Friday, January 21, 2011

The More Snow? Really? Edition

It's Friday, but the snow's getting old already -- third storm in 10 days. Oh, well. Might as well get down to the business at hand.

Get this. There's an email going around attacking reform that purports to be from a judge analyzing "Obamacare." It contains many inaccuracies, and actually refers to a version of the law that never passed!!! I've gotten questions about it; it's good to see the inaccuracies documented.

As was planned, the GOP in the House has charged 4 committees with the task of coming up with a Republican health reform proposal to replace the current law. In addition, a bill has been introduced to prevent federal funds from being used for abortion OR TO PAY ANY HEALTH PLAN that offers abortions -- so insurers can't offer abortion coverage even using private dollars if they want their plan in the Exchanges. Interestingly, although they just voted to repeal health reform, many Republicans are praising specific consumer protections contained in the law, such as allowing parents to keep their children on their policies to age 26 and providing help with drug costs to seniors.

In addition, the GOP has offered a bill to allow the sales of insurance across state lines. Why is this a problem? Because it would nullify all the state mandated coverages -- things your state says insurers have to cover, thereby taking away the right of states to regulate insurance. So is the GOP interested in states' rights or not?

Meanwhile, HuffPo reports that there is real concern that the GOP will shut down government over health reform by refusing to pass any appropriations bills that contain funding for health reform implementation.

And still, we proceed with implementation, with HHS announcing new grants to help States establish insurance Exchanges, the marketplaces where you will be able to see your insurance options and make informed choices.

This really isn't a surprise. A new poll finds that, although Americans prefer budget cutting to raising taxes to fix the deficit, they don't want to give up their full Medicare and Social Security. When it comes to those programs, Americans would rather pay higher payroll taxes. And they'd rather tax gasoline or impose a national sales tax than tax health insurance that they get from their employers.

And that's Friday morning's insights for you. Jennifer

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