If you read Gloria Bilchik’s post here on April Fools Day you learned about some hilarious aspects of the health care bill that, well, really aren’t in the bill. But, there are some interesting things that really are in the bill that you may want to know about. Health care sleuth Emily Badger writing for the online magazine Miller-McCune, has unearthed 10 surprising things in the 2000 page bill that we haven’t heard much about. They are:
1. Menu labeling. This is a great weapon in the battle against obesity. National chains with 20 or more restaurants must post “nutrient content disclosure statements” including calorie counts right next to the menu offering. For example, a “Big Mac Value Meal” weighs in at a hefty 1170 calories. To help you put this in context, menus will mention your suggested daily caloric intake of 2000 calories.
2. Swag disclosure. When pharmaceutical reps and device manufacturers give gifts, food, travel, entertainment or grants to physicians, they must report this to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. These “incentives” will be listed on a searchable website available to the public. So, when your doctor prescribes that new drug with all the side effects, you can check to see if the drug rep brought goodies to grease the sale.
3. Right to pump. Workplaces with over 50 employees will have to provide break time and a private location for breastfeeding mothers to pump breast milk for one year after the birth of a child. This has to be a location other than a bathroom.
4. Postpartum depression. The problem of postpartum depression will get more attention in the form of increased funding for health worker training, public education, and research.
5. Tanning tax. Starting July 1 of this year, there will be a new 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services.
6. Adoption credit. Not sure what this has to do with health care, but beginning with your 2010 taxes, the federal adoption credit goes up by $1,000 to $13,170 per child and now becomes refundable.
7. Indian health. The law increases funding and support on tribal lands for behavioral health and substance abuse, health care worker recruitment and facilities construction.
8. Background checks. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will develop a national system for conducting criminal background checks of prospective health care workers who would deal directly with patients in long-term care facilities or private homes.
9. Abstinence education. What??? The bill restores federal funding for abstinence-only sex education. Although proven to be not very effective, the health reform bill allocates $250 million for such programs over the next five years.
10. Your W-2. Beginning next January, your W-2 you receive from your employer will include the cost of employer-provided health care. If you have a Cadillac plan, you will have to pay additional tax.