The DNC has issued a good summary demonstrating why we need sensible health care reform now. For more info: http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/commitaugust. See below.
Health Insurance Reform (August 2009)
Urgent Need for Reform:
– The status quo is unsustainable.
– 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every single day.
– Over the last nine years, premiums have gone up three times faster than wages.
– Health care costs cause a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds.
– We must enact health insurance reform this year because American families and businesses can’t afford to wait.
Principles for Reform:
– Health insurance reform will build on our current system, to bring security and stability to people who already have insurance and give access to quality, affordable care to those who don’t.
– Since the very beginning of this debate, President Obama has been abundantly clear about three principles he expects any reform package to include: The President is committed to health insurance reform that lowers costs, guarantees choice, and ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable care.
– Any reform plan should include the creation of an “Insurance Exchange,” where people can compare plans and pick the right one for them. The Exchange should include a public insurance option that will operate alongside private plans. This will help keep insurance companies honest and keep costs down.
What’s In It for Me?:
– 47 million Americans are already without health insurance, and every day more people are priced out of the system or denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
– But reform isn’t only about the people who don’t have insurance – it’s about anyone who’s ever been afraid of losing their coverage if they become sick, lose their job, or change their job.
– Health insurance reform will hold the insurance companies accountable, and end the unscrupulous business practices that lead to windfall profits for health insurance executives and poorer health outcomes for everyone else.
– Under health insurance reform, everyone will benefit from EIGHT protections that will provide more security and stability for Americans and their families:
1) No Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions — Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing coverage because of medical history.
2) No Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays — Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
3) No Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care — Insurance companies must fully cover – without charge – regular checkups and tests that help prevent illness, including mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
4) No Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill — Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or lessening coverage for people who become seriously ill.
5) No Gender Discrimination — Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging people more because of their gender.
6) No Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage — Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage people receive.
7) Extended Coverage for Young Adults — Children will be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
8) Guaranteed Insurance Renewal — Insurance companies will be required to renew a policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full; Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal if someone becomes sick.
How to Pay for It:
– Unless we act, within a decade, one out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on health care.
– Eventually, the amount our government spends on Medicare and Medicaid will eventually grow larger than what we spend on everything else combined.
– Health care reform is the single most important thing we can do for America’s long term fiscal health.
– Covering more Americans will not be cheap, but President Obama has promised that reform will not add to our deficits over the next decade, and will reduce costs over the long term.
– The President has identified hundreds of billions of dollars in savings and efficiencies. This is money that’s already in our health system that can be redeployed to pay about two-thirds of reform.
– The remaining third will be paid for by raising revenue. How best to do that is one of the things under debate in Congress right now. (The President has suggested modestly limiting the tax deductions taken by the wealthiest Americans to the same level it was at the end of the Reagan Administration.)
– The Obama Administration has also forged a coalition that simply hasn’t existed before: hospitals, doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical companies agree that the status quo is unsustainable, and have committed to doing their part to bring down costs.
– Since June, Organizing for America has collected more than 1 million declarations in support of President Obama’s principles for reform.
– Tens of thousands of people in all 50 states have participated thousands of events, including health reform roundtables, service activities, door-to-door canvasses, letter writing campaigns, phone banks and press conferences.
– Now, our folks in the field are as energized as they have ever been.
– During the month of August, Organizing for America and state Democratic Parties will continue to build support for reform by facilitating conversations with Members of Congress, holding earned media events and contacting citizens.
We Are Closer to Reform Than Ever Before:
– We’ve made more progress in the last 4 weeks than in the last 4 decades on health insurance reform.
– Four out of the five Congressional committees working on reform have passed their versions of legislation – and that the fifth committee is continuing to make progress in a bipartisan way.
– This is substantial. It means we are closer than ever to passing reform.
– All four bills passed are consistent with President Obama’s principles for reform: each one will lower costs, guarantee choice, provide more security and stability for people who have insurance, and ensure all Americans have access to quality, affordable care.
Republican Party and Allied Groups’ Mob Rule:
– After losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill, Republicans and their allied groups are inciting angry mobs rabid right wing extremists – funded by special interest lobbyists – to disrupt thoughtful discussions about health care reform taking place in Congressional Districts across the country.
– There is a precedent for this kind of behavior in the Republican Party – we saw similar activity at McCain-Palin rallies last year, where crowds were baited with cries of “socialist,” “communist,” and the “birthers” movement was born.
– These mobs of extremists were not interested then – and are not interested now – in having a thoughtful discussion about the issues.
– Instead, they are interested – as many Republican leaders have said – in ‘breaking’ President Obama and destroying his Presidency.
– These mobs are NOT spontaneous gatherings. These mobs are bussed in by well funded, highly organized groups funded by the special interests and run by Republican operatives. They are desperate to stop the agenda for change President Obama was elected to bring to Washington.
– Despite the headline grabbing nature of these angry mobs, they are not reflective of where the overwhelming majority of the American people are on the issues.
– Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of thoughtful discussions taking place around kitchen tables, water coolers and in homes across the country.
– The right wing extremists’ use of imagery like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials, hanging members of Congress in effigy, breathlessly questioning the President’s citizenship and using Nazi SS symbols shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are.
– This type of anger and discord did not serve Republicans well in 2008 – and it is bound to backfire again.
VA DNC Member
I was proud to represent Virginia on the Democratic National Committee for 12 years. I am in DC now, but still active in voter protection and Democratic Party rules. More about me, click here.