Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama: Presidency & Health Care Reform.

Congratulations to President Obama's re-election as President of the United States of America.

©2012 Am Ang Zhang  
As England moves towards the wholesale disintegration of its health care system, the US may at last be able to reform its health care through its Health Care reform:

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's re-election victory eliminates the possibility of a wholesale repeal for his healthcare reform law, but still leaves questions about how much of his signature domestic policy achievement will be implemented as the national political focus shifts to the debt and deficit.
The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which represents the biggest overhaul of the $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare system since the 1960s, aims to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans beginning in January 2014.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney had vowed to repeal the law if elected, calling it a costly government expansion despite the fact that the reforms are based on healthcare legislation he signed as governor of Massachusetts.
Another healthcare issue, Medicare, may have helped Obama on his way to reelection.
The victory included wins in swing states where analysts predicted senior citizens motivated by the campaign's Medicare debate could impact a close contest. The list includes Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Obama and his allies vigorously attacked Romney's Medicare reform plan, which would convert the popular healthcare program for the elderly and disabled from providing guaranteed benefits to giving beneficiaries a fixed payment to help them purchase their own health coverage.

The Guardian: the Affordable Care Act
President Obama signed the budget reconciliation bill containing a package of revisions to the big health care legislation after giving a speech at Northern Virginia Community College, a setting aimed at drawing attention to the education component of the bill.

“Today we mark an important milestone on the road to health insurance reform and higher education reform,” Mr. Obama said. “But more broadly, this day affirms our ability to overcome the challenges of our politics and meet the challenges of our time.”

He continued, “When I took office, one of the questions we needed to answer was whether it was still possible to make government responsive to the needs of everyday people, middle-class Americans, the backbone of this country, or whether the special interests and their lobbyists would continue to hold sway like they’ve done so many times before. And that’s a test we met one week ago, when health insurance reform became the law of the land in the United States of America.”

In his speech, Mr. Obama also sought to temper some expectations. “The health insurance reform bill I signed won’t fix every problem in our health-care system in one fell swoop,” he said. “But it does represent some of the toughest insurance reforms in history. It represents a major step forward toward giving Americans with insurance and those without a sense of security when it comes to their health care. It enshrines the principle that when you get sick you’ve got a society there, a community that is going to help you get back on your feet. It represents meaningful progress for the American people.

Obama administration’s own timeline 
Prohibiting Insurance Companies from Rescinding Coverage.  In the past, insurance companies could search for an error, or other technical mistake, on a customer’s application and use this error to deny payment for services when he or she got sick. The new law makes this illegal. After media reports cited incidents of breast cancer patients losing coverage, insurance companies agreed to end this practice immediately. Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010.   

Prohibiting Discrimination Due to Pre-Existing Conditions or Gender. The law implements strong reforms that prohibit insurance companies from refusing to sell coverage or renew policies because of an individual’s pre-existing conditions. Also, in the individual and small group market, the law eliminates the ability of insurance companies to charge higher rates due to gender or health status. Effective January 1, 2014.

Paying Physicians Based on Value Not Volume.  A new provision will tie physician payments to the quality of care they provide. Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide higher value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower quality care. Effective January 1, 2015. 

Obama from The White House.

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