After Wednesday’s State of the Union Address by President Obama, the republican response was given by newly elected Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell. Ignoring the fact that the new response format looked more like a shadow government giving a speech in the heart of “Dixie”, one thing that struck me as annoying was Governor McDonnell’s repeat of the GOP’s complaints about the democrat’s Health Care Bill. The GOP and their base are like those remedial class kids in High School. You have to break things down to the simplest level for them to understand and even then, you have to deal with them not understanding or even worse, bitching about things that aren’t really problems. Take for instance the complaint that the Senate Health Care bill is 2,000 pages. Republicans are saying “that’s too much”. Yes, a group of people whose sole job is to write laws is complaining that the Health Care Bill is….too long to read.
McDonnell tried to pull the same stunts Republicans in Congress have been pulling. Claiming that Democrats have a 2000 Page bill whereas Republicans have a 219 page amendment to the House Bill. Mind you, Senate Republicans didn’t bother to come up with their own. Republicans also say their plan costs less, which is does. So why isn’t the GOP’s shorter, less expensive plan up for discussion? Well…because as always, the GOP is full of shit. When the Congressional Budget Office scored Rep. Boehner’s plan, while they agreed it cost less, they said it would only cover 3 million more Americans versus the 36 million the Senate bill does and that the sicker you are, the more you will pay. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Why doesn’t someone, anyone say this when the Republicans try to come up with this “We have a plan” bullshit? This isn’t a plan. This is like when you were little and you would move your vegetables to the outside of your plate to make it appear that you had eaten them. Republicans are bitching that the President shut them out of this process but after reading that plan, can you blame him? This is like when 2 parents are discussing how they will pay their bills and their 5 year old says “Hey mommy/daddy, here’s my $5 allowance. Will that help?” This “alternative plan” can’t even begin to be taken seriously. Oh and did I mention that the Senate Bill reduces the deficit over the next 10 years by almost double what this republican plan does? Yeah….bullshit. There’s a reason why when the Stimulus bill passed the republicans loved quoting the CBO but when their plan on health care got scored, they remained silent.
Listen, I know Democrats aren’t happy with the lost of the Public Option and the new mandates. But let’s be honest. The Senate Bill is the best we’re going to get for right now and it’s better than the status quo. House Democrats should just pass this bill and keep it moving. Below is a summary of everything the Senate Bill does. Not perfect, but do you really throw this all away and risk not covering a significant amount of Americans? I think not.
Ends discrimination based on pre-existing condition. Insurance companies will have to take all comers. They can’t deny you coverage or jack up your premiums based on your health status.
Ends gender discrimination. Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums based on gender.
Caps out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance companies will have to abide by limits on what they can charge you for out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and co-pays.
Prevents dropping of coverage for seriously ill. Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping, watering down, or refusing to renew your coverage when you get sick and need it most.
Prohibits caps on total coverage. Insurance companies will no longer be able to limit the total amount of coverage you can receive.
Allows children to stay on their parents insurance until age 26.
Limits premium differences based on age. Currently insurance companies can charge older Americans up to 5 or 6 times as much as younger Americans. The bill will limit that ratio to 3-1.
Provides seniors with relief from prescription drug prices. Seniors in the so-called “donut hole” will immediately receive a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs, and the size of the donut hole will be reduced by $500 in 2010.
Tax credits for individuals, families, and small businesses. The bill provides tax credits for small businesses, as well as middle- and low-income Americans, to help them afford health insurance.
Makes preventive care completely free. Insurance companies will be forced to fully cover – with no co-pays – preventive care like colonoscopies or mammograms.
Significantly reduces the federal deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade, and by as much as $1.3 trillion by the end of the second decade.
Creates new health insurance Exchanges. The bill creates new health insurance Exchanges where individuals, families, and small businesses can compare plans and choose the one that works best for them. These Exchanges will lower premiums by increasing competition and reducing administrative costs. They will also provide consumers with unprecedented information.
Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. The bill roots out waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and adds 9 years to the life of the Medicare trust fund.
Controls skyrocketing health care costs. The bill contains a wide range of cost-control measures, such as rewarding quality of care, and encouraging health care providers to work together.
Protects patients’ choice of doctors. Individuals will be allowed to choose any participating primary care provider, prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization before a woman sees an ob-gyn, and ensuring access to emergency care.
Ensures Americans get value for their premium payments. Insurers won’t be allowed to gouge consumers or funnel dollars that should be spent on health care to line their executives’ pockets. They will be required to spend 80 percent of small group and individual premiums and 85 percent of large group premiums dollars on health benefits or provide customers a rebate.
Expands community health centers. An immediate and substantial investment in community health centers will expand access to health care in communities where it is needed most.
Lowers premiums for retirees and employers. The bill creates access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees. This re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees.