Yippee! Health Care Reform, We Need Information

That’s it.  We’ve done it.  Our elected officials listened to the majority, and the result was sweeping social reform.  Gradually we’ll see a better society as a result of this change.  We’ll see everyone with the best health care in the world.  No one will be left on the wrong side of the fence, peering in at good care they can’t get.  And as a result of preventative care and care before the point of crisis, we should see a drop in cost.

But right now, 465,000 Minnesotans need to figure out what to do.

That’s how many of us don’t have health insurance right now, according to Minnesota candidate for governor Matt Entenza.  That’s more than the entire city of Minneapolis, and I’d wager the number is even higher if we count our hidden population.

Hopefully those 465,000 are employed by businesses with less than 500 employees, because that is where we’ll see immediate government subsidies. Tax credits to offset the cost of buying insurance don’t start until 2014, when the government begins handing out tax credits to offset the cost of buying insurance.

In 2014 a family of four earning just over the $30,000 threshold would pay no more than 3% of its income fpr insurance. That assistance stretches up to a family of four earning $88,000 so they would spend no more than 9.5% of their income on coverage.

In 2011, some are eligible for support payments if they need assistance in daily living.  But who qualifies as needing daily assistance?

We need information on how to best get insurance, and information about any assistance options available right now for middle class families.  As I type, I’m on hold.  I’m calling the Minnesota’s Department of Human Services to suggest a public information campaign.

FYI, Here’s WTJ/ Kaiser Foundation on what’s in the bill which shows immediate change and details where we are going:

* Subsidies begin for small businesses to provide coverage to employees.
* Insurance companies barred from denying coverage to children with pre-existing illness.
* Children permitted to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until their 26th birthday.

* Set up long-term care program under which people pay premiums into system for at least five years and become eligible for support payments if they need assistance in daily living.

Taxes and fees
* Drug makers face annual fee of $2.5 billion (rises in subsequent years).

Taxes and fees
* New Medicare taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples filing jointly earning more than $250,000 a year.
* Tax on wages rises to 2.35% from 1.45%.
* New 3.8% tax on unearned income such as dividends and interest.
* Excise tax of 2.9% imposed on sale of medical devices.
Cost control
* Medicare pilot program begins to test bundled payments for care, in a bid to pay for quality rather than quantity of services.

…and there’s more… the article provides details yearly change all the way to 2018.

update, 3/22/2010 at 10:03 AM:  The Minnesota Department of Human Services administrator I spoke with said she’d pass the public information campaign idea on to the Commissioner’s office.

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