The Affordable Health Care for America Act Passed
Whew! We received a landslide of comments recently when we published an article called Demand Health Care Reform Now! Some people complained that politics should stay out of our publication. Unfortunately, healthcare is a political issue, and we at Diabetes Health are interested in healthcare. We believe that healthcare should not be tied to employment and should be available to all, regardless of how healthy or wealthy they are. As always, though, we encourage dialog and welcome all points of view. Please keep telling us what you think.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed The Affordable Health Care for America Act on November 7th, 2009, with a vote of 220 to 215. (Reportedly, several members of Congress told stories about people with diabetes during the debate.) The bill would affect people with diabetes by preventing insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and HealthReform.gov websites, it would remove annual and lifetime caps on medical benefits, limit out-of-pocket expenses, and subsidize people who cannot afford insurance. The bill provides resources for prevention (something that is not reimbursed right now) through the creation of a "Health and Wellness Fund" and by funding evidence-based workplace wellness programs.
You can find out how your Member of Congress voted by visiting the ADA Health Care Reform website and entering your zip code. From there, you can send a message to your congressman or congresswoman and let them how you feel about their vote. (You can send your own email in your own words or use the words in the ADA template.) It couldn't be easier to make your opinion count.
The House of Representatives will vote one more time on the final healthcare reform bill before it is signed into law.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Health Reform released a report recently on diabetes and health reform, "Preventing and Treating Diabetes: Health Insurance Reform and Diabetes in America." The ADA announced that it is "very pleased with the report and agrees with its premise, which is that health reform is a critical step in stopping diabetes." The report notes that the current health insurance system offers some protection, but that "many people [with diabetes] fall through the cracks." COBRA coverage and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) help some people, but it's very hard to negotiate the system and not lose coverage and/or pay the full price of insurance without employer contributions. The report says that many "people suffering from diabetes are unlikely to find meaningful insurance coverage in the individual insurance market."
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