New health care bill summary | Health Care Reform basics Part 1

Syringes

The new health care bill injects money and regulation into the health insurance industry. Image from Flickr.

Yesterday evening in congress, the health care reform bill, HR 4872, passed the house of representatives on a 219-212 vote. An incredibly sweeping change, the new health care bill has many pros and cons. With more than 2,000 pages in HR 4872, the basics of the new health care reform bill are extensive. In short, the U.S. government will be attempting to provide health care insurance for most Americans without those individuals needing to take out a payday loan to pay for that coverage. The  effects of the new health care bill will be split over 10 years. The first two years will be covered below – to see the effects the new health care bill will have from 2012 – 2018, see Part 2.

New health care bill not yet law

The new health care bill passed the House on Sunday, but it is not yet law. First, the new health care bill must go back to the Senate for reconciliation. This means that some major provisions of the new health care bill may change – though the pros and cons of the majority of new health care bill are likely to remain the same. Once the bill is reconciled through the Senate, it will go to President Obama’s desk to be signed. At that point, the new health care bill would become law.

The timeline of the new health care bill

Because there are many details involved with the new health care bill, the timeline of implementation for the bill is currently set at 10 years. This is assuming that the new health care bill provisions are not repealed or changed in subsequent legislation. The cost of the health care bill is estimated to cost about $100 billion a year, but that cost is estimated to be more of a cash loan – the cost savings from altering the health care system are estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to be more than twice the yearly cost.

Summary of new health care bill in 2010

In the year 2010, there would be three major changes to health care. First, insurance companies would no longer be allowed to deny coverage to children with pre-existing illnesses. Second, children would be able to stay on their parent’s insurance policies until they turn 26 years old. Third, Medicare recipients who fall into a specific coverage gap will get a $250 rebate.

Other changes include an excise tax on indoor tanning, which will increase the cost of that service. Also, individuals that have not had health insurance for 6 months will receive a subsidy to enroll in high-risk insurance pools run by the states. All new insurance plans sold must exempt preventative care and screenings from deductibles. Finally, small businesses with fewer than 25 employees would receive up to a 35 percent tax credit for providing health insurance to their employees.

Summary of the new health care bill in 2011

In 2011, the new health care bill will make changes focused mostly on preparing for later updates. The new health care bill will set up a long-term care insurance program. Individuals who pay premiums into this system for at least five years will become eligible to receive support with daily living assistance.

The senior citizens that fall into the “medicare doughnut hole” – a coverage gap – will get a 50 percent discount on some drugs. In 2011, a new fee on drug makers will also be implemented to help pay for the upcoming changes. The fine on withdrawing funds from a Health Savings Account for non-medical expenses will increase by 5 to 10 percent. Employers will also need to start including the cost of health care on employee’s W-2 forms.

To read more about the continuing effects of the new health care bill, see Health Care Reform basics Part 2.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal
Lexington Clipper-Herald
My Fox Tampa Bay
Onion Kid
The Seattle Times
Wikipedia – Poverty article
Washington Post

Other recent posts by bryanh