Last week Sarah Emond, a 33-year-old Watertown resident who works in health care, studying the effectiveness of various treatment options, had a conversation with her dad, an environmental engineer in Weymouth.
As she recounts the story, her father came to her with a problem: he said several of his friends didn't like the new health reform law and he was unsure what to say to them in response. "He asked me to make a list of the Top 10 reasons that health reform is good, she said. "At first I laughed."
But then, she showed the list to a bunch of her friends. They loved it. Then she posted it on her Facebook page. Within days she got nearly 30 comments.
So, here's Emonds Top 10 list — which ballooned to 14 — for anyone who needs a prepared response, as national health reform unfolds:
Why Health Reform Is Good For America
1. 32 million more Americans will have health insurance and will no longer have to face financial disaster if they get
2. This reform shows the world that Americans believe that access to health care is a right, not a privilege.
3. Health reform has eliminated the ability of insurance companies to deny you coverage because you have a preexisting
condition and they will no longer be able to cancel your insurance just because you get sick.
4. The individual mandate for the purchase of insurance will ensure that there is fair risk-pooling among all of those
with insurance. Health insurance only works if both sick and healthy people are in the pool, so that one day,
when you get sick, there will be healthy people in the insurance pool helping to pay for your care.
5. Small businesses and individuals who have been priced out of the private insurance market will now have
affordable options. By creating insurance exchanges in every state, health reform will lead to the combination of
the individual and non-group insurance markets into one larger market, thus allowing more affordable options for
individuals and small businesses.
6. Small businesses will also qualify for tax credits to help defray the costs (credits will equal 35% of the premium
costs initially and rise to 50% of premium costs by 2014).
7. Those earning 133% of the Federal Poverty Level now have access to Medicaid.
8. Those earning up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level ($43,320 for individuals and $88,200 for a family of four)
will have government subsidies to help them afford insurance.
9. Children can now stay on their parents insurance until age 26.
10. Several provisions of the bill will help bring down costs to consumers, including funding for comparative
effectiveness research, promoting global payments in Medicare (instead of fee-for-service), and eliminating fraud
and abuse in government health insurance programs.
11. Ends the doughnut hole in the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit saving some seniors as much as $5,000 a year.
12. Cuts the deficit by more than $100 billion in the first ten years, then $1 trillion in the second ten years (the biggest
deficit reduction package in more than a decade, which includes all 8 years of a Republican presidency).
13. The only people who will see higher taxes are individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more
than $250,000. Oh, and those using tanning salons (10% tax at the salon).
14. And for those who argue that the reforms won't take effect for 4 years, here's what went into effect the moment
President Obama signed the bill on March 23, 2010 (taken directly from the DCCC):
• Tax credits for small businesses
• Preventive care covered 100 percent by Medicare
• Closing the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole
• Temporary coverage for early retirees, ages 55-64
• Insurance companies can no longer drop people from coverage when they get sick
• Ends discrimination against children based on heath status or pre-existing conditions
• Ends restrictive annual limits on benefits for new insurance policies
• Allows adult children to be covered under their parents’ plan up to the age of 26
• Ensures that insurers spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care
• Eliminates copays for preventive care under new private plans
• Provides temporary coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions until Exchange is implemented
• Expands enough funding for community health centers to double capacity in five years
Expanding access to health care is the morally right thing to do. This reform improves our broken system while keeping
the foundation of that system intact: private insurance companies providing benefits to consumers. This is not a
government-run system. Everyone who has insurance now and likes it, can keep it. For those without insurance, they will
finally have affordable options to purchase insurance for themselves and their families and will have protection against
financial disaster in the case of illness.Sarah K. Emond, MPP, is Chief Operating Officer at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, (ICER), based at the Massachusetts General Hospital, which is an academic
group providing independent evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and comparative value of health care interventions.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of
the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review or the Massachusetts General Hospital
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee)
This program aired on March 29, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.