Saturday night, the House of Representatives passed a major health care reform bill; the first to clear that hurdle since Medicare was created over 40 years ago. If it also passes the Senate and is signed into law, this health care reform will provide insurance coverage for up to 36 million uninsured Americans.
What will this mean for your family? Not a lot right now. The bill still has to pass the Senate and be signed into law by the president before it becomes law. The Senate hasn’t put forward their final version yet, and a lot could change between now and the eventual reform laws, assuming any make it through.
The bill the House passed includes a public option for low-cost health insurance, as well as federal subsidies for purchasing health insurance from private companies. In addition it creates new rules for how health insurance companies do business.
- They would no longer be allowed to drop patients who become seriously ill.
- It would become illegal to deny a person health insurance due to preexisting conditions.
- A new system would be put in place to allow patients to shop for competitive insurance rates across state lines.
While the bill’s passage was a huge win for progressives, they also had to swallow the Stupak Amendment, which prevents any health plan receiving any federal funding from covering abortions or any health care associated with abortions. Who needed those pesky reproductive rights anyway?
Photo: Sage Ross, 2009