10 things everyone should know about health care reform...

I was happy to see this bill pass because it affects us directly. We are into our 3rd year of getting individual insurance policies that have to be renewed every six months. After one year we have to find someone else to insure us. And after all that it is just major medical. We now have hopes of getting an affordable policy of some kind that will actually pay for something.

My guess is that no one will be completely happy with the bill but at least it is a step in the right direction. Here are some things about the bill you may not know.

1. Once reform is fully implemented, over 95% of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured. 2

2. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions—or to drop coverage when people become sick. 3

3. Just like members of Congress, individuals and small businesses who can't afford to purchase insurance on their own will be able to pool together and choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums. 4

4. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following ten years. 5

5. Health care will be more affordable for families and small businesses thanks to new tax credits, subsidies, and other assistance—paid for largely by taxing insurance companies, drug companies, and the very wealthiest Americans. 6

6. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs because the legislation closes the "donut hole" gap in existing coverage. 7

7. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade. 8

8. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people. 9

9. Instead of losing coverage after they leave home or graduate from college, young adults will be able to remain on their families' insurance plans until age 26. 10

10. Community health centers would receive an additional $11 billion, doubling the number of patients who can be treated regardless of their insurance or ability to pay. 11 http://pol.moveon.org/healthcare/tenthings/?id=19502-1507441-BqUt5Zx&t=1

Sources: 1. Final vote results on motion to concur in Senate amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 21, 2010 http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll165.xml

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11. "Affordable Health Care for America: Summary," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 18, 2010 http://wwwd.house.gov/akamaidocs/energycommerce/SUMMARY.pdf

4. "Insurance Companies Prosper, Families Suffer: Our Broken Health Insurance System," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Accessed March 22, 2010 http://healthreform.gov/reports/insuranceprospers/index.html

5. "Affordable Health Care for America: Health Insurance Reform at a Glance: Revenue Provisions," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 18, 2010 http://wwwd.house.gov/akamaidocs/energycommerce/REVENUE.pdf

8. "New Jobs Through Better Health Care," Center for American Progress, January 8, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=87402&id=19502-1507441-BqUt5Zx&t=2

9, 10. "Proposed Changes in the Final Health Care Bill," The New York Times, March 22, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=87403&id=19502-1507441-BqUt5Zx&t=3

11. "Affordable Health Care for America: Health Insurance Reform at a Glance: Addressing Health and Health Care Disparities," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 20, 2010 http://docs.house.gov/energycommerce/DISPARITIES.pdf