One Nation, Two Affordable Care Acts
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One Nation, Two Affordable Care Acts

Washington : DC : USA | Jul 04, 2012 at 11:14 AM PDT
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Kaiser Presents: Health Reform Explained

There are two healthcare reform acts in America.

There's the legislation passed by Congress in 2009 called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and then there's the mythical "Obamacare" - that perfidious “government takeover” decried and demagogued by so many conservatives (and quite a few liberals). The former is quite popular, the latter gets mixed reviews, mostly for the bad. The former belongs to "the people," the latter belongs to those who are incapable of reading and using their god-given abilities to think clearly.

Truth is, Obama does care. More than some people want to even think about right now.

If the Affordable Care Act did in fact feature "death panels" (which it limits and restricts by telling the insurance companies that administrative costs are limited to 20-percent of premiums in) and resulted in deep cuts to Medicare (the fairy tale part), represented a "massive tax increase" and Sovietized our healthcare system, nobody would support it. Fortunately, none of that bears any resemblance to reality. Note: The word "sovietized" harks back to a time when what is now known as Russia was called the Soviet Union and certain Americans ran all over the place screaming about a communist "red scare" that never happened because it couldn't.

In not so surprising news, all of the countries that have universal health coverage (which is actually better than the fictionalized "Obamacare") are not communist countries and are ranked by the World Health Organization as the top countries in the world for health care management, while America ranks in the bottom percentile of the top 50...somewhere around 37th or 38th. France, a non-communist or "sovietized" country, is Number One in the world for healthcare. Their top-ranked hospital is non-profit and is a shared cost amongst all French citizens. If anyone had a "gestapo" type healthcare system in the world, it was America -- something that the Affordable Care Act takes baby steps toward trying to fix and redeem.

The United States of America, which is just as ancient in times as its current locomotive train systems (which also should have been upgraded 25 years ago), is just now pulling up on the Late Freight in a world where every industrialized civilized nation in the world has had universal coverage for years, including Canada, Spain, and Italy.

For a country that was once known as "the greatest country in the world" (and is no more) the 'Late Freight' is not good news.

If the system keeps meandering into the ancient "good old" days with those who want to keep derailing it and pulling it backward instead of pushing it forward, it's only going to be a matter of time before this country is off the radar of "greatest" anything in the world; and with a homeless population of more than three million people and growing, it's bordering on becoming one notch above third world any day now.

Number 1: The People are due for refunds. The new law keeps administrative costs at a maximum of 15-20-percent of premium payments, so if their insurance company used more than 20-percent of their premium payments for administrative costs, they have to calculate the difference and refund it. Of course, dittohead Amber Gardner of Mesa, AZ probably won't be getting one of those rebates since she appears to be most decidedly on government healthcare herself. Most times, these people never look into a real life situation, they only repeat what they hear on FOX News.

Number 2: The richest Americans are going to pay more taxes, the middle incomers are going to pay less. They got hit with a 3.8-percent surcharge on investment income, which is a far cry from when the richest in the country used to pay 90-percent of their income in taxes when the nation was functioning at its optimal best.

Number 3: Overhead and profit margins just became limited; which means the insurance companies are actually going to have to spend money on healthcare (surprise, surprise) instead of executive pay and bonuses. That means more doctors can actually concentrate on keeping people well and on medicine instead of killing them in order for "Mr. Executive Death Panel Sr." to go on vacation in Aruba and Bermuda at their expense.

Number 4: The Mandate from Hell -- paying a penalty for not having insurance, which equals about one-percent of future tax refunds. The good news: Most people pay a hefty penalty for not having car insurance, and a fine, which costs way more ... meaning most states care more about people's cars than they do their health. That should be good news for the Wall Street profiteers who forced car insurance on people by state law in order to make more executive bonuses, resulting in a 'revolving-door f-ing' straight from Insurance Company Death Panels themselves.

Number 5: The gosh-awful employer-mandate, which forces employers with more than 50 people on payroll to cover the cost of their employee's healthcare. Those who can't afford it shouldn't be in business. For those who care to read it: CLICK HERE.

Number 6: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that “Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations onto coming generations.” That message appears to be sinking in. According to Kaiser, a majority of Americans – and a third of Democrats – think the healthcare law will increase the deficit. But according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the law will reduce the projected deficit by $210 billion over the next decade. It may be the executive bonuses and profits that get reduced so that doctors can concentrate on medicine and not budgets.

Number 7: Here's a really nice one for the "dittohead Debbies" like Amber Gardner (see above) -- Insurers can no longer charge women more than men for coverage, AND (in 2014) they can't turn her down because of "pre-existing conditions" (if she's even paying for her own coverage, that is). They can't turn down children for pre-existing conditions as of right now. There are no more co-pays and NO MORE DEDUCTIBLES FOR PREVENTIVE CARE. Point: It's cheaper to stay well in the first place, duh factor included.

Number 8: Community Health Centers, like the one at Phoenix's system for the homeless called CASS and the ones in rural areas around the nation, get more money and medical employees and caregivers to assist with medical care for poor people.

Number 9: The purported "government takeover" centerpiece is this -- Starting in 2014, in order for insurers to sell coverage through state-based exchanges – a place where a lot of the newly insured will likely end up – they will be required to cover a package of “essential benefits,” including maternity care, mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment, pediatric care, ambulance rides and hospitalization. They are not required by law to participate in the exchanges, however. Nope. No "takeover" hidden there either.

Number 10: Non-repealable. No matter how much the Republicans and their Tea Party friends tell you they will repeal their "Obamacare," it ain't gunna happen. Even if they manage to take over the House and the Senate and weaken some of the law's provisions by sticking chewed up bubble gum in the places they don't like, they have nothing to replace it with, which means it's going to cost the taxpayers more to kill it than to keep it.

The "hell" broke loose when the GOP and its party constituents did not read the law in the first place. They made one too many assumptions, then showed up in Congress, when asked for an alternative plan, with blue jackets with gold trim with nothing in them -- thus indicating they were more willing to pay for decorations than for healthcare itself. Their "alternative plan" fell on deaf ears, though they meant it as a joke, and healthcare reform went on without their approval.

Best News of All: For those with catastrophic illnesses, there are no more lifetime limits. That's right: They can't cut you off your insurance policy if you end up with something like AIDS or cancer and spend your policy's "up to one million dollars." It's done starting in 2014.

That's the list of 98-percent of what's right about the law, and the other two-percent of what some people really don't like, which is really a good thing in the long term.

Mr. President, you just can't win them all.

REFERENCES

The GOP Unhinged: Why they hate Obamacare and prefer Wealthcare and Profitcare over spending other people's money (OPM) on real healthcare

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greeneink is based in Denver, Colorado, United States of America, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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