Flo & Bo haven't yet taken advantage of guest bloggers, and this piece on healthcare insurance reform, like the package itself, is a hybrid.
The actual bill is 1,000 pages long, tough reading even for wonky wonks. So I'm passing along some information I received this morning from David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Obama.
Mr. Axelrod is the father of a 25 year old daughter who suffers from severe epilepsy. Prior to the advent of the newest epilepsy drugs, his daughter experienced daily seizures so severe that she suffered brain damage. She's only now beginning to have stable, quiet brain, and the Axelrods are discovering what her true abilities and potential may be. (This wasn't in Mr. Axelrod's e-mail- it's information I read a few months ago when Newsweek did a special report on epilepsy.) I think it's important information to know because unlike members of Congress and other long-term governmental employees, Mr Axelrod knows first-hand what it means to battle for coverage and live in fear that a family member might not get needed care.
I'm a parent who has faced concerns like these. And while I can't know or understand every single nuanced thing in the healthcare insurance reform bill, I'm very sure that Mr. Axelrods's concerns align very closely with mine. The concerns I worry about, now and in the future, look a lot like the Axelrod's, not because I have a severly handicapped adult child. But because I could. Any one of us could face a catastrophic illness or event that forever changes our ability to secure healthcare in the system we currently have.
You should base your decisions about whether reform measures are good things or bad things for you, your family, and your country based on the changes that are proposed. It's helpful to remember that making healthcare affordable for everyone makes you safer, too. Without vaccines, some members of your Bible Study group will die. Some children in your kid's Girl Scout troops will too. Having basic, affordable healthcare for all citizens is not the same as subsidizing everyone's luxury vacation. Nor does it mean pulling the plug on Grandma.
Be wary of rumors and ideas that are circulating but are NOT part of the bill before the Congress. The only things that can become law--and affect you and your healthcare--are the items that are addressed in the bill itself.
Snopes.com is a good site for learning what is true, partially true, and not true at all. You should check on the things that don't seem right to you. Be sure any information that concerns you is in context. Beware of short, scary soundbites. Look to see who said it, when, and if it makes sense to you when you have all the facts.
These points explain what will change if the Congress passes the reform measures that are before them. I've used them to evaluate the proposed changes and form my decision to support the bill before Congress.
From Mr. Axelrod's e-mail:
8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/