I read the following article in the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) Newsletter this last week. I am still skeptical that this new Healthcare program will be that beneficial and comments like this do not reassure me. Whenever politicians try to take on something as complicated as healthcare reform, a lot of holes, misinterpretations, and wiggle-room opportunities present themselves as the new, unproven regulations are implemented. I hope they prove me wrong this time.
Please understand, I am not saying the current system does not need to be improved. The problem, as I see it, happened because the White House and Congress rushed to enact an entirely new healthcare system within a short period of time. Who among us have taken the time to read an nine-hundred-page document that most of our congressional representatives have not even read. Trying to solve all the problems in our current system within a few months without ample time for discussion does not seem the responsible approach. A more prudent approach might have been to attack the main issues one at a time and resolve them first. Then, as we gain some insight and experience as well as better understand the issues with the system, work towards improving our entire healthcare program realizing it might take several years and a lot of work.
I apologize for the skepticism, but if a country like ours, with all the resources at our disposal, cannot stop an oil leak from destroying our Gulf Coast, how can we expect to resolve everyone's healthcare concerns in one legislative session?
By Susie Ahn Esq., Foley Hoag LLP
The White House and Congress have emphasized that, while some aspects of the new health care reform law will take up to four years to implement, others—including elimination of lifetime insurance caps—will take effect this year. On April 1, President Obama said that it " will take about four years to implement this entire plan, because we've got to do it responsibly, we need to get it right. But there's also a set of reforms that will take effect this year. So I just want to…I want everybody to understand what's going to happen this year….Tens of thousands of uninsured Americans with preexisting conditions, and parents whose children have a preexisting condition, will finally be able to purchase the coverage that they need. That happens this year….Here's what else happens: Insurance companies won't be able to drop people's coverage when they get sick; or place lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care they can receive."
Visitors to the White House Health Reform website's Frequently Asked Questions page may read the following in response to the question, "What consumer protections will I get this year?"
"Beginning in September 2010, insurers will be prohibited from placing lifetime limits on what they will pay for your medical care, and they can only apply restricted annual benefit limits. Insurers will no longer be able to arbitrarily cancel your insurance policy when you get sick, except in cases of fraud. Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. This applies to all new and existing employer plans."
However, the effective date for these "immediate" reforms, found on page 22 of the 906-page bill, is ambiguous and leaves room for interpretation that could push back the implementation date for many Americans.
NORD and other members of the Raise the Caps Coalition want to be sure these aspects of health care reform are implemented as promised and are concerned that some insurers may be interpreting the language differently regarding the implementation date. For that reason, NORD and more than 90 other patient groups, including many NORD Member Organizations, sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on May 7, urging her to clarify that the reforms identified by the White House and Congress as immediate will be implemented in September. Read the letter to Kathleen Sebelius.