CNN Money takes a look at the health care bills moving through Congress and offers a brief explanation of how health care reform will affect three groups of people: those who get insurance through their employer, those who purchase insurance individually, and those who have no insurance at all.
Latest news on health reform.
While most of today’s news stories about the House’s landmark health care bill focus on paying for health reform, there’s a lot of significant stuff in the 1,000-page bill that should not be overlooked.
First, the big stuff. The House bill will make sure “virtually every American will always have dependable, affordable, comprehensive health care,” says DeAnn Friedholm, who manages Consumers Union’s health reform effort and, like so many others, has spent the better part of her career trying to achieve just that.
Shopping for a flat-screen TV can be exciting, even a little fun. You can compare clearly advertised prices to find the best deal; you can compare ratings of how the TV worked by others who’ve bought it; you can even look at the quality of the picture right next to others in the store.
In contrast, shopping for health insurance can be overwhelming, if not impossible. You can’t clearly compare prices, because aside from the premium, there’s virtually no way to know exactly what your out-of-pocket costs will be if you get seriously ill; you can’t compare how well insurance companies treat their customers because there is no rating system; and you can’t compare policies side-by-side, because virtually no two are the same.
If we ever hope to get spiraling health-care costs to come back down to earth, everyone involved is going to have to change how they do business. That means not only Congress, but us taxpayers, the insurance companies, the hospitals, and yes, the doctors.
Opponents of the public plan want to scare Americans, so maybe it doesn’t matter that the arguments are fundamentally contradictory–they just need to be really scary.
Catherine Howard, a 31-year old breast cancer survivor from San Francisco, and Dave Penkava, a 64-year old from Asheboro, N.C., came to Washington to add their voices to the intensifying health care debate. Read more about their visit here, as well as the release of a new Commonwealth Fund report supporting a national health insurance exchange where Americans would choose from competing plans, comparing on an “apples-to-apples” basis, and picking the one that works best for them. The report also includes an analysis of the ‘public plan option,’ showing it would help lower costs and provide a reliable option that could give Americans better care.
She is a self-employed hairdresser from the city of Dalton, Ga., who watched her business trickle as the local carpet mills closed. They are a retired couple from the small town of Fletcher, N.C., whose dream of early retirement was crushed when the tanking economy wiped out their savings.
Jill Thomason and the Minnicks don’t know each other. But they know each other’s story well – neither can afford health insurance, and each day without insurance is a gamble they know they shouldn’t take.
Mary Defayette, a breast cancer survivor from Eagle, Idaho, told Consumers Union that despite her need for follow-up treatment and costly prescriptions – and the haunting fear of a relapse – the $8,500 annual cost of her health insurance finally forced her to drop her coverage. For the first time in her life, she is uninsured.
This week, Mary told her story to the press, and members of Congress, too.