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PORTSIDE  November 2010, Week 1

PORTSIDE November 2010, Week 1

Subject:

Hands Off My ObamaCare

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 4 Nov 2010 22:41:48 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (146 lines)

Hands Off My ObamaCare

by Ellen Dannin
submitted to Portside by the author

Working Life

October 27, 2010

http://www.workinglife.org/blogs/view_post.php?content_id=15009

Maybe my extended family is unusual in terms of health
problems, but the past couple years have left us really
needing the protections provided by ObamaCare. If it is
repealed, we stand to lose access to health care.

One relative, married with two teenaged sons. Her sons have
had a string of accidents that put "boys will be boys" to
the test. They have gotten sick and been hit by reckless
drivers more than once - with one injured so badly that he
was medivaced from the scene of the accident and was not
expected to live. Her husband suffered a brain aneurysm and
survived after speedy and major medical intervention and
incredible luck and family support.

They depend on my relative's employer for their health
insurance. None is available through her husband's
employer. She works in accounts for a large company, and
each year her share of costs for insurance have risen so
steeply that just a couple days before her husband suffered
the aneurism, she opted for far less coverage so she could
afford the payments. Add to all this, she is going to night
school to get her degree.

Her sons hope to go to college, but sooner or later they
will need to work. ObamaCare protects them from losing
health insurance coverage by letting them stay on their
parent's insurance till age 26. It gives them - and their
future employers - an advantage my daughter did not have at
their age. When she graduated from college and was looking
for a job, I could no longer carry her on my health
insurance. For weeks, her job offers fell into two
categories - either very cool, interesting jobs with small
start-up employers that offered no health insurance or jobs
with health insurance as the only reason she would even
consider them.

She cared about health insurance because she had had a wake-
up call when she was seriously injured while at college.
She got great care - and has the scars to show it. But in
the aftermath, she found herself mired in months of fighting
her health insurance carrier to provide the coverage they
had contracted to pay.

Under ObamaCare, she could have health insurance through my
carrier to age 26. -- That would have let her take the jobs
she really liked and would have helped those small employers
by letting them attract smart, good employees like my
daughter.

After weeks and weeks, she finally got a job offer doing
work she liked and with health insurance.

A couple years ago, I found myself ill with two rare
diseases with no cures (but with treatments for some of the
symptoms). I have great health insurance and have gotten
very good care through months of tests to diagnose my
problems to access from specialists. I'm likely to need
that very good coverage for the rest of my life. Before
ObamaCare that coverage and treatment could have been easily
lost.

I am also lucky to be part of a very large insurance pool at
my job - one that includes many, many healthy people.
Having such a large pool that includes people who aren't
sick and won't have accidents keeps insurance costs low for
all of us. That "all of us" not just older and sick people.
It includes those younger people who might think they are
immortal and don't need health insurance - until they find
out they aren't and that they do.

ObamaCare uses that same pooling to bring down the cost of
health insurance by requiring everyone to get health
insurance by 2014. This is one of the most controversial
parts of the law, but the cold, hard fact is that, unless
everyone is in the pool, insurance costs will rise and more
and more people will drop out, leading to higher costs that
almost no one can afford and many, many people with no
health care coverage - exactly the situation that we have
seen playing out the past few years.

So there we are, just regular people with pre-existing
conditions who sometimes have accidents or get sick for no
obvious reason and who work and who would love to have work
they like while still having health care. Before ObamaCare,
those common problems could mean denials of coverage and no
or poor health care. Worse, medical services cost so much
that, in 2007, 62% of all personal bankruptcies were caused
by health problems. Even having health insurance was not
enough to avoid bankruptcy. 78% of those filing for
bankruptcy had health insurance.

All of us are already benefiting from ObamaCare whether we
realize it or not. For example, as of this past summer,
insurers must provide blood pressure, diabetes, and
cholesterol tests; many cancer screenings; routine
vaccinations; pre-natal care; and regular wellness visits
for infants and children with no co-pay. Why these tests
and why no co-pay? Because these tests diagnose problems,
and when problems are found early, treatment and cures are
more effective.

We all will benefit as new protections kick in. Details
about those benefits can be found at the new Health and
Human Services website created to make getting information
about healthcare easy - http://www.healthcare.gov/.

If the 2010 elections go the wrong way, all this will be
lost. We must prepare now to fight against repeal. It is
all that stands between us and losing access to health care
and going bankrupt to pay for it. Our rallying cry must be:
Hands off our ObamaCare!

[Ellen Dannin is Fannie Weiss distinguished faculty scholar
and professor of law at Penn State Dickinson School of Law
and author of "Taking Back the Workers' Law - How to Fight
the Assault on Labor Rights."]

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
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