Monday, March 22, 2010

Speak Up on Health Care Reform!


"We proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things."
--President Obama

I have been most bitterly annoyed by the series of TV commercials run on my local channels bashing the Congressional health care reform efforts. Many of these advertisements were sponsored by “fronts” for the insurance companies, and I find all of them deceptive and inflammatory.

According to CNN, over $57 million has been spent on advertising that tries to influence the health care debate. And remember, a lot of this money comes from the insurance premiums we pay now.

The average American pays over $1,000 per month for employer-sponsored health insurance, and as much as 1/3 of that goes to “administrative fees”, which includes advertising. I think that’s obscene.

So I was even more annoyed this morning to hear Sen. John McCain opine that Americans oppose health care reform 2-to-1. He failed to cite a source for his estimate.

I don’t believe it’s true, but if it is, then I think it’s important that all of us who do support health care reform take a moment to express our support to our representatives in Congress.

I am proud to say that both New Mexico Senators, Senator Jeff Bingaman and Senator Tom Udall, support health care reform. And my District 3 representative, Congressman Ben R. Luján, voted for it last night.

I have written all three to express my support.

If you don’t know who your representative is, or don’t know how to contact them, it’s easy to find out. Visit the following website, enter your zip code, and you’ll get the names and contact links for your Representative and your Senators:

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P.S. Wondering what the immediate benefits of the health care reform bill will be? After President Obama signs the bill, these 10 changes take effect immediately [source]:

  1. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage.
  2. Free preventative care for all.
  3. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states. Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
  4. Children will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until their 27th birthdays.
  5. No child under 19 will be excluded from plans because of preexisting conditions.
  6. Adults with preexisting conditions will be able to start shopping online for a plan in a national high-risk pool while waiting for insurance exchanges to get started.
  7. Small businesses can deduct as much as 50 percent of employees’ health benefits for tax purposes in 2009 and 2010.
  8. It will fill in the “donut hole” of Medicare prescription drug coverage with a rebate.
  9. Insurers will have to post their balance sheets online, listing administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
  10. And you can no longer be dropped from your insurance plan just because you get sick.

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