Immediate benefits of healthcare reform bill

One argument opponents are using to try to block healthcare reform is that we’ll have to wait four years for change to begin. That’s simply not true, according to talking points the White House has dispatched to Congressional offices.  And while I’m not a big fan of pre-ordained, canned talking points, these actually contain some helpful information worth passing along.

Published on March 16—ironically enough—on Talking Points Memo, they highlight some welcome, reassuring and hope-inspiring aspects of the healthcare reform bill. According to the talking points, the healthcare reform bill will provide the following benefits in 2010:

  • Tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage
  • Prohibiting pre-existing conditions exclusions for children in all new plans
  • Immediate access to insurance, through a temporary high-risk pool, for uninsured Americans, who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition
  • Prohibiting individual plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick
  • Eliminating lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans
  • Require insurers with high administrative expenditures to give premium rebates to enrollees, and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs
  • Require that consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions
  • Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost sharing
  • Relief on the “donut hole” in the Medicare prescription drug program

Is it any wonder that the health insurance companies and drug manufacturers are against this? These changes may not do everything, but they’re a major step forward–and they take effect in 2010. The wrath of the forces lined up against them says it all: “bad” for insurance companies, good for consumers.