Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care Reform: Preexisting Conditions

As we said yesterday, anyone with Internet access and a brain who is genuinely interested in knowing the content of proposed health care reform legislation doesn't have to rely on what some loosely-wrapped bully with anger management problems is shouting. You can check it out yourself by reading the actual legislative proposals.

The first thing to understand about the current status of health care reform is that there is no "Obama bill," as such. Instead, there are more than two dozen specific legislative proposals, large and small, pending in Congress. As of this month, none -- zero -- have made it through all required committees. All proposals are still in the process of being written and studied and rewritten before they will be ready for an up-or-down vote at the committee level and, for those that survive, sent to the floor of the House or Senate for action.

The nearest bill to being ready for a floor debate is H.R. 3200 (also known as "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009"). The full text as it stands right now is here. If you make the effort to read the bill itself, you'll learn that H.R. 3200 does not 'encourage senior citizens to kill themselves', as Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Network claim, or set up "death panels" as Sarah Palin claims.

In fact, it does nothing like what the fear-mongering critics and townhall bullies falsely charge. They're counting on you not to take the time to check out the facts yourself. They think you're too stupid or lazy to consult primary sources.

Also as we've said before, Please Cut the Crap is doing yeoman work in taking the deeply deceptive claims of many secondary sources and comparing them with the reality of the actual words in the proposed legislation. For now, the main focus is on H.R. 3200, a House of Representatives version of health care reform that is the farthest along in the legislative process.

The bill is, however, lengthy. That became inevitable when Congress rejected our personal proposal for a three-sentence Health Reform Bill which we sent in on the back of a napkin. On our napkin, we wrote: "Everybody is eligible for Medicare or the same health insurance U.S. Senators have, whichever is better, regardless of age. The option is yours. Take one, or the other, or stick with what you have."

"Please Cut the Crap" is doing a great job of exposing the lies being spouted by health reform opponents. But we would like to focus on the positive aspects of H.R. 3200. Because of its length, it's helpful to read the House bill in small bites.

More's coming, but here's your first spoonful:
    A qualified health benefits plan may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion (as defined in section 2701(b)(1)(A) of the Public Health Service Act) or otherwise impose any limit or condition on the coverage under the plan with respect to an individual or dependent based on any health status-related factors (as defined in section 2791(d)(9) of the Public Health Service Act) in relation to the individual or dependent.
What this provision of H.R. 3200 means for many of our friends -- and everyone else, too -- is plain. They would have more options, not less.
  • One dear friend we're thinking of is a lawyer in the Middle West who just had prostate surgery after a very bad PSA. He's not the silk stocking kind of lawyer that crowds Wall Street. He's the Atticus Finch kind of lawyer who helps rescue old ladies from con artists, charges only what the client can afford, gets paid with tomatoes from the client's garden, and then, when he hears she's feeling poorly, shows up Saturday morning to mow her lawn and bring her a hot meal. If he loses his job or decides to move out of state to be nearer his new grandchild, he probably can still get some kind of health care coverage -- but future cancer treatments will be excluded unless something like H.R. 3200 is adopted.
  • If a recently widowed woman we know accepts her physician's suggestion that she should go through a few grief counseling sessions, when it comes time for health insurance policy renewal if H.R. 3200 was adopted, she wouldn't be forced to swallow an "exclusion from coverage" addendum for depression or other mental health treatment -- as we know others in the same situation have been forced to do by Blue Cross of Florida, among other private insurance companies. "Take it or it leave it," Blue Cross tells new arrivals in Florida when they try to switch their old Blue Cross of Some-Other-State to Florida.
  • If another friend of ours who is living on Pensacola Beach, and who beat breast cancer a year ago, wants to change insurers or for some reason moves out of the area, she still would be eligible for full health insurance coverage under H.R. 3200, with no "preexisting medical condition" exception. As it is now, this cancer survivor is paying almost as much for single person health coverage as most Americans pay monthly on their home mortgage. And she's stuck where she now lives for life if she wants to keep fully insured.
H.R. 3200 would change all of that by requiring health insurance policies to fully insure your health (as well as to make them portable, as we'll see later). There's more positive news in the primary source document of H.R. 3200, as we'll be pointing out in the near future. If you can't wait, great! Read the bill yourself, all the way through.

When you're done, you'll be more informed than any of the critics and protesters, like the bully with the Air Force hat, Sarah Palin, or even Newt Gingerich -- who deliberately misstated the bill's contents until he was punked by George Stephanopolous.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Campanella,

Please do not insult people who have served their country.


panicbean said...


I can assure you that Dr. Campanella had not one thing to do with this post.

I am LMAO while ROTF at that one.

Oh, and Barack Obama is still black.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Lori, that's your boss. I meant to say to:

Dear John,
Please do not insult people...

I'll be more careful in the future

Larry Winiarski said...

I'm completely in favor of health care reform, but having said that, I think there is a problem with this plan because people will wait to get sick, THEN purchase the insurance, and point out that pre-existing conditions must be covered clause in HR 3200. Savvy?

Some sociopaths (and I was married to one)
WILL do this unless there is a penalty.

Anonymous said...

Peanut Butter

I am brown but we not talking about skins here.

Also can you use influence to have this blog in spanish. too many words and I tell my friends we have someone working very hard for us to get insurance.



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