Health Care Bill Responses

The Health Care Reform Bill was passed on March 23, leaving much controversy.

The Health Care Bill will cost $940 billion over ten years. It is estimated to reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the first ten years and will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion dollars in the second. It will also expand coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured.

According to CBS News, the uninsured and self-employed will be able to purchase insurance through state-based exchanges with subsidies available to individuals and families with income between the 133 and 400 percent of the poverty level.

Payment for the plan will involve a 3.8 percent tax on income for families making more than $250,000 per year and $200,000 for individuals.

Duquesne University sophomore Jamie Breitinger thought this tax could not come at a worse time.  She agreed that it is a shame so many people in this country are either underinsured or uninsured completely, and thus have to make decisions about whether or not theycan afford certain treatments.  She feels that people should not suffer because they cannot afford proper health care.

“Just because something seems like a good idea on paper, does not necessarily mean that it would be a good idea to pass it as a bill,” said Breitinger. “I think that overall, it is an extremely expensive course of action being taken when the nation’s economy has not completely recovered yet, nor will it any time in the immediate future.”

There will also be reforms to Medicaid: Medicaid will be expanded to include 133 percent of federal poverty level; states are required to expand Medicaid to include childless adults in 2014, and the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs to cover newly eligible people throughout 2016. Illegal immigrants will not be eligible for Medicaid.

“The possibility for catastrophe that this bill poses to the American health care system is serious; reform is needed, I don’t deny that,” said registered nurse Felicia Gross. “I just know we won’t have enough help to deal with the new loads of people that will come pouring in.”

Beyond Medicaid, there will be reforms for insurance companies as well.  Companies will no longer be permitted to deny children coverage based on pre-existing conditions after six months; insurance companies can not deny coverage to anyone starting 2014; insurance companies have to let children stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.

Some of these reforms brought special interest and comments from University of Pittsburgh student Andrew Flowers, ’12.

“Sure, it says that insurance companies can’t turn away children with pre-existing conditions, but I’m sure insurance companies will find other reasons not to cover them,” said Flowers.

With all things considered, one thing is certain: the bill has created mixed reactions but many people think this reform was needed.

The American public expresses critique and praise on the issue of health care reform, but it is here, whether it is liked or not.