Maggie Mahar
Fellow at The Century Foundation

Maggie Mahar

Maggie Mahar is a fellow at The Century Foundation where she writes HealthBeat blog . She is the author of “Money-Driven Medicine."

2013, not 2014

Reform should begin in 2013, not 2014 as the Senate bill states.

What if in 2012, unemployment remains relatively high, the recession continues? What if voters blame President Obama and vote him and his Congressional supporters out of office?

Under the Senate bill, the exchanges where Americans can choose between a public plan and private insurance aren't scheduled to open until 2014. Only then will subsidies be available to the millions of uninsured Americans who, today, are forced to "go naked" because they cannot afford insurance. In addition, the laws that would regulate insurers wouldn't go into effect until 2014.

This means that if conservatives won the 2012 election and took control of both the White House and Congress in January of 2013, they would have a full year to dismantle health-care reform before it ever had a chance. In 12 months, determined politicians could repeal most, if not all, of the reform plan.

The House bill, by contrast, calls for heath-care reform to begin in 2013. Even if conservatives won in November of 2012, they would have only two months to try to figure out how to derail the plan.

Reform would begin on January 1. This means that voters would have a chance to see health-care reform in action. Self-employed Americans and early retirees who had been forced to buy insurance in the pricey individual market would suddenly have access to group rates. Low-income and middle-class families who just couldn't afford the cost of insurance would receive subsidies. Individuals who couldn't buy insurance because of "pre-existing conditions" would find that insurers could no longer shun the sick.

Once we open the door to universal coverage, there will be no turning back. Those who oppose reform understand this and are hoping for an opportunity to stop health-care reform before it starts.

This is why the Senate should adopt the House timetable, and let reform begin in 2013.

By Maggie Mahar  |  November 30, 2009; 5:02 PM ET  | Category:  Economic crisis , Health Care Reform , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Universal Health Care is a Myth, there is and never has been an efficient or cost effective program ran by any Government.

I say scrap Medicare and Medicaid, use the funds from those programs to buy private insurance for every American Citizen. It would cost less and it would keep the Government out of the Health Care Business.

Posted by: jstanton2 | December 5, 2009 2:00 PM
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This bill should point us all in the direction of a National Health Care system. Elimination of the middleman and volume buying is the key to cost control here.

Not to mention, in England, the National Health Service is the second largest employer. (the Military is first) We could use the jobs. If we use American manufacturers, priced by bids-the effect on our GNP could be dramatic.

Anyone that thinks the government can't be efficient has never forgotten to pay their taxes or tried to duck the draft.

Posted by: ThePoliticalStraycom | December 5, 2009 12:43 PM
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