This is one source (CNN) reporting on the bill, and of course it's still due for a lot of mark-up. But what I see here, just glancing over, gives me hope that we might actually get some kind of meaningful reform.
"According to the CBO, the bill would cover 97 percent of Americans by 2015."
That's notable. Getting the majority of Americans coverage, even if it's shitty coverage, at least moves us from "third world country" in terms of our healthcare to "poorly-run first world country."
"The bill includes tax surcharges on Americans in the top 1.2 percent of income. It proposes a 5.4 percent surtax on couples earning more than $1 million, a 1.5 percent surtax on couples with income between $500,000 and $1 million, and a 1 percent surtax on joint incomes over $350,000 or individual income over $280,000."
I can't be elitist if I think anyone making over $280,000 can spare some taxes, right? Isn't that reverse elitist or something? At any rate, I make less than $100,000 a year - considerably less - so this doesn't affect me, and maybe I'm just anti-capitalist, but it seems to me that if you're making over $1 million dollars a year, you've got money you can spare to make sure your fellow Americans have basic health coverage.
Does that make me a socialist? It does, doesn't it? Damn it!
Oh, and I'm one of those small business owners unaffected by this. I am apparently a "micro business."
" -- A Health Insurance Exchange providing individuals and small business with choices for coverage, including a government-funded public option."
Holy shit, are we actually going to get a public option?
"-- No more coverage exclusion for pre-existing conditions."
Any word on legal penalties for insurance companies that dump folks who have medical issues, like cancer?
"-- Affordability credits for low- and moderate-income individuals and families, available to those with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $43,000 for individuals and $88,000 for a family of four."
This all sounds in the right wheelhouse. Maybe even more generous than I'd expect. It'll probably be cut down.
"-- Limits on annual out-of-pocket spending."
Hallelujah. Less bankruptcies due to medical costs will have a huge positive effect on the economy.
"-- Expanded Medicaid coverage to individuals and families with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level."
Again, sounds pretty fair.
"-- Required participation by individuals, with a penalty of 2.5 percent of adjusted gross income for non-compliance."
I have to admit, I was against any kind of mandate to get health coverage, but I understand the philosophy behind it (requiring preventative care increases the effectiveness of medical care and makes it cheaper for everyone).
"-- Requirement that businesses with payrolls exceeding $250,000 provide their employees with health coverage or contribute up to 8 percent of their payroll on their behalf."
My payroll is small enough that this doesn't affect me... but I already offer health coverage for my employees, because it seems like the right thing to do.
"-- A series of measures intended to reduce costs of Medicaid, Medicare and other existing systems."
This sounds so much better than I thought it would a few weeks ago. I'm still skeptical, and worried about conservative Democrats blocking things (the Republicans seem too mired in making themselves look like asses at the Sotomayor hearings and having sex outside of marriage to be much of a threat at this point), but this looks much, much better than I thought it would.