More #PPACA Red Herrings: Renewals and Benefits

Reblogged from Did You Check First?:

Click to visit the original postThe brouhaha over “keeping the plans you like” and “forcing healthy young men to buy policies with maternity benefits” are simply the latest examples of political red herrings being used by the GOP and detractors of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in an attempt to dupe Americans about the facts.

FACT: If you received a cancellation notice from your insurance company, that was their decision, not the federal government’s decision, even when it came to health insurance plans that didn’t meet PPACA minimum standards.

Read more… 1,930 more words

Five Years in — GOP Still Has NO Plan

Five years after Obama’s first election, the GOP has absolutely NO comprehensive health care reform plan other than “hurry up and die” or “good luck not going bankrupt over healthcare costs.”  Instead of embracing the Affordable Care Act, they prefer to return to insurance corporation rule over the healthcare options for Americans.

They can talk about “tort reform” and “selling insurance across state lines” … but neither of those concepts will help someone declared by the insurance industry to be defective, in that they have a “pre-existing” condition, making them ineligible for insurance at any price.  A large number of governors have already attempted “tort reform” and have been unable to achieve positive results.  In addition, I doubt those same Governors would want to see Insurers from some other state “cherry-pick” healthy citizens out of their state only to watch health pools become mostly populated with more unhealthy individuals causing healthcare costs to rise dramatically.

The GOP claims tort reform would give more certainty to the healthcare marketplace by curbing liability costs of providers of healthcare.  The only way they can conceivably do that is to dictate flat monetary values for the loss of a foot, arm, life, etc., or flat allowances for the plethora of malpractices that are committed on a regular basis.  In other words, if a doctor or health provider ruins your health or the quality of your life, you’ll get only a pittance for your bad luck.

The GOP’s desire to “sell insurance across state lines” is at cross-directions with their “States Rights” mantra and instead would throw each state under the bus.  Each State has its own Commissioner of Insurance who sets minimum requirements for those who provide Insurance policies to citizens of their particular state.  So, instead of protecting “States” rights, it appears the GOP wants to plow the way for large corporate insurance providers to take out more efficient and less costly smaller sized organizations … DECREASING competition in the marketplace, and thus HIGHER costs and abuses.

But, that’s all they’ve got.  So, before we throw out the baby with the bath water, so to say … maybe it’s time to get behind what was actually passed, upheld by the Supreme Court, and now in the process of being implemented.  The benefits of the Affordable Care Act are pretty straight forward: the law makes it easier to get insurance you can afford, ensures you have the care you need when you get sick, and covers the preventive services you need to stay healthy without additional co-pay:

How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for Nevadans

Because of the Affordable Care Act, the 78% of Nevadans who have insurance have more choices and stronger coverage than ever before. And for the 22% of Nevadans who don’t have insurance, or Nevada families and small businesses who buy their coverage but aren’t happy with it, a new day is just around the corner.

Soon, the new online Health Insurance Marketplace will provide families and small businesses who currently don’t have insurance, or are looking for a better deal, a new way to find health coverage that fits their needs and their budgets.

Open enrollment in the Marketplace starts Oct 1, with coverage starting as soon as Jan 1, 2014.  But Nevada families and small business can visit HealthCare.gov right now to find the information they need prepare for open enrollment.

Key Features of the health care law are already providing better options, better value, better health and a stronger Medicare program for the people of Nevada:

Key Features

Coverage

Costs

Care

Better Options

The Health Insurance Marketplace

Beginning Oct 1, the Health Insurance Marketplace will make it easy for Nevadans to compare qualified health plans, get answers to questions, find out if they are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and enroll in health coverage.

By the Numbers: Uninsured Nevadans who are eligible for coverage through the Marketplace. 

  • 473,971 (22%) are uninsured and eligible
  • 347,244 (73%) have a full-time worker in the family
  • 174,840 (37%) are 18-35 years old
  • 218,730 (46%) are White
  • 44,217 (9%) are African American
  • 157,518 (33%) are Latino/Hispanic
  • 33,012 (7%) are Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • 258,036 (54%) are male

438,826 (93%) of Nevada’s uninsured and eligible population may qualify for lower costs on coverage in the Marketplace, including through Medicaid.

Nevada has received $74,754,285 in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of its Health Insurance Marketplace.

New coverage options for young adults

Under the health care law, if your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old. Thanks to this provision, over 3 million young people who would otherwise have been uninsured have gained coverage nationwide, including 33,000 young adults in Nevada.

Ending discrimination for pre-existing conditions  

As many as 1,157,045 non-elderly Nevadans have some type of pre-existing health condition, including 162,452 children.  Today, insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes, under the health care law. And beginning in 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing condition.  The health care law also established a temporary health insurance program for individuals who were denied health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition.  1,373 Nevadans with pre-existing conditions have gained coverage through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan since the program began.

Better Value

Providing better value for your premium dollar through the 80/20 Rule

Health insurance companies now have to spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on health care or improvements to care, or provide you a refund.  This means that 88,491 Nevada residents with private insurance coverage will benefit from $3,977,544 in refunds from insurance companies this year, for an average refund of $75 per family covered by a policy.

Scrutinizing unreasonable premium increases 

In every State and for the first time under Federal law, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more. Nevada has received $4,959,972 under the new law to help fight unreasonable premium increases.

Removing lifetime limits on health benefits 

The law bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits – freeing cancer patients and individuals suffering from other chronic diseases from having to worry about going without treatment because of their lifetime limits. Already, 937,000 people in Nevada, including 329,000 women and 269,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Better Health

Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay

The health care law requires many insurance plans to provide coverage without cost sharing to enrollees for a variety of preventive health services, such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults.

In 2011 and 2012, 71 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 615,000 in Nevada. And for policies renewing on or after August 1, 2012, women can now get coverage without cost-sharing of even more preventive services they need.  Approximately 47 million women, including 391,181 in Nevada will now have guaranteed access to additional preventive services without cost-sharing.

Increasing support for community health centers

The health care law increases the funding available to community health centers nationwide. In Nevada, 2 health centers operate 30 sites, providing preventive and primary health care services to 57,987 people.  Health Center grantees in Nevada have received $8,264,743 under the health care law to support ongoing health center operations and to establish new health center sites, expand services, and/or support major capital improvement projects.

Community Health Centers in all 50 states have also received a total of $150 million in federal grants to help enroll uninsured Americans in the Health Insurance Marketplace, including $451,674 awarded to Nevada health centers.   With these funds, Nevada health centers expect to hire 9 additional workers, who will assist 10,600 Nevadans with enrollment into affordable health insurance coverage.

Investing in the primary care workforce

As a result of historic investments through the health care law and the Recovery Act, the numbers of clinicians in the National Health Service Corps are at all-time highs with nearly 10,000 Corps clinicians providing care to more than 10.4 million people who live in rural, urban, and frontier communities.  The National Health Service Corps repays educational loans and provides scholarships to primary care physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, behavioral health providers, and other primary care providers who practice in areas of the country that have too few health care professionals to serve the people who live there.  As of September 30, 2012, there were 36 Corps clinicians providing primary care services in Nevada, compared to 12 in 2008.

Preventing illness and promoting health

As of March 2012, Nevada had received $7,500,000 in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the health care law. This new fund was created to support effective policies in Nevada, its communities, and nationwide so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives.

A Stronger Medicare Program

Making prescription drugs affordable for seniors 

In Nevada, people with Medicare saved nearly $41 million on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act.  In 2012 alone, 22,122 individuals in Nevada saved over $14 million, or an average of $611 per beneficiary.  In 2012, people with Medicare in the “donut hole” received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent discount on generic drugs.  And thanks to the health care law, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs will continue to increase over time until the coverage gap is closed.  Nationally, over 6.6 million people with Medicare have saved over $7 billion on drugs since the law’s enactment.

Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay

With no deductibles or co-pays, cost is no longer a barrier for seniors and people with disabilities who want to stay healthy by detecting and treating health problems early. In 2012 alone, an estimated 34.1 million people benefited from Medicare’s coverage of preventive services with no cost-sharing.  In Nevada, 166,815 individuals with traditional Medicare used one or more free preventive service in 2012.

Protecting Medicare’s solvency

The health care law extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by ten years.  From 2010 to 2012, Medicare spending per beneficiary grew at 1.7 percent annually, substantially more slowly than the per capita rate of growth in the economy.  And the health care law helps stop fraud with tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties, and new technology. Over the last four years, the administration’s fraud enforcement efforts have recovered $14.9 billion from fraudsters.  For every dollar spent on health care-related fraud and abuse activities in the last three years the administration has returned $7.90.

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Disregard Those AFP Scare-Ads for Healthcare Answers

Americans for Prosperity have begun running “scare” ads to convince people to take action against their own interests.  Their goal is to sufficiently lie about what Obamacare does or doesn’t offer in an effort to get low-knowledge citizens to support the #GOP’s plan to gut meaningful healthcare protections for American families across our nation.

Take a moment to watch this great ad from AmericansUnited refuting claims being made in one of those Americans for Prosperity scare ads:

Resources:

Oh, and when one of your neighbors claims “Obamacare is going to cause insurance premiums to skyrocket” … tell them it only takes one quick search on the terms “insurance premium drops” to prove them absolutely WRONG:

And then there’s the Obamacare side effect — job mobility — once healthcare exchanges are in place, one will no longer being tethered to a job one hates only because one needs the healthcare benefits provided by that job:

Ryan Budget – Bad for Veterans

Shared from VoteVets.org

Much has been said over the past few weeks about the budget proposal in the House of Representatives, offered by Rep. Paul Ryan, and backed by Republican members, but not much has been said about how it will affect our veterans.  As you know, the Paul Ryan plan will end Medicare, making it a voucher program, leaving seniors to buy their own insurance in the private system.  It will therefore end one of the most popular and successful initiatives ever offered.

This plan will also punish veterans – harshly – and it’s important that you spread the word on how it will do so.

Here are the facts:

  • Millions of veterans over 65 rely on Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance for their health care. In fact, according to the last survey of veterans by the Department of Veterans’ affairs, 39.3% of veterans use Medicare, compared with 14 percent of the general population.
  • Many of these veterans are relying on Medicare as their sole health care provider.  The Ryan plan would have an immediate impact on these veterans, forcing those falling into the “donut hole” with high-cost prescription drug costs to pay more for their medications in addition to paying more for preventative health services.
  • Veterans who rely on Medicaid would not escape cuts either. The Republican plan could slash $1.4 trillion in health benefits over the next ten years. Forty-four states are already facing significant budget shortfall in Fiscal Year 2012,and the cuts could force the state to either ration health care benefits for veterans across the country, restrict eligibility rules and leave thousands uninsured, including veterans, or raise taxes to cover the shortfall.
  • Finally, many veterans rely on private insurance, mostly through their employer. Because Republicans want to repeal the recent health insurance law, these veterans will no longer have guaranteed access to health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions and may see annual or lifetime caps on coverage under the Republican budget.

In short, Republicans and Paul Ryan will strip away care for our veterans, in the name of budget cutting.  These proposals are draconian, cruel, and unfair to those men and women who put their lives on the line for this country.  But, unless we spread the word about how severely the Ryan/Republican plan will hurt veterans, most Americans won’t ever know.

Take some time to read their propaganda and get to know what they’re trying to do.  Be an informed voter, not someone who swallowed their propaganda, hook, line and anchor.


2012-GOP-Platform GOP Growth Opportunity Rpt 2009-GOP-Road-to-Recovery 2010-GOP-Better-Solutions
GOP 2012 Platform GOP Growth Opportunities 2009 Road to Recovery 2010-Better Solutions
2010-Pledge-to-America Path to Poverty v1.0 Path to Poverty v2.0 Path to Poverty v3.0
2010-Pledge to America P2P v1.0 P2P v2.0 P2P v3.0

Read/compare a few to see what you think — and if you’d like you can compare the actual budget numbers between plans here.