Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday News Roundup

When and How Health Care Reform Will Affect You?

The American Medial News provided a helpful time line listing when the various provisions of the new health care reform law will go into effect. Do dig deeper, following the link above. To dig even deeper, follow this link or this link. If you still want to know even more, check out this article in the Christian Science Monitor. They  have a nine part series of articles called Health care reform bill 101.

This is a complicated discussion and there is a lot to learn. The facts about this law don't lend themselves well to 140 twitter characters or a sound bite on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News.


  • Offers tax credits to small businesses that offer health coverage.
  • Starts to close the Medicare drug benefit's coverage gap to eliminate it by 2020.
  • Authorizes the creation of a 15-member Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board to extend Medicare's solvency, lower health care costs and improve health outcomes.
  • Extends the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting Initiative through 2014, establishing a physician appeals process and penalizing nonreporting doctors starting in 2015.
  • Authorizes the Food and Drug Administration to create a pathway for approval of biosimilar versions of biologic drugs.
  • Extends the Medicare work geographic practice cost index floor through 2010.
  • Provides funding for the practice expense geographic practice cost index floor for 2010 and 2011.

90 days after enactment (June 2010)

  • Creates a temporary high-risk pool for Americans who are uninsured due to a preexisting condition.

6 months after enactment (September 2010)

  • Prohibits health plans from canceling coverage for people who get sick and placing lifetime caps on benefits.
  • Tightens restrictions on annual coverage limits.
  • Extends health insurance eligibility for dependents to age 26.

By the end of 2010

  • Begins greater investments in primary care physician training and community health centers.
  • Prohibits physician-owned hospitals without a Medicare provider agreement from participating in the program.


  • Eliminates co-pays and deductibles for Medicare preventive care.
  • Requires individual and small group health plans to spend at least 80% of premiums on health care; increases the floor to 85% for large group plans.
  • Creates a long-term-care insurance program for adults with disabilities.
  • Provides a 10% Medicare pay bonus from 2011 to 2015 for certain primary care and major surgical procedures in health professional shortage areas.


  • Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to anyone with a preexisting condition.
  • Expands Medicaid eligibility nationwide to 133% of the federal poverty level.
  • Directs the Dept. of Health and Human Services to create health insurance exchanges in states that have none.
  • Establishes government subsidies for people earning between 133% and 400% of poverty to buy coverage through exchanges.
  • Requires individuals to have a minimum level of coverage or pay penalties.
  • Requires all but small employers whose workers enroll in exchange plans to help pay for the coverage.
  • Begins reducing federal funding to safety net hospitals for the care of low-income people.


  • Allows recommendations of the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board to start taking effect unless overridden by supermajorities in both houses of Congress.

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