Category Archives: healthcare reform

Health insurance reform: How will it affect YOU this year!

From my friends at Newjerseynewsroom.com:

“Health care reform has been a long time coming – almost 100 years in the making,” said U.S. Rep Rush Holt (NJ-12). “Yet, the benefits will be felt immediately, giving families and small businesses control over their health care.

“Small businesses will soon receive tax credits, patients will no longer lose coverage when they get sick, and seniors will have help paying for prescription drugs and have access to free preventive care. And as it turns out, lawyers combing the legislation have failed to find any death panels.”

The following are key provisions that take effect within a year:

FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS — Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)

FOR SENIORS

BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE — Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)

FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE — Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.

HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES — Creates a temporary re_insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment

FOR THOSE PRIVATELY INSURED

NO DISCRIMINATON AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS — Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to adults as well.)

NO RESCISSIONS — Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.

NO LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE — Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.

TIGHTLY REGULATES ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE — Tightly restricts new plans’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)

FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PLANS — Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment.

NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS FOR NEW PLANS — Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions. Effective 6 months after enactment.

MORE FOR YOUR PREMIUM DOLLAR — Requires plans to put more of your premiums into your care, and less into profits, CEO pay, etc. This medical loss ratio requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premiums on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent. Insurers that don’t meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.

NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY — Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective 6 months after enactment.

FOR THOSE UNINSURED

IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL) — Provides immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre- existing condition — through a temporary high-risk pool — until the Exchanges up and running in 2014. Effective 90 days after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, health plans are banned from discriminating against all people with pre-existing conditions, so high_risk pools would phase out).

EXTENDING COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE — Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.

GENERAL REFORMS

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS — Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly doubling the number of patients served over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

MORE PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS — Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER ASSISTANCE — Provides aid to states to establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance to help consumers file complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in FY 2010.

CREATES NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM — Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become functionally disabled. Effective on January 1, 2011.

MORE REFORMS THAT BEGIN IN 2014 (WHEN EXCHANGES HAVE FORMED)

NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ADULTS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

BAN ON HIGHER PREMIUMS FOR WOMEN

PREMIUMS BASED ON AGE CAN ONLY VARY BY A MAXIMUM OF 3 -TO -1 RATIO

CAP ON OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES for private health plans.


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Filed under healthcare reform, New Jersey Newsroom, Seniors, small businesses

Congressman Rush Holt: What a Real Government Takeover Looks Like

From the Huffington Post

As Congress convenes today to pass long-awaited health insurance reform, I’m reminded of one of the last times we voted on a Sunday: March 20, 2005, when Republicans forced an extraordinary vote to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo.

To know what a real government takeover looks like, one should revisit that resolution. That midnight vote was a grotesque legislative travesty. For 215 years it had been a solid principle of this country that Congress not get involved in life-and-death issues like the tragic case of Ms. Schiavo. Yet, on that Sunday — Palm Sunday — Congress broke with tradition and inserted its own judgment. On that Sunday, the Republican Congress sent the message that it knew better than families, doctors, and hospital chaplains.

To my friends on the other side of the aisle who repeatedly claim that Congress is passing a “government takeover” — I kindly remind them that’s their work, not ours. Our work expands private insurance while increasing choice and competition and protecting consumers from the worst abuses of the insurance industry and leaving medical decisions in the hands of doctors and their patients. We intend that patients, families, and doctors — not the government, not insurance companies — have control over health decisions.

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, healthcare reform, The Huffington Post

Menendez:The Democrats Welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter Into Our Party

I received the following email message from Sen Bob Menendez a short while ago welcoming Pennsylivania’s Arlen Specter into the Democratic party:

“The Democrats welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter into our party today. He gave one simple reason for switching parties:

“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

The extreme right wing lost the American people in 2006 and 2008. Now, they’ve lost their hold on another moderate voice in the United States Senate.

This one’s a game-changer. Specter’s move immediately improves the prospects of President Obama’s bold change agenda.

But make no mistake – Republicans still have the votes they need to mount a filibuster. Sen. Specter’s decision will make our opponents even more desperate.

Norm Coleman will dig in his heels and fight even harder to deny us that filibuster-proof 60th seat.

Even when Coleman finally, finally has no more appeals and is forced to concede defeat, the Republicans will be plotting day and night to defeat our candidates in 2010. They know that beating just one Democratic incumbent would let them filibuster, delay, and deny the President’s agenda.

Today is a great day for all of us who want to help bring real, lasting change to this country….”  

Note to Sen. Specter: I applauded your decision to join the Democratic Party, as the Republican party has shown there is no place in its ranks for  a “moderate” Republican.  As the nation leans more towards the left, neocon-conservative Republicans have taken control of  all that is left of  the party of Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan.

While the Republican party has dwindled and became known as the “Party Of No”, the Democratic ranks have swelled. Democats are the leaders of change that have and will, see this country through the current economic crisis and lead the way in the fight for healthcare, social security and tax reform.

Welcome,
MM      

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Filed under Democratic Party, healthcare reform, Party of No, Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Spector, US. Sen. Robert Menendez

RUSH HOLT ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS

The following is a statement released by Congressman Rush Holt after last night’s speech to a joint session of Congress, by President Barack Obama:

(Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) released the following statement tonight in response to President Obama’s Address to Congress. Holt’s guest for the speech was Dr. Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy exclusively devoted to improving the health and health care of all Americans.

“The President has demonstrated again – as he did during the debate over the economic recovery bill – that we cannot have long-term economic growth without investing in science research.

“The President also showed that he recognizes that we can’t fix our economy if we don’t fix the health care system. As it is now, our health care system adds needless costs, inequality, and inefficiency that hobbles our economy. My guest tonight in the House gallery – Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – understands this as well as anyone, rightfully calling for comprehensive health reform to cover the uninsured, improve the quality of care, focus on prevention, and bring spending under control.”


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Filed under economic growth, healthcare reform, joint session of congress, President Obama, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Rush Holt, speech, statement

>RUSH HOLT ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS

>

The following is a statement released by Congressman Rush Holt after last night’s speech to a joint session of Congress, by President Barack Obama:

(Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) released the following statement tonight in response to President Obama’s Address to Congress. Holt’s guest for the speech was Dr. Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy exclusively devoted to improving the health and health care of all Americans.

“The President has demonstrated again – as he did during the debate over the economic recovery bill – that we cannot have long-term economic growth without investing in science research.

“The President also showed that he recognizes that we can’t fix our economy if we don’t fix the health care system. As it is now, our health care system adds needless costs, inequality, and inefficiency that hobbles our economy. My guest tonight in the House gallery – Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – understands this as well as anyone, rightfully calling for comprehensive health reform to cover the uninsured, improve the quality of care, focus on prevention, and bring spending under control.”


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Filed under economic growth, healthcare reform, joint session of congress, President Obama, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Rush Holt, speech, statement

Dems tell Obama: Let’s pass healthcare reform in ’09

Well, it seems as though as soon as the stimulus bill is passed by congress the next order of bussiness for the Dems is to pass healthcare reform.

The Obama administration may lack a czar to lead its health reform campaign but two key senators are telling the president that they are ready to pass a bill this year.

In a letter sent to President Obama on Thursday, Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) assert the need to act quickly to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.

“We are writing to affirm our continuing commitment to enacting comprehensive healthcare reform this year,” wrote Kennedy and Baucus, who chair two committees that will take the lead in drafting legislation to carry out Obama’s health agenda.

The abrupt departure of Obama’s close adviser and first choice to head his administration’s health reform efforts, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), is a setback for the new administration.

Kennedy and Baucus want to maintain the momentum they have tried to build over the last several months, during which the two senators have worked with fellow lawmakers and interest groups to build the foundation to revamp the healthcare system.

In the letter, the two senators urge Obama not to take his eyes off the prize.

“As you have emphasized, we must act now,” Kennedy and Baucus wrote. “We have a moral duty to ensure that every American can get quality healthcare.… With your continued leadership and commitment, we remain certain that our goal of enacting comprehensive healthcare reform can be accomplished this year.”

The senators acknowledge the importance of the president naming a replacement for Daschle, who withdrew from his nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services amid controversy over unpaid taxes.

The letter, Kennedy and Baucus say, also aims to “express our confidence that you will swiftly choose an exceptionally qualified and dedicated alternate nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services to assist in our efforts.”

Though Daschle’s withdrawal is merely two days old, speculation has run rampant about whom Obama might select for the healthcare post. Among the names being circulated around Washington are Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), former Vermont governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

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Filed under healthcare reform, President Obama, secretary of Health and Human Services, Senator Max Baucus, Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle

>Dems tell Obama: Let’s pass healthcare reform in ’09

>Well, it seems as though as soon as the stimulus bill is passed by congress the next order of bussiness for the Dems is to pass healthcare reform.

The Obama administration may lack a czar to lead its health reform campaign but two key senators are telling the president that they are ready to pass a bill this year.

In a letter sent to President Obama on Thursday, Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) assert the need to act quickly to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.

“We are writing to affirm our continuing commitment to enacting comprehensive healthcare reform this year,” wrote Kennedy and Baucus, who chair two committees that will take the lead in drafting legislation to carry out Obama’s health agenda.

The abrupt departure of Obama’s close adviser and first choice to head his administration’s health reform efforts, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), is a setback for the new administration.

Kennedy and Baucus want to maintain the momentum they have tried to build over the last several months, during which the two senators have worked with fellow lawmakers and interest groups to build the foundation to revamp the healthcare system.

In the letter, the two senators urge Obama not to take his eyes off the prize.

“As you have emphasized, we must act now,” Kennedy and Baucus wrote. “We have a moral duty to ensure that every American can get quality healthcare.… With your continued leadership and commitment, we remain certain that our goal of enacting comprehensive healthcare reform can be accomplished this year.”

The senators acknowledge the importance of the president naming a replacement for Daschle, who withdrew from his nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services amid controversy over unpaid taxes.

The letter, Kennedy and Baucus say, also aims to “express our confidence that you will swiftly choose an exceptionally qualified and dedicated alternate nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services to assist in our efforts.”

Though Daschle’s withdrawal is merely two days old, speculation has run rampant about whom Obama might select for the healthcare post. Among the names being circulated around Washington are Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), former Vermont governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

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Filed under healthcare reform, President Obama, secretary of Health and Human Services, Senator Max Baucus, Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle