Dec 22 2009
The pending Senate health reform proposal is far from perfect, but honest discussion has been obscured by the misinformation and disinformation swirling around the issue.
For instance, an editorial in today's Newport News, Va., Daily Press repeats inaccurate arguments frequently made by critics.
- Critics have been suggesting for some time that consumers should be allowed to purchase health insurance plans across state lines. This morning's editorial says the Senate bill does not provide "practical reform that would allow people to buy insurance across state lines, creating true competition that might lower bills."
In fact, the “insurance exchange” that would be created through the Senate proposal would allow consumers to purchase coverage from insurers outside of their region, subject to individual state approvals and with appropriate federal oversight to ensure that certain minimum standards are met.
For more precise language of this section of the bill, click here and scroll down to Section 1333.
- The editorial also repeated claims frequently made by members of the minority party that tort reform simply must be a critical piece of any reform proposal. Yet when a medical malpractice amendment was offered on the Senate floor, 12 of 40 Republican senators voted against it. Senator Warner was one of four Democrats who voted to support med-mal reform.
It’s also worth noting that, in effect, state-level actions already have imposed med-mal reform: at least 38 states have adopted medical malpractice damage caps.
- For all of the editorial's references to "new entitlements," it fails to even mention Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit enacted by the Bush Administration and a Republican-controlled Congress back in 2003. This dramatic expansion of Medicare was never paid for, and the Bush Administration did not factor its true cost into deficit calculations. The 2009 report to Congress by the Medicare trustees estimates the ten-year cost of the Medicare Part D unfunded entitlement at $1.3 trillion.
We have posted a list of some of the benefits that millions of Americans will receive right away under the Senate health reform legislation. Those benefits include: no lifetime limits on coverage, tax credits for small businesses looking to purchase health insurance, and extension of coverage for young adults. You can read more of the benefits here.
Posted by staff.