Making Sense of Healthcare Reform

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So this thing happened a few days ago. Hate it or love it, it’s here, and it will actually affect you. We’ve compiled some of the most immediate changes the bill creates, student-specific clauses, and a listed a few places to learn more about this extremely messy and important bill.

Here are some of the policies that will be taking effect within the year:

“Young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college.” (Reuters)

“The federal program that provides Pell grants to millions of middle- and lower-income college students got a $36 billion shot in the arm from part of the health care reform bill…From now on, borrowers will go directly to the federal government for these loans, and not to banks or other lenders.” (Globe)

“Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.” (HuffPo)

“Enables creation of a new website to provide information on and facilitate informed consumer choice of insurance options.” (DPC)

“Provides assistance to States in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance or health insurance ombudsman programs to assist individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals, enrollment in a health plan, and, eventually, to assist consumers with resolving problems with tax credit eligibility.” (DPC)

And, unfortunately for those of you looking to GTL in preparation for summer, expect to pay a little extra for your T: “Indoor tanning salons will charge customers a 10 percent tax” (Bloomberg)

Making sense of it all:

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  1. cool  

    Thanks Bwog, for the nice summary!

  2. OMG!  

    The Communist Revolution is happening!!!!

  3. Anonymous  

    What about the plan's effect on doctors?

    Important points: "Fully two-thirds of the privately insured will move out of or lose coverage. As patients shift to a lower-paying government plan, doctors' incomes will decline by as much as 15% to 20% depending on their specialty."

    "Physician income declines will be accompanied by regulations that will make practicing medicine more costly, creating a double whammy of lower revenue and higher practice costs, especially for primary-care doctors who generally operate busy practices and work on thinner margins. For example, doctors will face expenses to deploy pricey electronic prescribing tools and computerized health records that are mandated under the Obama plan. For most doctors these capital costs won't be fully covered by the subsidies provided by the plan."

    "The 60% of doctors who are self-employed will be hardest hit. That includes specialists, such as dermatologists and surgeons, who see a lot of private patients. But it also includes tens of thousands of primary-care doctors, THE VERY PHYSICIANS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SAYS NEED THE MOST HELP."

    • Anonymous  

      but the post is about how it will affect students. Read the intro

    • Anonymous  

      “Fully two-thirds of the privately insured will move out of or lose coverage." I'd guess this is supported with data, but it seems like a hyperbolic statement in my opinion.

      Also, it's worth mentioning that the American Medical Association (the largest association of doctors in the US) came out in support of the plan.

    • CU Pre-Med

      Is the WSJ implying that creating electronic databases of prescriptions and health records is a bad thing because of the up-front cost? Never mind that in many doctors' offices today, distributing records involves rooms of filing cabinets, phone calls, and faxes. God forbid we spend money up front to bring efficiency to the system.

      Also, as a future physician, I'm willing to give up some of my (probably still large) future income if it means that millions of people don't have to suffer for lack of healthcare.

    • Anonymous  

      I worked in a doctor's office last summer, sorting through patient charts to make sure they were filed correctly, and believe me, you want your medical information stored electronically. Papers missing, papers in the wrong charts, things misspelled ... those files were a mess.

    • Wait  

      You're just so wrong it doesn't make sense. This article is about a what-if public option, which, since the Republicans are crazy and the Dems are bought by insurance companies, did not pass.

      Here are a few reports by the indispensable Dr. David Himmelstein of Harvard. Primary care is already underfunded, and yes, Medicare and any public option (which we hopefully eventually get) will need higher reimbursement rates. Private insurance companies, though, take 31 percent in administration. A single-payer Medicare-for-all system (even better than a public option) would result in much higher payments to necessary primary care physicians, and less money for specialists on the Upper East Side who give rich old ladies MRIs when they get stressed out. Oh wait! This guy wants to be a specialist there! He wants those big bucks! Sorry, but I'd rather pay for people to go to family doctors early and not have to go to the emergency room with late stage issues. It's an investment that will pay off in huge savings.

  4. Hooah  

    Thank you, Bwog. This is a great service.

  5. Typical liberal argument

    This bill sucks and if the AMA backed it so what? The majority of the country did not want this bill

    Doctors get screwed, the government regulates the insurance market...too many bad things in this bill

    I can't wait till we elect Obama out of office

    • puzzled  

      I keep hearing that - that the majority of the country didn't want this bill, but I've never once seen it backed up by any poll numbers, save for a couple that used horrid sampling and were thus unreliable. This isn't an accusation, I'm just genuinely interested to know where this talking point is coming from, so if you could please point me towards supporting, empirical data with a system of data collection and analysis on par or better than what I've seen coming out of the liberal camp, I'd be most appreciative.

      Also, when you say that it doesn't matter that the AMA backs the bill, and then say doctors get screwed, I'm a bit confused - if this means that a majority of the doctors in America got behind the bill, by the AMA support, doesn't that seem to contradict that? As I can't see a reason doctors would consciously gather to shoot themselves in the foot. Also, every doctor I know is in staunch support of the bill, so once more I'm just wondering if you could please, for my edification, point me to the concrete basis where doctors are saying they're getting screwed.


      • well  

        I sometimes hear one other argument - the Massachusetts election. However, this argument is flawed, because Massachusetts already has a state-level version of this bill (thanks, Romney!), and therefore had nothing to gain (or lose) by the federal bill passing.

    • anon

      agreed wholeheartedly with the above post. even if there are polls that show that the majority of the country didn't want this bill, the policy has been so politicized that i don't even know if everyone realizes the true implications of the bill - and how it will help them, and their children. and for the few that it may disadvantage (who tend to be in the HIGHEST tax bracket), well...their in the highest tax bracket. Certain things may be a luxury, but I would say healthcare is a necessity, and it is the government's responsibility to ensure that people have access. you are required to have car insurance - why not health (PS your high medical payments? mostly because the hospitals have to make up for the millions of patients WITHOUT healthcare who cannot pay for their treatment)

      and as for hurting doctors - my father is a physician, and it is few and far between that you find a physician that doesn't support this policy. Because most of them (the good ones anyway) got into the business to HELP people, and not to make as much money as they possibly could. Doctors make plenty of money (as they should due to the education that they must invest in), and they won't be in the poorhouse with a slightly smaller income. thus, the majority DO support the bill, because they have seen firsthand how desperately reform is needed.

  6. ...  

    i love how cpan is still using a video titler that was manufactured circa 1982

  7. Anonymous

    I can't believe nobody is commenting on the age 26 thing. If you're in college right now, you're probably younger than 23, and don't have to buy private insurance. But individual-payer insurance is RIDICULOUSLY expensive in New York, especially for young people because it's not age-rated. Being on a family plan until you're 26 will save you a great deal of money, especially if you choose to remain in New York.

  8. It's  

    Pretty sad how little people understand about health policy.

    Doctors are the most pro-health care reform people out there. Physicians for a National Health Program ( is probably the best group, about 50,000 doctors strong. And they're for single-payer Medicare-for-all! The only people that say "doctors will get paid like public school teachers" are Upper East Side specialists who waste money on old rich ladies' 40th MRI. Any public option or single-payer would reimburse primary care physicians and nurses and nurse practitioners MUCH MORE. But Columbia kids just wanna be the head of cardiac surgery at Mount Sanai--with single-payer, that guy might only make like $4 million a year! Sad that they'll take such a hit...

  9. Anonymous

    Bwog, you've done it again! Thanks for all the info

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