Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas gift from the Senate

A moment to savor and celebrate:

Senate Passes Health Care Overhaul Bill




WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Thursday to reinvent the nation’s health care system, passing a bill to guarantee access to health insurance for tens of millions of Americans and to rein in health costs as proposed by President Obama.

The 60-to-39 party-line vote, on the 25th straight day of debate on the legislation, brings Democrats a step closer to a goal they have pursued for decades. It clears the way for negotiations with the House, which passed a broadly similar bill last month by a vote of 220 to 215.
 For those who dismiss the bill as a giveaway to insurance companies,  Pear serves up a deadpan rebuttal:

The bill would establish stringent federal standards for an industry that, since its inception, has been regulated mainly by the states.

Under the bill, insurers could not deny coverage because of a person’s medical condition; could not charge higher premiums because of a person’s sex or health status; and could not rescind coverage when a person becomes sick or disabled. The government would, in effect, limit the profits of insurers by requiring them to spend at least 80 to 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care.

The specificity of federal standards is illustrated by one section of the bill, which requires insurers to issue a summary of benefits that “does not exceed four pages in length and does not include print smaller than 12-point font.”

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