A short while ago, the wire service put out (and everyone chimed in) that President Obama had signed the Affordable Health Care for America Act (as it is apparently now being called,) into law. Hurray! It’s a great day for America! Now if we could please find out what we just bought into?
The same rehash has been playing over and over again on the media. 16 million more get Medicare. Children won’t be saddled with Pre-Existing Conditions. Most (but not all) Americans will have to have health insurance, and those who are without coverage now because of pre-existing conditions can expect to be able to get insurance via a high-risk pool until more of the bill kicks in, a few years down the line. Could it possibly be more vague? Perhaps. Maybe if they just left it at that it’s “really gonna be good for everybody — you wait and see!”
Even what is being provided is not clear. What criteria is it that determines which 16 million get Medicare? When do they get it? Must they apply, or is it automatic? When do most (but not all) Americans have to purchase health insurance by? What if they can’t afford it? What are the exemptions; who doesn’t have to get health insurance? How much is the high-risk pool going to cost for those with pre-existing conditions? When does that kick in, exactly, and how do people go about getting it?
Would that it was all there was to ask about. Yesterday, there was discussion explaining why lawyers are happy with the bill. Something about how they don’t have to accept mediation, that they can still sue in court, drag the doctor back through it all over again if they don’t like the result of the mediation. And while we’re at it, is Congress planning on addressing the current payment system’s faults and flaws, or at least start talking about extending it again? Now that the Big Moment has passed, what does any of it mean?
Perhaps Congress figures they’ll let us know when we need to know. There are a large number of people in this country who would really like to see some of that transparency right about now.