Six Months into the Health Care Bill
Today marks 6 months since President Obama signed the health care bill into law. Starting now, some important pieces of the legislation go into affect- namely young adults will be able to stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26, and kids with pre-existing health conditions won't be denied coverage.
Even with all the gaps of the health care bill, its important to recognize the huge impact it can and will have on low-income folks, young folks, parents, and women. Babies and children should have their health needs taken care of, no matter what. No matter if they were born with what an insurance company can label as a pre-existing condition. Basic preventative care should be available to everyone. And insurance companies should not be able to kick people off their plans if they get sick, isn't what what insurance is for- to help you when you get sick?
For folks who have no or unreliable coverage, some important changes start today including:
-Young adults can remain on family health plans until they turn 26.
-Free immunization provided for kids.
-Free preventive care provided, such as mammograms and cholesterol screenings.
-No more lifetime coverage limits, and annual limits start to phase out.
-Plans can't cancel coverage for people who get sick.
-No denial of coverage for kids with pre-existing health conditions.
You can see all of the ten pieces of the bill that go into effect today here.
I am optimistic that these changes, even if they don't meet my vision of universal health care, are steps in the right direction for strengthening the health of our communities.
At the same time, folks on the right and the middle are using the Health Care Bill as a huge wedge issue in this fall's elections. Democrats who voted for the bill are being attacked, often in ads based on lies. Republicans and moderate Democrats want to give control 'back' to insurance companies. These are the same companies who have denied coverage to sick families, hiked their rates year after year, and who always put profit before people.
That's why I want to commemorate the small victories that the law brings today. We who believe that people come first need to educate our communities about the benefits the Bill brings even as we continue to work for a true universal health care for our country.