22 March 2010

Health care progress

It passed! It's not perfect, but it's a great first step. I'm happy. Actually I think it's the best possible result given the ridiculous behavior of US politicians over the last year. The Consumerist has a great summary of what will change, in case you need a quick refresher:

Under the plan:

-Insurance for families of four making up to $88,000 (or 400% of the federal poverty level) will be subsidized.

-Medicaid is being expanded to cover those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that would be approx. $29,000.

-Families earning over $250,000 will see an increase in the amount of money the pay to Medicare from their paychecks.

-Insurance companies that provide high-end health plans (those valued at over $8,500 for an individual or $23,000 for families) will see a significant tax increase.

-You will be required to have health insurance or be fined either $750 or 2% of your income. A compromise package, passed at the same time as the Senate bill, would change those numbers to $695 or 2.5% of your income.

-Companies with more than 50 employees will be required to provide coverage or pay $750 per employee that relies on government subsidies for their insurance. The compromise package ups this to $2,000 per employee.

-Any woman wishing to use federally subsidized coverage for an abortion -- except in the case of rape, incest or danger to the mother's life -- will have to pay out of pocket or seek private insurance.

-Parents will be permitted to keep their children on their health care plans until age 26.

An even more detailed summary is available here, detailing what will change immediately and in the coming years.

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