Archive for the ‘Health Care Reform’ Category

>Health Care – False Assumptions and more

January 31, 2011

>Friday’s blog post hit a nerve with some folks, and I went back and forth with people I don’t know on Facebook about Health Care Reform.

At issue: “Real” Christians and affordability of health care reform.

First, the Christian issue. There is not a consensus on what constitutes a real Christian in the technical sense. Some say you must accept Christ as your personal, born again type of savior. Others think believing in Christ is enough, or being baptized is necessary, or daily prayer, or targeted hatred (Baptist preacher Fred Phelps believes this), or treating others a certain way, or a combination of these things with God keeping a scorecard. Rack up enough points and you’re in.

I wasn’t getting into that argument. I put the word “real” in quotes to indicate I meant something else. I meant real Christians as in those who follow the things that Jesus did, like being concerned about the poor and then doing something about it. His concern about the poor, and the sick, would lead me to believe that he would love assuring that everyone had affordable, quality health care. To me, the real Christians would follow. The fake Christians would not.

The other issue is affordability of health care reform. Specifically, of adding everyone to the “insured” category. I said (in a comment on Facebook) I have a problem with people saying we can’t “afford” health care reform. So, those who are left off, their lives, and health, are worth less than the rest of us. Health care should be a right, everyone should have the same access and the same choices.”

The conversation took off from there, but it led to a discussion in my home that brought up some frequently false assumptions regarding health care in this country.

One is that people don’t want to be forced to pay for other people’s health care.

In fact, however, that is what we are doing now. If an uninsured goes to the hospital, he or she will get treated, and sent home. They can’t pay, the hospital uses their indigent patient care portion of their budget (and they feel good about this) to take care of the bill. The hospital then passes the costs of those treatments to other patients, and this results in higher insurance premiums for everybody. So we are being “forced” to pay for the treatment of others.

That uninsured patient goes home, but does not have the money to pick up the prescribed medicines that will keep him there. So within a few days, or a few weeks, depending on the condition, he or she returns to the emergency room, where you and I will cover their expenses once again. This results in higher insurance premiums for us again.

This leads to another false assumption: that everyone gets health care whether they are insured or not. They “get to go” to the emergency room, federal law gives them that right.

That is not health care. That is being treated for something that needs treatment.

Health care includes preventive care, annual physicals, vaccinations, mental health care, nutritional counseling, vitamins, fitness evaluations – all those things and more are parts of an individual’s health care.

Of course, Health Care Reform does not include all of these things, that would only happen in a more perfect world. But for most of the indigent uninsured people who go to the emergency room for a “condition,” if they had insurance and better health care, they would have had some preventive measures or counseling, (which is much much cheaper than a trip to the emergency room) and not only would dollars be saved (thus resulting in lower insurance premiums for the rest of us) but the patient would not have suffered for weeks or months until they had to seek treatment.

So, Health Care Reform not only saves us money, it is also more compassionate, resulting in less suffering for the poor.

Now I’m tempted to bring Jesus back into the picture, because he would just love this. But even without him, I would hope most Americans would want those who are less fortunate to suffer less.

So that’s just a little information for the Health Care Reform detractors to chew on.

Here is “Missed the Boat” by Modest Mouse.

>Nurses, Doctors, "Real" Christians support Health Care Reform

January 28, 2011

>I don’t know what I did to deserve it but somehow I got on the email list from the Christian Coalition of America.

How Christian does this sound?

Click here and join our campaign to demand the repeal of Health Care
today!

That’s what they said, except they used the term Obamacare instead of Health Care.

I love, by the way, that they have attached the name “Obamacare” to the concept of better health care and more affordable insurance for more people. In 10, 20, 30 years from now, people will be calling it that, and thanking their parents and grandparents for having the foresight and the stick-to-it-iveness to pass “Obamacare,” the landmark legislation. The name Obama will forever by inscribed in the nation’s lexicon.

Back to the subject.

The Christian Coalition says that the current Health Care Reform law will “mandate taxpayer funding of abortion.” That is a lie.

Were they not around when Bart Stupak almost killed the bill but then supported it after he got wording inserted in the House version that guarantees abortions are not covered? Do they not remember that the Senate version did not include the same wording, and that the president then issued an executive order banning funding of abortion. Do they not understand that the Hyde amendment already restricts funding of abortions with taxpayer dollars?

The Christian Coalition also says that they current Health Care Reform law will “Limit our choice of doctors.” That is a lie.

The current health care law contains a Patient’s bill of rights that says of itself:

“(The Patient’s bill of rights) will help children (and eventually all Americans) with pre-existing conditions gain coverage and keep it, protect all Americans’ choice of doctors, and end lifetime limits on the care consumers may receive.”

My advice to the Christian Coalition is to revisit Commandment number IX (or VIII, depending on whose version of the Bible you are reading) about bearing false witness to your neighbor.

We hear all the time about a fear that doctors will no longer be in control of patient care (currently insurance companies are in control, but that is another story). So what do the doctors say?

The president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Cecil Wilson, has a blog. He says the current law has a lot of good in it, and should not be repealed. The good, in his opinion, includes.

• Expansion of health insurance coverage to 32 million people who currently do not have it, and as a result, are at a greater risk of living sicker and dying younger

• Health insurance reforms to eliminate pre-existing condition provisions of policies and lifetime caps on coverage, thus providing protection to millions who change jobs or have severe chronic diseases, such as cancer

• Expansion of benefits for preventive and wellness services

• Closing the doughnut hole in Medicare Part D, thereby helping seniors purchase needed medications

• Research to improve medical care

• Expansion of health insurance market competition through health exchanges to improve choice and price

Now there are some things about it, he says, that need to be fixed. but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, he says; rather to “wash the baby and drain out the dirty water.”

President Obama indicated he is willing to do that, as he encouraged lawmakers to work on fixes to a couple of problems with the bill.

What about the ones who really take care of patients. Nurses. What do they say?

The American Nurses Association sent out an email yesterday that said this:

The American Nurses Association (ANA) applauds the president’s strong
commitment to the current health care law. Already millions of
Americans, both young and old, are reaping the benefits of the new
law, and it will strengthen and improve the health care system for
generations to come.

Click on a link in the email and you go to their web site, where you find this.

Last year with your help we won the long fight to enact meaningful Health Care Reform, but it’s a new year and a new Congress. The first action of the House of Representatives was to vote to repeal Health Care Reform in its entirety. This is just the first of many threats to come. We need your help to make sure that the vital reforms we worked so hard to achieve aren’t rolled back, and that they are implemented effectively. Here are the tools you need to stay informed and get involved!

So health care professionals are strongly against repeal, as are all educated and informed Americans. Oh, and so are Christians…at least the ones who follow Christ.


Have an opinion about this post? Check one of the choices just below: Funny, Interesting, Cool, Like, Dislike?

>Influencing people

January 26, 2011

>1.) President Obama

The president gave his State of the Union speech last night, and despite the third grade seating arrangement and the anticipated followup by the divided Republican Tea Party, the message from the president was loud and clear:

We can win the future

He called our current place in time “our Sputnik moment.”

That means we need to quit lollygagging and get to work. China is pulling ahead in education, energy, infrastructure and more. We can catch up and pass them, like we did the Russians after they put Sputnik into space. We must.

He stressed the importance of education.

“We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the super bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.”

He urged increasing math and science teacher training and urged a redo of the failed and unfunded No Child Left Behind act.

A CBS poll reveals that 91% of those who watched the president approved of the speech.

A CNN poll indicates that prior to the speech 61% of respondents thought that Obama will move the country in the right direction. After the speech that increased to 77%.

You can watch the entire speech, with enhancements (charts, graphs, etc.).

2.) Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates plays an attorney in “Harry’s Law” who is changing careers going from a highly paid patent attorney to a “poor but changing neighborhood” criminal attorney. In this week’s episode, she represented an elderly black woman accused of armed robbery.

In her closing statement she made a great case for a change in attitude about how we care for the poor, including a statement about Health Care Reform.

http://www.hulu.com/embed/t0INia4OQK0ZjFBKGFzRNw/2060/2282/i2262

Watch the entire episode here.

3.) Oprah Winfrey

And Oprah had Gay Day yesterday on her show. 25 years of coming out stories. This was the promo.

Oprah does a great job of influencing public opinion, and her show yesterday confirmed that. One of her guests was an Indian prince who came out on her show years ago, was disowned by his mother, but the event began a change in India and more acceptance for gays in that country.

One of her guests, Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, came out and wrote a book in 1995. He was a huge influence on my decision to accept who I am, which I did later that year.

I met Greg at the Books-a-Million in Hoover and got his book, Breaking the Surface, signed. I also wrote a letter to him, and had received a postcard back, but the words he wrote in my book planted the idea in my head.

Believe in yourself!

He could probably tell I was a troubled, closeted gay man. I can sometimes recognize that trait in people now. He wrote just enough to get me started, and I am so thankful.

So President Obama, Kathy Bates, and Oprah Winfrey (and Greg Louganis); thank you for the messages that you send. You are making a difference in people’s lives and attitudes and beliefs.

>Terri Sewell having an impact

January 20, 2011

>It feels good to live in a congressional district where the representative actually cares about the people she (or he) represents.

Terri Sewell is the only member of the Alabama delegation that did not succumb to the lies and pressures from the big insurance companies and their money when they cast their vote on the Health Care Repeal Act.

Her statement:

“The Affordable Health Care Act is a first step towards strengthening our health care system and is already helping to save the lives of many in my district.”

President Obama said yesterday,

“I’m willing and eager to work with both Democrats and Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act. But we can’t go backward. Americans deserve the freedom and security of knowing that insurance companies can’t deny, cap or drop their coverage when they need it the most, while taking meaningful steps to curb runaway health care costs.”

Republicans are more interested in those big checks they get from the insurance companies.

And only about 1 in 4 Americans want to repeal the law.

If the law were repealed, 16,600 young adults in Alabama would no longer be able to stay on their parents health insurance plans through age 26.

Republicans don’t care about the health or feeling of security that Americans have when they are able to be insured.

Also yesterday we learned that Sewell was elected President of the Democratic Freshmen Class of the 112th Congress.

In addition to serving as President of the Democratic Freshman Class, Rep. Sewell was selected to serve as a Senior Whip by House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). This position provides Rep. Sewell a strong platform from which to advocate for constituents in the 7th District and families all across the state of Alabama.

She was also selected to to serve on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Science and Technology. Those would be my favorite committees.

The House Committee on Agriculture creates farm policy and drafts legislation to protect the interests of rural America. The committee’s jurisdiction includes rural development, agricultural colleges, farming, nutrition, renewable energy, conservation, bioterrorism, forestry and many others.

The House Committee on Science and Technology is responsible for overseeing research and development programs at many different federal agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and many others.

Here is what she said about her agriculture appointment.

“I will promote innovative legislation that will strengthen our small businesses, our land grant institutions, support both urban and rural economic development and work to improve the nutritional challenges facing our children, seniors and families. This committee assignment will help to ensure that America remains a dominant exporter of agricultural goods, which will create and protect good-paying, cutting-edge jobs in the district and across the country.”

Here is what she said about her science appointment.

“As a member of this committee, I have the ability to promote legislation that will improve economic development in the 7th Congressional District and throughout the State of Alabama. This includes introducing legislation in emerging scientific industries, encouraging the creation of public-private partnerships and investing in education and workforce development. Scientific advancement is one of the keys to U.S. competitiveness in a global marketplace, and this committee assignment will produce innovative opportunities for the advancement of science, technology and education as we move in to the future.”

I anticipate Terri being one of the most influential members of congress, and being a big help to the people of the 7th Congressional district.

>Moving in a backward direction

January 19, 2011

>Federal? State? Local?

Sure.

In Washington:

The House is poised to vote to repeal the Health Care Reform the country desperately needed, in spite of growing acceptance of the reforms and the realization by the public that such a vote is only for show and a complete waste of taxpayer money and legislator’s time.

House Republicans want to go back to a time when young people couldn’t be on their parent’s insurance, when pre-existing conditions would exempt you from getting coverage, and when (even more) millions of Americans were without insurance.

In Alabama:

Governor Robert Bentley is taking us back to the days of George Wallace with his inaugural statement,

“I will defend our right to govern ourselves under our own laws and to make our own decisions without federal interference”.

John Archibald reminded us of how “federal interference” has affected us.

Without “federal interference,” blacks and whites in Alabama could not dine together in restaurants, use the same libraries, attend the same schools or live in the same neighborhoods.

It is “federal interference” that returns more than $1.60 to Alabama for every dollar the state sends to Washington. It was “federal interference” that sent the state $650 million last year, allowing Alabama to put off cutting school budgets.

Without “federal interference” we would never have cleaned our air or water.

Without “federal interference” UAB would not be a research giant, NASA would not have brought jobs to Huntsville, and folks in the Tennessee Valley might still burn kerosene lamps at night.

We like our federal interference, it seems.

Governor Bentley also seems to have created controversy has created controversy with his statement that only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior are his brothers and sisters.

With any government, the sheep wonder how they will be treated. Are those who don’t ascribe to Bentley’s beliefs the black sheep of society? Or will all the sheep be treated the same? As a side note, Equality Alabama is wondering the same thing, and has requested a meeting with the governor.

Local (Fairfield):

The Fairfield City Council is considering reversing some its anti-smoking ordinance.

I don’t care what the reason is or who the exemption is for; anti-smoking ordinances save lives. And not just the lives of the smokers.

Local (Bessemer):

Bessemer is moving forward. The City Council is considering raising the city’s lodging tax and the sales tax. I don’t have all the numbers, and I don’t know when certain bond payments and other obligations come due, but here is what I would do.

Some council members want to wait until the financial audit is completed before voting on the tax increases, but that may take several months. And is the audit really going to tell us anything we don’t already know about the fact that we need money? No, it may point some fingers (and they need to be pointed), but it won’t help us with paying these bills we have today.

So, don’t delay. Pass the tax increase. Even if it were passed today, it would be several weeks before any tax money is transferred to the city, that’s just the way it works. But vendors and others who we are obligated to would see that we are making a tough move in order to meet our obligations.

Here’s an idea. I remember a local government passing a sales tax increase for a specific amount of time, and then it would either go away or have to be renewed. The council could pass a sales tax increase for one year, and during that time could review the audit and make adjustments and look for other sources of revenue and all. The people of Bessemer would respect the council (maybe) for not burdening them with a “forever” tax.

The people of Bessemer would have to realize that we must all sacrifice a bit in order to amend the wrongs to which we have been subjected. If at the end of the year it looked as though the tax would have to remain, then the council would have to pass it again. The lodging tax increase would not be a one year increase. That tax is paid by non-residents for the most part, anyway.

I am still impressed with the Bessemer council and the path they are taking trying to solve the current financial crisis.

And speaking of the council, I must recant something I said previously.

Think of Rice as a continuation of Louise Alexander.

I said that during the campaign, but Sherrina Rice has shown herself to be a thoughtful and inquisitive council member, frequently asking questions in order to gain a better understanding, and often bringing insight to issues.

And in Bessemer, that piece of property that is at the corner of Highway 150 and Lakeshore, that I mistakenly thought was where Dollar General distribution center will be located, is apparently some type of “light industrial” development. Will pass on more information when I get it.

>Health Care Reform in Alabama – the facts

January 12, 2011

>From Sarah Palin’s sorry excuse to the lack of judgment of some people (particularly those who would strike a match or flick a lighter to light a cigarette while being treated with oxygen – thus killing themselves) there are many things I could write about.

But Sarah can cook her own goose and smokers are already showing their poor judgment by continuing to do so.

So with the delay over the Repeal of Health Care Act vote a little info on what Health Care Reform has done for Alabama so far is in order.

As Alabamians learn, maybe they will call their representatives and say, “Hey, don’t take away the insurance of those people or the jobs from these folks.” Read on.

Source

In Alabama, 30,599 Medicare recipients have received a tax free $250 rebate check to help close the donut hole coverage gap.

Will the Republicans want that money back from our seniors when they rip that hole back open?

33 uninsured Alabamians with pre-existing conditions now have insurance as a result of Health care Reform. There are thousands`eligible for this benefit, possibly the media in our state has not done a good job of educating the citizens, or perhaps those in need have been frightened by the Republicans of “Obamacare” and they are avoiding getting coverage out of fear.

When you think of Alabama people, who comes to mind?

These dancers are regular Alabama women. I took this photograph at an art show in Birmingham. Some of these women are probably students. Some are probably without insurance. Within 30 years, some of them will develop cancer. Remember this fact, I’ll refer to it later.

This group of Alabama residents are marching toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. I wonder how many of these Alabamians are without insurance. Some of these people are eligible for early retirement. Remember this fact. I’ll refer to early retirees later.

Many census workers were students. They probably didn’t have insurance. They can now stay on their parents insurance until age 26 under Health care Reform.

This mostly white group of McCalla residents gathered in Bessemer to become informed about the Norfolk Southern Intermodal Facility. Many of these folks are seniors, benefiting from the $250 rebate.

In Alabama, 32 Employers Enrolled in Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program(ERRP) provides much-needed financial relief to businesses, schools and other educational institutions, unions, State and local governments, and non-profits, in order to help retirees and their families continue to have quality, affordable health coverage. Click here to find a list of organizations accepted into this program in Alabama.

In Alabama, $1 million has been given to the state in grant funding to crack down on unreasonable insurance premium increases. This money will help to pursue greater legislative authority in insurance review, Expand the scope of the review process, improve the review process, and increase transparency and accessibility in the review process.

In Alabama, $1 million has been allotted to plan for a Health Insurance Exchange.

In Alabama, $3,708,304 has been awarded to support biomedical research for the Therapeutic Discovery Project Program. This research will advance the goal of finding therapies and cure for cancer over the next 30 years. In Alabama this means 17 projects, with their accompanying jobs, will be supported. For a list of the project credits click here and for the project grants click here.

Other grants made available in Alabama:

  • $1.5 million for Tribal, Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs
  • $500,000 for Medicare improvements for patients and providers
  • $200,000 to strengthen public health infrastructure to improve health outcomes
  • $3.4 million in Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant awards
  • $500,000 to build epidemiology, laboratory, and health information systems capacity
  • $100,000 for HIV Prevention and Public Health Fund activities
  • $5.1 million to support capital development in health centers

So around $16,000,000 will flow through the Alabama economy in the form, mostly, of equipment and wages for those employed in the programs. I wish I knew how many jobs were being created, but it is obviously thousands.

These figures are not complete. They are only current through December 20, 2010.

Every Representative from Alabama with the exception of Terri Sewell wants to do away with these programs, re-open the donut hole for seniors, remove insurance coverage from those who now are insured as a provision of Health Care Reform, and un-employ thousands in our state that are employed in the research and other programs listed above.

Please call your representative and tell them to leave your health care reform alone. Dial (202)224-3121 and ask for your representative. Or use this searchable online directory to find your representative’s direct office number.

>The effects of Health Care repeal

January 6, 2011

>While the House of Representatives is enacting a third grade type reading of the Constitution others in Washington are working, in particular, those in the Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO has offered a preliminary estimate of the costs of enacting H. R. 2, the Health Care Repeal Act. The CBO says they will give a more detailed analysis later, but due to the short time period allowed for discussion of this bill (forget openness and transparency and allowing discussion and all that) they went ahead and released this.

Here are key points from the CBO letter, sent to Speaker Boehner, and others, including Nancy Pelosi and Jeff Sessions.

Read the letter here.

The repeal of Health Care would increase the federal deficit by $145 billion. Remember, Health Care reform is expected to reduce the deficit by $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years. Republicans want to add to the deficit.
Some money would actually be saved by repealing Health Care. For example, $39 billion would be saved by taking money from ongoing programs to benefit Native Americans (sorry, even though you were here first, Republicans don’t care about you) and $34 billion would be saved by taking money from federally funded Health Care Centers (sorry minorities, we know these centers mainly serve you, but Republicans don’t care for you either).

Under the repeal of Health Care, 32 million non-elderly people would lose their insurance, leaving a total of 54 million without insurance. 83 percent of legal Americans would have insurance after the repeal. If Health Care is not repealed, 94 percent will be insured.

Keep reading that Constitution. But remember, there are 32 million people right now wondering if you are going to take away their insurance. And there are 310,591,294 (current U. S. population – may be different at the link since population is changing) people wondering if you are going to increase their share of the federal deficit.

>As the 112th Congress begins

January 3, 2011

>Republicans are going to do what over the next few days?

  1. Waste a colossal amount of time (thus, wasting taxpayers money)?
  2. Show themselves to be the uncaring souls that they are?
  3. Both?

The correct answer is (3. Both).

House Republicans are planning to force a vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as health care reform (HCR), before the President’s State of the Union Address.

Rep. Fred Upton (R – Mich) said undoing the law would be “top priority” for the new congress, and he thinks there is enough support to overcome a presidential veto.

It may be a priority for Republicans, but in spite of their claim that support for repeal of HCR is growing, I doubt that Americans want to do away with the gains we have already made. There are no reliable current polls on the matter.

I will review the changes that the bill has allowed later in this post, but when January 1, 2011 rolled around, another set of changes came into effect. Those include the following benefits for seniors and all Americans.

  • Offering Prescription Drug Discounts. Seniors who reach the coverage gap will receive a 50 percent discount when buying Medicare Part D covered brand-name prescription drugs.

  • Providing Free Preventive Care for Seniors. The law provides certain free preventive services, such as annual wellness visits and personalized prevention plans for seniors on Medicare.

  • Improving Health Care Quality and Efficiency. The law establishes a new Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation that will begin testing new ways of delivering care to patients. These methods are expected to improve the quality of care, and reduce the rate of growth in health care costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

  • Improving Care for Seniors After They Leave the Hospital. The Community Care Transitions Program will help high risk Medicare beneficiaries who are hospitalized avoid unnecessary re-admissions by coordinating care and connecting patients to services in their communities.

  • Bringing Down Health Care Premiums. To ensure premium dollars are spent primarily on health care, the new law generally requires that at least 85% of all premium dollars collected by insurance companies for large employer plans are spent on health care services and health care quality improvement. For plans sold to individuals and small employers, at least 80% of the premium must be spent on benefits and quality improvement. If insurance companies do not meet these goals, because their administrative costs or profits are too high, they must provide rebates to consumers.

  • Addressing Overpayments to Big Insurance Companies and Strengthening Medicare Advantage. Today, Medicare pays Medicare Advantage insurance companies over $1,000 more per person on average than is spent per person in Traditional Medicare. This results in increased premiums for all Medicare beneficiaries, including the 77 percent of beneficiaries who are not currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. The new law levels the playing field by gradually eliminating this discrepancy. People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan will still receive all guaranteed Medicare benefits, and the law provides bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans that provide high quality care.

Add to that the thousands of young people and previously uninsured children who have been added to the rolls of insured, and eliminating the lifetime limits on coverage, provisions to crack down on Medicare and other fraud, funding and strengthening community health centers, and more provisions that were enacted in 2010.

These are all significant changes that will strengthen the health care system, improve the way it is delivered, and reduce the costs for all Americans (or at least lower the rate of increases).

As for the grandstanding republicans in the House, even if you pass a repeal, the claim that you have a veto-proof majority (I doubt that) is useless, since repeal would never pass in the Senate, and the bill would never get to the President’s desk for the veto.

But go ahead, start the new Congress by showing America that you are unwilling to move forward, that the “new Republican Congress” is no different than the previous Republican minority; uninterested in helping America move through the recession and back to prosperity, instead they are focused on obstructionism and partisanship.

At least we will have one vote from Alabama against the repeal of HCR. Terri Sewell will have replaced our latest embarrassment, Artur Davis, whose previous vote against Health Care Reform cost him the Democratic nomination for governor, and possibly the chance to be our next governor. He can now wander off into obscurity.

>A new day in Health Care

September 23, 2010

>Today is a new day as far as the health of America goes.

As of today:

More children are covered, as they cannot be denied health care due to pre-existing conditions.

And young people can now stay on their parent’s insurance plan until age 26.

People with serious disease no longer have to worry about losing benefits because of lifetime limits. In other words, some one’s cancer treatment won’t stop just because of some limit imposed by the insurance executive. (It’s not the government controlling health care, it’s the insurance companies). Annual limits on coverage are being phased out on most plans.

You can’t be dropped from your insurance after a diagnosis or accident.

Screenings like cholesterol checks and blood pressure and preventive measures like mammograms and colonoscopies are now covered at no cost to the individual. All new health plans will pay for preventive services for pregnant women, so the health of babies being born will improve. And screenings and immunizations for babies and children are now provided with no co-pay and no deductible.

All new health plans allow you to choose your OB/GYN, pediatrician or primary doctor.

Four million seniors are getting $250 checks to help close the donut hole in prescription drug coverage. Next year they will get a 50% discount on their name brand prescriptions.

More rights, more choice, more benefits, and more peace of mind.

Now, let’s get real.

Republicans are running on the promise of repealing these benefits. They want the donut hole to remain for seniors. They want children who now have insurance to lose that coverage.

They are offering a plan to “repeal and replace the government takeover of health care.” Empty words, empty promises, because there is no plan. And they cannot repeal the act. But rest assured, if given the opportunity, they will work to preserve the insurance industries control of health care. Insurance executives will be determining your benefits and coverage.

Here are the benefits to my congressional district, currently represented by Artur Davis, who voted against Health Care Reform for his constituents, but soon to be represented by Terri Sewell, who will stand by the president and the people she represents.

Benefits for AL-07

In the other District that represents portions of our area, represented by Spencer Bachus, here are the benefits.

Benefits for AL-06

And here are the benefits for every congressional district in the country. Find yours.

Benefits by district

Shame on the GOP and the Tea Party for wanting to take us back to a time when children with pre-existing illness could be denied coverage.

Health care reform will benefit all of us.

Here are people who are benefiting from health care reform with very good reasons.

>A virtual tea bag

July 26, 2010

>I get a little p-o’ed when I receive a tea bag via email. A virtual tea bag.

That is how I refer to the forwarded emails full of lies and propaganda. But usually I use them as a teaching tool and I correct the lies and misinformation and send a response to the person who forwarded it to me, along with every email address in the chain.

So today I sent an email to 90 people who had received an email about congress voting them selves a pay raise and Social Security recipients being denied a cost of living increase and medicare recipients having a premium increase. At the end the email urged the reader to replace all 100 House members and up to a third of Senators.

Here is my response:

Recently I received an email from a friend that urged readers to paste a
reminder on the refrigerator about our congress and what they have done.
Let me respond to each point in the email.

But first a reminder. There is a commandment, number 9 I believe, that says “you shall not bear false witness to your neighbor.” On the Internet, we are all
neighbors, and composing the email that I received and sending it out, or even
forwarding it, is bearing false witness. I urge each of you to do some
research before forwarding emails that you receive.

Here are the facts surrounding each point in the email.

1. U..S. House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700 and $5,300 raises. LIE!
This is a 100% lie, made up, assuming you are talking about the current congress. In May 2010 President Obama signed into law a bill passed by both the house and senate that lawmakers passed to opt out of the automatic cost of living increases that they would have gotten. This is the second year in a row that this congress has passed such a bill.

Source: thehill.com

2.They voted to NOT give you a S.S. Cost of living raise in 2010 and
2011.

By law, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increase automatically each year if there is an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), from the third quarter of the last year to the corresponding period of the current year. This year there was no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2009.

Thus, by law, no Social Security Cost of Living increase was implemented, and there never is if there is no increase in the CPI.

Source: Social Security Administration


3. Your Medicare premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2-years.

Most Medicare beneficiaries will not see a Part B monthly premium increase as a
result of a “hold harmless” provision in the current law. This allows for
73 percent of beneficiaries to be protected from an increase raising the 2010
Part B monthly premiums from $96.40 to $110.50. The Administration
continues to urge Congressional action that would protect all beneficiaries from
higher Part B premiums and eliminate the inequity of a high premium for the
remaining 27 percent of beneficiaries.

Source: Medicare.org

Items 4 – 7 were just repeats of the first three lies, written in a different
way.

8. Will they have your cost of drugs – doctor fees – local taxes – food, etc., decrease?

This is just a broad condemnation of the congress based on nothing. But, “will they have your cost of drugs decrease? Yes. The Health Care Reform bill is closing the “doughnut hole” that affected many seniors. Many of you have already received a $250 check to help cover the difference until the policy change catches
up.

? Why should they care about you?
? You never did anything about it in the past.
? You obviously are too stupid or don’t care.
? Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie, Barney et al care about you?

Ok, you just called the reader of your email “stupid.” But congress does care. They cared about the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people with pre-existing conditions that could not get insurance. Now…already…children cannot be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Adults will be added in a couple of years.

They cared about young adults that could not afford insurance and who could not
remain on their parents policies. Now they can, until age 26. They cared about people who were being dropped from their insurance coverage after being diagnosed with breast cancer or other serious diseases.
Beginning September 23, that practice will be illegal.

They cared about people who have catastrophic diseases and would reach a lifetime cap on insurance coverage. Beginning September 23, that practice will be
illegal.

You can read about all of the provisions of Health care Reform that are going into effect this year – Bessemer Opinions – Health Care Reform Provisions

I don’t mind when people debate policies and base their arguments on the
facts. I do mind when people base their arguments on lies.