Monday, March 22, 2010

A summary of the health care expansion bill

Yesterday was a historic day in the states as the long-awaited, long-debated health care expansion bill was passed. The Associated Press is distributing a summary of what the bill contains.

For the purposes of our blog what is most important is the expansion itself. Now Medicaid will cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Our snippet of the AP article comes from KPHO in Phoenix.

COST: $940 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

HOW MANY COVERED: 32 million uninsured. Major coverage expansion begins in 2014. When fully phased in, 95 percent of eligible Americans would have coverage, compared with 83 percent today.

INSURANCE MANDATE: Almost everyone is required to be insured or else pay a fine. There is an exemption for low-income people. Mandate takes effect in 2014.

INSURANCE MARKET REFORMS: Starting this year, insurers would be forbidden from placing lifetime dollar limits on policies, from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions, and from canceling policies because someone gets sick. Parents would be able to keep older kids on their coverage up to age 26. A new high-risk pool would offer coverage to uninsured people with medical problems until 2014, when the coverage expansion goes into high gear. Major consumer safeguards would also take effect in 2014. Insurers would be prohibited from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging them more. Insurers could not charge women more.

MEDICAID: Expands the federal-state Medicaid insurance program for the poor to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, $29,327 a year for a family of four. Childless adults would be covered for the first time, starting in 2014. The federal government would pay 100 percent of costs for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016. A special deal that would have given Nebraska 100 percent federal financing for newly eligible Medicaid recipients in perpetuity is eliminated. A different, one-time deal negotiated by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu for her state, Louisiana, worth as much as $300 million, remains.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Gradually closes the "doughnut hole" coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit that seniors fall into once they have spent $2,830. Seniors who hit the gap this year will receive a $250 rebate. Beginning in 2011, seniors in the gap receive a discount on brand name drugs, initially 50 percent off. When the gap is completely eliminated in 2020, seniors will still be responsible for 25 percent of the cost of their medications until Medicare's catastrophic coverage kicks in.

1 comment:

whitecollargreenspaceguy said...

New plan given to White House doubles savings from health care bill and pays for public option and cuts the carbon footprint of gov buildings by 50%‏‏

Here is a major proposal I just shared with GSA, GAO, EPA, Senator Levin's office and professors at Georgetown and GWU.
The fact that the federal government uses over a billion square feet of office at an efficiency level of only 30% borders on malfeasance from a budget and environmental viewpoint. Someone needs to let the White House know there is a way to pay for the public option.

This proposal would save the Federal government close to $50 billion per year enough to pay for the public option with only an executive order. We should get more congressman to sign on if we can show it is paid for and requires no new taxes or fees. New plan cuts overhead costs & carbon footprint of white collar workers by 50%. We can no longer afford to let all white-collar workers that still have jobs work banker's hours when we can work two shifts per day in government and private industry and cut our overhead costs in half. This simple paradigm shifts solves three problems: It jumpstarts economy and fights poverty, cuts pollution, reduces budget deficits. As an American, I would like to present my answer the the health care mess, global warming which actually should be called over-pollution, unemployment, empty buildings and state budget shortfalls.

The Federal government pays for well over one billion square feet of office space. Most office space is very expensive yet it sits unused 70% of the time because most white collar work is scheduled for only one shift per day or only 45 hours out of a 168 hour week. 30% efficiency is completely unacceptable in today's economic and ecological environment. Most buildings are open for 12 hours each day from 6 am to 6 pm. By keeping buildings open an additional 4 or 5 hours each day, we could schedule 2 shifts of white collar workers, thus increasing our efficiency by 100% and reducing our carbon footprint by 50%. We could cut the cost of overhead for each employee by 40 to 50%, half as much infrastructure, half as much office space, half as many computers and supplies. With the overhead for each of our 2 million Federal workers approaching $50,000 per year, the potential savings could be $50 billion per year, enough to pay for health care reform.