Healthcare Reform Passes: Now What?

It’s official: The healthcare reform package touted by President Obama and most Democrats in Congress has passed. I have mixed emotions about this. In fact, I’m conflicted.

In the past few hours, I’ve seen just how polarized our country has become over this issue — there are arguments from every special interest group, every party, every individual voter. Now that it’s passed, though, we’re going to have to work with what we’ve got. The main point being raised by folks on both sides is the abortion issue, but I choose not to discuss it.

Suffice to say I consider my political leanings to be more middle of the road than anything else. I don’t find it interesting to talk politics with friends or family — in fact, isn’t that osmething you’re taught at an early age, not to talk about politics, money or religion in mixed company? So my politics tend to be right of center, I love to talk about money, and I’m not a fan of organized religion, even though I was raised Catholic. I suppose the most accurate terminology for me would be atheist. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for those who are religious or have religious leanings. It’s just not my bag.

The same goes for politics: It’s not my bag. Money? Now we’re talking! But that also tends to be a subject that most people won’t touch with a 10-foot pole. That’s where this blog comes in — I can talk all I want about any subject, and get feedback from my readers and other great personal finance bloggers.

There are a lot of numbers and figures in this bill, and I’m going to have to do some more research on it myself to really get a good handle on whether or not it’s good for our country. For now, here’s a breakdown of some of the numbers.

By the Numbers

Most of the actual numbers will depend on whether the “compromise package” meant to assuage Republicans passes the Senate. For simplicity’s sake, these numbers do not reflect the compromise bill.

  • Total cost of the bill: $875 billion.
  • The bill will supposedly cut the deficit by $118 billion.
  • Insurance will be subsidized for a family of four making up to about $88,000.
  • Medicaid will be expanded to provide coverage to a family of four with an income of nearly $29,000.
  • How much projected Medicare spending will be reduced by: $500 billion
  • Families with more than $250,000 in yearly income will pay additional Medicare taxes.
  • Insurance companies that offer expensive “Cadillac” health plans will be slapped with a 40 percent tax starting in 2018.
  • Individuals must buy health insurance. Those who do not face a fine of up to $750 or 2 percent of their income (whichever is higher). There is a hardship exemption for the poor.
  • Companies that don’t offer coverage, and have more than 50 employees, will have to pay a fee of $750 per worker if any employees require government subsidies to buy health insurance coverage.
  • Parent can keep their children on their healthcare plans until they turn 26 (up from 23).

Will it help reduce the ever-escalating costs of healthcare? That remains to be seen. Forcing Americans to have healthcare is a questionable aim, and fining large employers who don’t provide some sort of health insurance option may be counterproductive.

9 comments to Healthcare Reform Passes: Now What?

  • Nicole,

    Do you trust those numbers? Does it make sense that we could provide low-to-no cost health care to millions while reducing premiums and the debt? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    @Abigail: Your husband should self-insure. $500/month, adds up quickly to a nice cushion for any emergency.

    Betty

  • Barack Obama together with the remainder of his progressive mafia should really be ashamed of them selves. This is certainly a total outrage. I’d been under the idea that once the president will take office he is required to swear an oath that will support in addition to protect the constitution of the usa. Nowhere inside the Constitution did it give the administration the right to be able to enact and also impose laws such as the medical care reform bill. It’s my opinion these power mongers might be in for a proper shock around November. Best wishes on the demise of your political career.

  • Hey Nicole,

    I think everyone is a bit conflicted by this bill because no one really knows for sure how it will work out. I guess we should all keep our fingers crossed.

    The key points to me are:
    1.) Insurance companies can no longer drop you because you got really sick and used a large amount of benefits.
    2.) They can no longer deny you for pre-existing conditions.

    I just think if one of my kids had a condition that required lots of expensive treatments over many years…and if I were to be layed off and lose my insurance no one would ever insure them again because of the pre-existing condition.

    That’s just horrible and it has wrecked families.

  • Nicole

    @Dan & Abigail: I absolutely do not begrudge health insurance to those who don’t have it or are underinsured. Mainly, I feel that this bill was rushed. Which could be good in that it didn’t have time to ‘pork up’, or bad in that it was too rushed and not the best fix for healthcare.

    @Ally: I’m really atheist. Not even agnostic~!

    @Sam: I wonder about the true costs, too.

    @Little House: I bet the size of the population is going to jump after the Census this year — although healthcare isn’t going to cover immigrants, if I read correctly. Maybe just not illegal ones?

  • Nicole, thanks for sharing the numbers! I’ll have a good look and think things through.

    I just wonder about the costs………..

  • As someone with a husband who can’t get individual coverage, I have to say I’m all for health care reform. It’s patently ridiculous to have this many people uninsured in a “wealthy” nation. It costs the government money when people default on medical costs because the hospitals need grants to cover the bills.

    Most importantly, people without coverage wait until their conditions are life-threatening before they are seen. Which ramps up costs horribly.

    But you’ve probably heard all this. How about my husband? He has severe eczema and his scratching (he itches everywhere constantly – imagine that for a second) leaves his skin open. He had literally about 40 MRSA infections in a year’s time. It might have been more. We stopped counting.

    In Washington, he could be in a high-risk insurance pool. Of course, it cost us $502 a month, but at least he was covered.

    In order for him to ever function normally, though, we had to move to Arizona. (In WA, his skin was so bad, he often couldn’t even wear clothes.) He hasn’t had an infection here since the first month we arrived. But none of the states with the right climate have high-risk insurance pools. So we just have to keep our fingers crossed that he doesn’t get hospitalized. And we’re looking into catastrophic coverage in such a case.

    It’s pretty ridiculous. I guess it’s a little weird to mandate that people get health care, but then again there are helmet and seat belt laws. And given how amped up everyone is about government spending, I’d imagine it’s a good thing to make sure everyone is covered — since it will inevitably cost the government if they’re not — or at least make some money if they aren’t.

  • I too am conflicted. Our health system in the US is in dire need of an upgrade, yet at the same time I don’t like the idea of being FORCED to buy health insurance. At the rate I’m going being unemployed since September, if my husband loses his job, we won’t be able to afford Cobra 🙁

    PS On a different note, it’s funny, I was raised Catholic too and am agnostic.

  • Dan

    To me, the most important number is the 32 million (maybe more) who will now have health care who didn’t before. A lot of countries and even some of our states (Hawaii) have made universal health care work, it’s something this country should be able to do.

  • I feel the same way as you. I think our biggest hurdle is the size of our population and trying to actually cover all of us given our existing medical system. Only time will tell if this will be successful.

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