Senate HealthCare Bill Needs Extensive Amending! (Part One)

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by JimofPennsylvan, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. JimofPennsylvan

    JimofPennsylvan VIP Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    “PART ONE”

    In light of the country’s expected $9 trillion deficit over the next decade, its 10% plus unemployment rate with no quick fix on the horizon and its new home construction industry (one of the most important) facing a very rocky road for the next several years, it is crucial that the Senate in amending its Health Care Reform Bill do an outstanding job in cutting out unnecessary spending and removing all unnecessary financial burdens on businesses in this bill. Those members of Congress that have said this bill is probably the most important bill they will work on during their careers are right so Senators need to bring their “A” game to this amendment process and act like the outstanding Americans they are each capable of acting like.

    One area the Senate needs to change in this bill is that it needs to phase in some of these bill’s mandates on insurance plans over a long period like twelve years. All the insurance mandates in the bill are excellent but they all have a cost to them and they are going to cause insurance premiums to dramatically increase (states which have some of these mandates bare this out!), it will stagger individuals and businesses in America the premium increases resulting from this bill if nothing is done. Many of the mandates need to be implemented from day one to stop critical problems like the underinsurance problem. The mandate stopping yearly claim limits and the mandate stopping insurance companies from dropping enrollees when they get sick are two such examples. However, the mandate requiring free preventive care should be phased in; this will be a costly mandate on insurance companies and thus cause a significant increase in premium costs. Even without this mandate many insurance companies will financially incentivize enrollees getting preventive care because it will save them in overall claim costs over time - costs to treat a medical problem is often less costly if the problem is caught early. Moreover, experts will tell you that some preventive care doesn’t save insurance carries significant amounts of claim money overall it is a quality of health care issue – at this time in the country’s health care system history the higher priority is keeping costs low so the government can bring about universal health insurance coverage for all Americans.

    Another mandate the Senate needs to phase in is the “out-of-pocket” limits or what the bill calls the “cost sharing” limits; this mandate will significantly increase premiums and Congress needs to help American consumers here. The precise amount of the “cost sharing” limit mandates is not explicitly written in the bill the bill references a 1986 version of the Internal Revenue Code (Now doesn’t that tell you something?) [Sec. 1302(c)(1)] but media reports indicate that the amount will make a difference to insurance issuers. One mandate in the bill the Senate should postpone implementing for like seven years in deference to the significant increase in health insurance premiums this bill will cause on the American people is the mandate that insurance issuers provide coverage for “wellness services” (Sec. 1302(b)(I)). This is not an absolutely necessary health insurance benefit so therefore the system can wait to make it an essential part of a qualified health insurance plan.

    Phasing in or postponing some of these mandates will give the Congress the incentive to do another reform piece of Health Care legislation in the next few years after the current one is enacted focusing on controlling health care cost and in that piece of legislation the Congress could then scrap the postponement or phasing in of these mandates because there would be other elements of the bill that would counter the cost increases to insurance issuers for these mandates. Even amongst members of Congress that hold that the current reform bill is a health care cost control bill have to acknowledge Congress has more work to do in controlling cost in America’s health care system. Surely many Americans do, one area would relate to the fact that the Pharmaceutical Industry is raising their drug prices by 9 plus percent this year (much higher than the inflation rate) which will put approximately $ 20 billion additional dollars in their pocket per year; Congress wants to give accolades to the Pharmaceutical Industry for contributing $8 billion dollars per year to the current Health Care Reform legislation but this industry’s effort is a joke when they raise their prices over double this savings!

    This bill puts a mandate on insurance companies that they have to reimburse enrollees in the amount that equals the amount the insurance company paid for administrative expenses that exceeds 20% of the total premiums paid by enrollees (Sec. 2718). This is a good provision because it will help keep premiums low but the bill’s added condition isn’t good and should be removed, the bill’s added condition is that it allows individual states to have lower thresholds. This is bad because if America wants to lower health care insurance costs on the American people it can’t have all these individual state mandates on insurance companies it really wants to as much as possible have uniform national mandates on insurance companies so it is easier and less costly on these companies to do business.

    This bill after the second year the bill is enacted authorizes the Secretary to receive however much money he or she needs to fulfill the bill’s prescription to give grants to states to provide Health Insurance Consumer Assistance and collect information on health care consumers in America (Sec. 2793). The Senate should amend this bill to do away with this blank check policy, the only really necessary function Congress should be authorizing in this provision is the collection of information on Health Care consumers across America so Congress can determine if it needs to take further action to protect the American consumer. The Senate in the bill should just mandate the Secretary be given on a yearly basis the $30 million dollars it authorizes the first year for this work and add an inflation index on a yearly basis – scrap the blank check authorization.


Share This Page