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Debunking Health Care Reform Myths In The 11th Hour

While this blog was written one day prior to a watered version of the health care reform act moving to its final vote, there are still many in the U.S. who continue to wade through the misconceptions. Far from following the health care  models of other countries and after over fifty years of fighting for some form of reform, if you're a 'dummy' like me, you may still not be as knowledgeable as you'd like regarding this revolutionary new legislation. However when dealing with the facts on some of the major issues, I was able to research some of the more topical myths that can be debunked. 

A Government Take-over.  Dissimilar to Canada and Britain, the government will not take over hospitals or other privately run health care businesses - and physicians will not become government employees.  The U.S. government intends to help those who purchase insurance from private companies, but not pay all the bills like the system in Canada. Medicare and Medicaid will stay in tact, and the government would create health insurance exchanges for those who have to buy insurance on their own. This will be done so that Americans will be able to comparison-shop.

Employer insuranceEmployer insuranceEmployers Don't Need To Provide Insurance. Employers will not be required to buy insurance for employees, but larger employers with more than 50 workers may be subject to fines if they don't provide insurance. Congress apparently wants to encourage employers to offer insurance to all their employees, Fines will be issued to larger employers if their employees buy insurance on the exchanges and qualify for a low-income credit. Fines will be based on a sliding scale according to the number of employees, 50 and above.

Insurance Companies Will Refuse Certain Coverage. By 2014, when the exchanges open, insurers won't be able to deny customers for pre-existing conditions. There will also be minimum services they must cover and they will have to pay out a certain percentage of premiums for patient care. This is not to say that insurance companies won't be able to charge more for those insured that require pre-existing conditions.

Insurance premiums will continue to increase.  The bill will prevent health insurance from escalating at the current high double digit percentages. For the four out of five who get insurance through their employers, the savings would land in the 0 to 3 percent range by 2016, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Those who buy insurance on their own and don't qualify for government subsidies would incur a maximum increase of 13% (but the high end would be for policies that offer premium services).

Increase The Deficit. The most recent estimate of the plan, released by the Congressional Budget Office, said that it would spend $940 billion over 10 years. But new taxes, penalties and cost savings would offset that spending, the CBO said. So overall  - the plan pays for itself, dropping the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years. Obama has said the plan will save more than $1 trillion in the second 10 years, but that estimate, according to the CBO, is highly speculative.

Medicaid Will Be Restricted. Medicaid, a joint federal-state program for the poor, will cover all of the poor, instead of just a few groups. Right now, to qualify for Medicaid, a person has to be poor and also disabled, elderly, pregnant or a child. Under the new plan, all poor adults would qualify.


Abortions Will Be Covered. The government won't pay for elective abortions. But under the Senate plan, people will be able to buy insurance that covers abortion on the insurance exchanges, as long as the insurance company pays for the services with patient premiums, not taxpayer subsidies. Medicaid has an exemption for cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Creating Death Panels. Numerous media outlets have now debunked right-wing claims that the House health care reform bill would encourage euthanasia of the elderly, including Sarah Palin's claim -- forwarded by the conservative media -- that the bill would create a "death panel" and the related claim -- initiated by Betsy McCaughey -- that the bill would "absolutely require" that seniors on Medicare undergo end-of-life counseling "that will tell them how to end their life sooner." Media Matters for America has identified more than 40 instances of media reporting that these claims are false.

A Universal Health Care Bill. Based on the final bill being watered down, what will become law is neither universal health care nor universal health insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office:

    * Total uninsured in 2019 with no bill: 54 million.
    * Total uninsured in 2019 with Senate bill: 24 million.

Will Lead To Socialism. The same was said about Social Security back in the 40s and Medicare in the 60s. But what was proven over the course of the last 60 years, both of these programs were actually responsible for lifting millions of people out of poverty and have lived longer lives as a result.

 
Need To Start Over. On March 17, MyBarackObama.com issued the following YouTube video, with the message, "if we fail to act on health reform, everything stays the same, right? Wrong. If we turn back now, the health care system we currently have will quickly start to unravel.



I am sure there are many other myths that can be debunked. So I ask the readers to post those that I have not covered in this blog. Whether you are on the right or left of this debate, it is important that we work with the facts versus 'scare tactic' mentality and politically-twisted logic. Health care has proven successful in countries that pay dearly for it - and at greater costs than the watered down U.S. bill that will be passed into law. I just hope that after we are on the other side of the vote, and the dust settles, these debunked myths will fade quickly and we can all deal with the pressing matters of living longer and healthier lives.

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Ron Callari
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Comments
Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Thank you

If only more people brought attention to the TRUE aspects of this bill.

kudos to you

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

health care reform

Get a job not a handout. You are a marxist.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

I have read so many

I have read so many negatives about healthcare reform that this is refreshing to read some of the myths debunked with research and honesty. I have felt that all of this propaganda by the republicans is done as there is too much for them, lobbiysts, Dr.'s, and the healthcare industry to lose! Otherwise why would they not want this to pass? We cannot continue to sustain our Health Care at these ever increasing rates that insurance companies are charging. In reality they are the ones that dictate to us the type of care we receive by telling us we have to go to a Dr or Specialist in network otherwise we pay even higher costs. If we are diagnosed with a catastrophic illness insurance companies have the right to increase premiums so exhorbitantly we can't afford them but we can't afford to switch due to pre-existing illnesses. It has been a good experience for me to read that not everyone is bashing our President for trying to do what he feels will be for the good of the American people even if they don't see it.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Hogwash

The "plan pays for itself". Pure hogwash!

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

health care

Thank you so much for a well written synopsis. Please post this on craig list in "rants and raves" and every where else people are spreading wrong information.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

health care reform

I'm tired of paying thousands per year for health insurance (work sponsored) and still having to pay out thousands out of pocket for co-pays, non-covered services, co-insurance, deductibles and $210 monthly for MY part of prescriptions I supposedly have good insurance and make good money working full-time but still have to worry about whether I can afford to go to the doctor since I know I have to pay $35 up front plus whatever the prescriptions cost and if the doctor sends me to another doctor I have to pay that one $35 plus more if the insurance company says Oh you're not on our preferred list so we're only going to cover 1/3 of your charge. That might wind up being over $100 for 1 day of medical care. Then I'll have to deal with the bills sent from the labs that the dr sent my labwork to and the x-ray charges plus the doctor who charged to read the x-ray. Will any of these changes help me or those like me who are doing all they can and still coming out behind? I owe everybody and their brother right now when I was off work almost a month for an illness they weren't sure what the cause was. So my pcp sent me to have xrays and scans, then to other doctors with other specialties who also ordered tests which were inconclusive until I finally got better on my own (not well but enough to start working again) I wound up one week having 5 doctor visits to different doctors ($175 BEFORE insurance) When they finally figure out what was wrong I spent another month and 1/2 off work for surgery and now am out of time off work, out of paid time off, and on short-term disability which won't cover the bills I must pay much less the bills I now have from all the health care I have needed for my condition. I have several threatening lawsuits for past due bills; I said go ahead--I own very little to get since the bank and I own my car, I rent a studio apartment that is furnished. My books and clothing if sold would fetch very little money, so there is nothing for them to get. Everything I had worth anything was already sold to try to pay bills...

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Med student

Hate to say this, but your information is incorrect.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Yet another attempt

at convolution, what the heck is everyone so numb that you cant figure it out for yourself. The boomer's are retiring, they want a free ride when it comes to health care. It has been about them since the 60's and you folks just don't get it.

Look weather this passes or not some facts need to be clear. Facts like this writer has only scratched the surface like most who are trying to inform themselves. If you are so naive to think you can rely on someone else for the true stipulations in the bill then...........

Bottom line is it is not constitutional to force people to buy something, ANYTHING.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Re: Med student

Why don't you tell us which aspect of the information is incorrect?

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

hogwash

Now, that was a well thought out response.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Everyone who has posted up

Everyone who has posted up something critical about this article:

Explain why. Don't just say "You are wrong." Explain WHY this article is wrong. Otherwise, you just look ignorant, no offense.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Which part of ...

an increasing number of jobs do not offer insurance plans anymore, do you not understand. I bet you call yourself a Christian, too.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Not constitutional to force purchase

Automobile drivers are required to carry insurance. Do you want to drive on a street full of uninsured motorists?

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

The writer needs no explaining.

You all need to know the facts for yourself. Read the bill and your constitution then tell us were "we the people" can force insurance on others poor or wealthy.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Really too much?

940 billion over ten years for healthcare reform seems expensive but we spent over 700 billion this year on our defense department. Maybe we should only spend 600 billion on defense and then we can pay for healthcare.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

State laws and insurance.

Not our employees at the federal government. Please make the difference between laws and amendments thanks.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Healthcare Reform or communist take over

Are you on the democratic payroll?

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Are you serious?

This is about a constitutional ammendment not the thousands that drive around you every day un-insured. Reguardless of the "states laws" that are in place.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Constitutional Amendment? Really?

No, it's not about a Constitutional Amendment. Clearly, you have no idea how the Constitution actually gets amended if you make a statement like that.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

This is a layman's persuasion...

It is easy to say one way or the other...but the devil's in the details.

A government take over - thi bill may not directly lead to a government take over, but the process ensures that the government has total authority over its citizens.

Employers don't need to provide insurance - From my understanding, this is correct since the fine that many companies will face is smaller than the cost of ensuring their employers. The author cannot just make this claim (and many others) without inserting a little more fact checking.

Insurance premiums will continue to rise - they will continue to rise unless something is done. My insurance has not risen substantially since last year...so they are not rising everywhere by double digits. Of course the author even admitted that some will for certain experience a 13% increase.

Increase the deficit - This one is hard to figure. We already know that Medicare and Social security are in trouble and we will have to raise the deficit to pay for them. So it is kind of strange that you are denying historical facts. The only way not to raise the deficit is to decrease the quality of care...but the author dosen't mention that one.

Abotions will be covered - of course they will be! The good news is that they don't look to be covered more than they are today. So abortion coverage will not increase nor will it decrease. All in all...abortions will be covered.

Universal health care - Most people will have coverage at the expense of others. I'm not saying that is good or bad...but it is what it is. It is universal health care.

Will lead to socialism - This bill alone does not ensure socialism. Mandating that others buy something because they are citizens does not promote freedom and shackles the citizens and makes them more dependent on the government.

Overall, the author gives a sorry analysis of the myths and does a lousy job of disproving the myths. This analysis makes me think that the author is parisan and lazy.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

did you even read the bill?

did you even read the bill? BECAUSE YOU ARE WRONG ON 90% OF WHAT YOU WROTE

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Health Care

What are the provisions for the illegal aliens or the undocumented aliens?

dodger

dodger7215@verison.net

Mar 20, 2010
by always amazed

Let's be Honest

Healthcare for Dummies is the right name for what's going on in this
12th hour.

Ron sees it the way he wants to, gotta be a liberal koolaid drinker. That's okay, both extremes have their sheeple.

An honest administration and legislative branch, wanting real health care reform, would first undo all the giveaways to big PHARMA and others, already included in laws previously passed by REP AND DEM congressional vote-buyers, and then tackle the waste and fraud in the daily Medicare/Medicaid operations.

Sick the IRStapo on those cheats, not on the people, the victims who will be paying for this continuing DC scam for generations to come.!

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Vindictiveness and hatred in contemporary American politics

I continue to be amazed at the vindictiveness and hatred displayed by most spokespersons of the far right and some of the far left in America. There was some good advice given by a little known 18th century German political writer, Ludwig Boerne (1786-1837): "If you must hate, if hatred is the leaven of your life, which alone can give flavor, then hate what should be hated: falsehood, violence, selfishness."

It would be good, if all these folks who find simple slogans and misrepresentations satisfactory for action, to remember another writing from Boerne: "The difference between LIBERTY and liberties is as great as betwen GOD and gods."

Twentieth century Germany should have, and Twenty-first century America OUGHT to be especially sensitive to what Boerne forsaw and warned against. I've always said that if American ever surrendered to its dark side, the Nazis would be made to appear as amateurs. Better, I think, we should try harder to hear those "angels of our better nature" so beautifully and properly appealed to by Abraham Lincoln.

For myself, I join another historical figure, William Blake (1757-1827), English poet and artist, in asserting that --
"I care not whether Man is Good or Evil; all that I care is whether he is a Wise Man or a Fool. Go, put off Holiness and put on Intellect. . .

In some hope,
The Old History Professor

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

the government cant fix this.

We need to find way to make healthcare more affordable, but almost every program run by the government is either bankrupt, incompetently run or provides minimum quality service to the people (UPS, SS, Medicare). What in the world make anyone think that the same politicians who have been solely responsible for running the all these (failing) government programs of the past could possibly create a whole new, all encompassing program that will be any better designed? Past behavior is the best indicator of future performance…and the back office deals are still being made…and we will suffer for it.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

America is better as a Communist Country

America is better as a Communist country.

This health care bill is a step in the right direction to bring about workers rights.

Most peole who don't want health care are right-wing nut jobs.

SEIU, The Working Famlies Party, The Democratic Party, The United Nations and the Communist Party USA all support a better America through health care for all.

Bring about change by uniting workers. Free America from capitalist control. Take back America from the banks, insurance, oil and manufacturing capitalists.

DESTROY THE CAPITALISTS - VOTE FOR HEALTH CARE

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

The writer needs some facts -- of US constitutional law

Having read both the bill and the constitution (the later for 40 years) and the body of supreme court decisions that define and clarify the constitution for us, I suggest that "the writer" go look at the dozen or so definitive SC opinions that have, over the past couple of centuries, interpreted the commerce clause, the necessary and proper clause, and a few others to support the delegated powers of the federal congress to pass legislation which compels the citizens of the states to comply with such legislation as may be "necessary and proper" in the opinion of the elected representatives of the people (read that last phrase carefully) to insure the health and welfare of those citizens.

Moreover, "the writer" might also want to look at the opinions of the court which held that "nullification" of federal laws by state legislatures was not, with certain specific exceptions, constitutionally permissable. Any state wanting to push the matter to the limit might also want to consider the reaction of Abraham Lincoln, the outcome of the civil war, and the subsequent court opinions which hold the 10th amendment (suddenly discovered by the political right today) to be nothing other than a restatement of the principle of the delegated and reserved powers language of the constitution, and that it held no such states' rights interpretation as many Republican state legislators are asserting by passing state laws attempting, in anticipation of its passage, to nulify the health care reform legislation. It is, indeed, unconstitutional -- the actions of the reactionaries of the state legislatures, not the federal health care reform legislation.

The Old History Professor

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Wrong

This is the most inaccurate blog to date. Medicare will be going broke soon. The cut in Medicare payments will have the majority of medical people to stop taking medicare patients. You can't control what medical people do or will that be next a medical system controlled by the young Marxist.

We are really in trouble in the once great Republic. VA failed. AMTRAK failed. USPS failed. BIA failed. Socializing banks, autos and now health care and $trillions in debt. There is no way any government program can pay for itself or break even. Let me know of one.

LK

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

This is ludicrous!

JAMA published a survey this week that up to 46% of physicians currently practicing would leave medicine if this passes. The so-called "doc fix" has been stripped out of the bill due to cost. Yesterday Pelosi said that doc fix would be addressed seperately after this bill is passed. Guess what? The "savings" will be wiped out by the additional $300,000,000,000.00 cost of doc fix. This is all smoke and mirrors!

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

poorly written

Not a very accurate synopsis of anything here, the anonymous guy did a fairly good job breaking down a lot of the flaws. The biggest flaw I noticed was he said it was going to pay for itself. When ever has the proposed amount ever turned out even being remotely close to what it turns out to be. Most Americans still believe the bailout was only 700 billion still. and its already above 23 trillion. This bill also has provisions to garnish peoples wages and take their tax returns if they do not get insurance. It also makes you buy something from a private corporation.