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What's Really In The Health Care Reform Bill? (Part 2)

Fortune's Shawn Tully has read H.R. 3200 (and the companion Senate bill) and after 2,000 pages he's discovered the hidden truth's in the bill.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- In promoting his health-care agenda, President Obama has repeatedly reassured Americans that they can keep their existing health plans -- and that the benefits and access they prize will be enhanced through reform.

A close reading of the two main bills, one backed by Democrats in the House and the other issued by Sen. Edward Kennedy's Health committee, contradict the President's assurances. To be sure, it isn't easy to comb through their 2,000 pages of tortured legal language. But page by page, the bills reveal a web of restrictions, fines, and mandates that would radically change your health-care coverage.

If you prize choosing your own cardiologist or urologist under your company's Preferred Provider Organization plan (PPO), if your employer rewards your non-smoking, healthy lifestyle with reduced premiums, if you love the bargain Health Savings Account (HSA) that insures you just for the essentials, or if you simply take comfort in the freedom to spend your own money for a policy that covers the newest drugs and diagnostic tests -- you may be shocked to learn that you could lose all of those good things under the rules proposed in the two bills that herald a health-care revolution.

In short, the Obama platform would mandate extremely full, expensive, and highly subsidized coverage -- including a lot of benefits people would never pay for with their own money -- but deliver it through a highly restrictive, HMO-style plan that will determine what care and tests you can and can't have. It's a revolution, all right, but in the wrong direction.

He then details the 5 health care freedoms you'll loose under Obamacare.

1. Freedom to choose what's in your plan
2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs
3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage
4. Freedom to keep your existing plan
5. Freedom to choose your doctors

Read the whole article.

H/T: NewsBusters


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Comments (13)

The article can't be true K... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

The article can't be true Kevin. It would mean that Barry and Company are LYING TO US. Oh, the shock!

Of course Barry and Company... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Of course Barry and Company are lying, there lips were moving. Well, except maybe for Pelosi, I'm not sure her lips can do that any more.

Possibly the second best thing to come about because of this debate is the obvious lack of credibility of the President and Congress. I think most everyone is coming to conclusion that the truth is something they consider conditional.

Lose, Kevin, l-o-s-e. Not ... (Below threshold)
Lisa:

Lose, Kevin, l-o-s-e. Not loose. Love you.

All five of Mr. Tully's con... (Below threshold)
Victory is Ours:

All five of Mr. Tully's concerns are addressed here.

An example:

His first is "Freedom to choose what's in your plan." But 160 million Americans don't have that - their benefits are offered through their employer and determined by their employer. Millions more have some government program - Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP, or perhaps the VA or the Department of Defense - whose benefits are determined by law. The remaining people are either uninsured and have no choice on what's in their absence-of-a-plan, or are in the individual insurance market. The individual insurance market is one that Mr. Tully championed explicitly in his support for John McCain's plan. However, the experience of those purchasing from this free market ideal on Earth tell a different tale. A large portion of them do not get to choose what's in the plan either. A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund found:

Seventy-three percent of people who tried to buy insurance on their own in the last three years did not purchase a policy, primarily because premiums were too high. In addition, among adults with individual coverage or who tried to buy coverage in the past three years, 57 percent said it was very difficult or impossible to find coverage they could afford, 47 percent said it was very difficult or impossible to find a plan with the coverage they needed, and 36 percent were denied coverage or charged more because of a pre-existing condition, or had the condition excluded from their coverage.

So I'm afraid if you're not a CEO or in human resources, you're not enjoying this "freedom," unless you happen to be the lucky fraction of a percentage who makes a deal with an insurance company for the coverage you want. The irony with Mr. Tully's argument is that it ignores that in both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions bill as well as HR 3200, individuals and employees at small businesses will in fact be able to determine whether they want the standard level of coverage or some additional items at higher cost (the "premium" level benefit options). Apparently he only counts it freedom if you can remove some of your coverage, not gain more coverage that is currently unaffordable to you.

In this, Mr. Tully's spirit of self-determinism truly takes an odd shape. He decries the fact that a minimum standard of benefits will be set by the government. "The Senate bill would require coverage for prescription drugs, mental-health benefits, and substance-abuse services," he says - perhaps unaware of the fact that mental-health benefits and substance-abuse services are already a federal mandate. Freedom to choose your plan, in his mind, means the ability to chuck coverage to save money. To be sure, both the insurance industry and business have spent several years trying to do just that. American citizens, on the whole, have not. It is extraordinarily difficult to go onto the blogosphere, attend a town hall, or find a feature story in the mainstream media whose thesis is, "Woe is me. I have too much coverage for health care."

See the link above for thorough debunking of the remaining four.

And isn't Mr Tully the guy who wrote the editorial "Why McCain has the best health-care plan" last March? Yes, he is.

McCain was proposing a huge tax increase in the form of elimination of the tax break employees receive on employer-provided health insurance.

Vic

Marxomarxovich, take the no... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Marxomarxovich, take the no birth certificate bs and stick it where the sun meets your colon.

HR3200 panders to a portion... (Below threshold)
DJ:

HR3200 panders to a portion of the populace that (for the most part) is ignorant of the economics of health care. Initially taxes will be enacted on the rich to pay for it, and because the

Where's the mention of the impact of the 10s of millions of illegals to the system? What about limits on treatment? No talk of how doctors and hospitals get reimbursed. Are they going to be paid by the procedure versus the outcome? What about liability limits?

Oh yes, the progressives always retort with, you can have the 'public option' or you can keep your existing private insurance -- so long as you never want to change what you have at the moment the bill becomes a law. Pass HR3200 and there will be no private option after about a decade. It's not about a 'public option' but one of federalization with a back door to a full on failure like every other single payer system in existence.

I'm all for reforming health insurance, why not start with some low hanging fruit and institute some simple tort reform with limits on liability. Heck, maybe we could even get John Edwards to do a study for us.

re-submit (first paragra... (Below threshold)
DJ:

re-submit (first paragraph was chopped in previous attempt)

HR3200 panders to a portion of the populace that (for the most part) is ignorant of the economics of health care. Initially taxes will be enacted on the rich to pay for it, and because the less than 5% of the population the 'rich' is comprised of makes up such a small voting bloc, there's nothing they can do about it -- except -- take their money out of the system and go and play elsewhere. All this is before increased taxes must be eventually filtered down to all of us, as the level of spending this grandiose proposal requires is unsustainable without it.

Where's the mention of the impact of the 10s of millions of illegals to the system? What about limits on treatment? No talk of how doctors and hospitals get reimbursed. Are they going to be paid by the procedure versus the outcome? What about liability limits?

Oh yes, the progressives always retort with, you can have the 'public option' or you can keep your existing private insurance -- so long as you never want to change what you have at the moment the bill becomes a law. Pass HR3200 and there will be no private option after about a decade. It's not about a 'public option' but one of federalization with a back door to a full on failure like every other single payer system in existence.

I'm all for reforming health insurance, why not start with some low hanging fruit and institute some simple tort reform with limits on liability. Heck, maybe we could even get John Edwards to do a study for us.

"Freedom to choose what's i... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Freedom to choose what's in your plan."

80% of Americans are currently insured. Those 80% are told they 'can keep their plan, keep their doctor'. It's already been shown that the 'public option' is designed to end private insurance. From that point on, government will dictate what you get, how you get it, and when you get it.

What's so difficult to understand? Unless of course you like the kool aid.

What about the other freedo... (Below threshold)
Just John:

What about the other freedoms that will be "loosed"?

The freedom insurers have to deny coverage?
The freedom insurers have to cancel plans?
The freedom insurers have to raise rates?
The freedoms insurance bureaucrats have to choose what drugs are covered?
The freedom insurance bureaucrats have to choose your treatment options?

Just John -I've li... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Just John -

I've lived under military health care, and I've got insurance now. I'd rather go BACK to an active-duty military care level, than go 'forward' to what Obama's trying to foist off on us.

Every insurance plan will have limitations - there's no way around it. The question is how they handle exceptional cases - and exceptional cases are NOT the norm.

We've already gotten a hint about how Obama expects to handle 'exceptions'. Why give someone open heart surgery to prolong their life, when you can give 'em painkillers instead? Let them die, and decrease the load on the system...

JL: where in the bill does ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

JL: where in the bill does it say that people requiring heart surgery would be denied treatment?

The military health care you got was government run. Did it seem to function as a system? I've heard it's pretty good, the shitty VA hospitals notwithstanding.

Have you guys tried this li... (Below threshold)
James H:

Have you guys tried this line when debating health-care reform and single-payer with liberals?

"A government that denies you coverage for cancer can also deny you coverage for abortion."

Hyper...It... work... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Hyper...

It... worked. You've got to understand, it's designed to meet the needs of a cadre of healthy, active 18-to-45 year olds. You get sick? There's a bed (and a basin) to puke in. You hurt your ankle, they'll give you crutches. It is functional - and exceptional in war zones for trauma care.

Most people in the civilian sector wouldn't want to wait six months to see an optometrist, though...




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