage because of pre-existing conditions and the millions of Americans who are, out of necessity, uninsured.
We've heard that without reform, Medicare will be unsustainable, that health care is too big of a chunk of our Gross Domestic Product and that rising health insurance costs are hurting small businesses. We need change; that is not what we should be arguing about. The question is: Will this change do us any good?
Well, this new legislation addresses all of the aforementioned concerns. Effective immediately, insurers will be prohibited from dropping a person if or when he or she becomes ill. By 2014, nobody can legally be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions and rates may not increase because of health status, gender or other factors.
By 2019, approximately 32 million uninsured Americans will be covered by this legislation, though another 23 million will remain uninsured. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal deficit will decrease by just over $1 trillion in the next two decades (which is fiscally advantageous, by the way!) and there will be tax credits offered to small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees.
Some will contend that this legislation actually increases costs because insurance companies will not be allowed to deny anyone coverage. This concern, however, is well met by more people buying insurance equating to more sources of premiums for insurers and the creation of health insurance exchanges to increase the competitiveness of insurance packages.
Finally, there is still strict ideological opposition to the "socialist" legislation. Socialism can be, but it is not necessarily bad. This is not an example of the government trying to take over our lives by forcing us to purchase health insurance. This is an example of the government protecting our implicit right to quality health care (Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) against the uncertainties from the prospect of an unregulated, completely free market economic system.
Insofar as it is the government's responsibility to protect the rights of its people, then, this legislation is change for the better.
No Socialist System Works
iDoug Sinski, Business Manager
Health care is just one more thing the Government shouldn't have its hand in
The Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, just shows that the federal government wants a say in everything that you do, down to such personal affairs as how you wish to maintain your own personal health.
Like anything that comes out of a liberal House and Senate, this bill is full of government spending, waste and interferes with the market system. Ultimately, it's just one more way in which the government is telling you how to spend your hard-earned money.
This bill contains numerous provisions that, while they seem noble and idealistic (the forte of the democrats), will only serve to decrease the amount of jobs, make health care more expensive for everyone and hurt the people it was intended to help.
Let's start with a more widely known provision, one that is most relevant to us students: Everyone must purchase a government-approved health insurance plan, or face a fine. So, if I am a healthy, 27-year-old non-smoker who still doesn't want to settle down in a career, can't find one or is still exploring employment options, I would have to purchase a health insurance plan which would cost more than $1,000 a year.
Now imagine that since I am healthy, I don't even need to go to the doctor outside of a routine physical. Talk about just handing money over to the big insurance companies! And if I refuse to buy insurance, I have to write a check to the government as a penalty. For some reason, I can't decide to whom I'd rather make out the check…