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10 Awesome Reasons to Pass Health Reform
Posted on Aug 16, 2009
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
7. No Free Lunch for Businesses
Currently, large employers that rely on low-skilled workforces usually offer little or no health coverage, and much of these workers’ health care is already subsidized by taxpayers in the form of Medicaid and Medicare payments, other public programs and unpaid bills for emergency-room visits. Under the proposals in Congress, medium and large firms would face a simple choice: Offer their employees decent coverage or pay something into the system to offset the burden their employees’ health needs impose on the American taxpayer.
8. More Low-Income Workers Eligible for Medicaid
All of the plans being considered by Congress make more of the working poor eligible for Medicaid by lifting the income limits on eligibility.
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The right’s fearmongering is only effective because the health care debate is often so complex. Opponents of reform paint dark conspiracies about some of the more-obscure provisions in the reform package (a good example being the gross mischaracterization of a rather innocuous provision that makes counseling on living wills and other end-of-life decisions available to ill seniors as a "government death panel").
It is true, however, that the proposed legislation contains a number of provisions that aren’t getting a lot of attention in the debate.
For example, there are measures that would impact the way doctors are paid, allocate additional dollars for developing the health care workforce and bring new technologies online.
These provisions will have a significant impact on a variety of stakeholders—mostly health professionals—but ordinary people looking for health coverage are not going to notice anything different about their health care.
10. Over Time, the System Will Become Healthier
Everything depends on what the final legislation entails. But if it were done right, those systemic changes—greater competition, tighter regulation, technological improvements, a greater emphasis on prevention, the buying power and efficiency of less-fragmented insurance pools and an end to treating the uninsured in emergency rooms—would gradually "bend the cost curve" of health coverage and offer insurance to tens of millions of people who today struggle with the health problems and stressful economic insecurity of living without insurance.
As I’ve argued before, the Democrats’ approach is far from perfect. But the things outlined here are essentially what would come about if the more-progressive version(s) passed.
Understanding what’s actually contained in the legislation leads to an unavoidable conclusion about the anger we’ve seen in recent weeks: it’s doubtful that at anytime in the history of our nation have a group of people been so furiously opposed to something that would so obviously be an improvement over what they now have.
It’s nothing less than a testament to the power of industry propaganda.
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