ABSOLUTELY NO LOSS OF BENEFITS TO ANY RETIREE OR VETERAN AND LOW COST HEALTHCARE
FOR MANY VETERAN’S FAMILIES NOT COVERED BEFORE
By Gordon Duff Senior Editor
Many Americans, we don’t know how many are wailing at the prospect of being able to provide for their families as is done in every other advanced nation on Earth. Health care is not a product or commodity, it is a human right. The attempts to represent it otherwise are going to leave a stain on those who chose this tack for the rest of their lives. As more Americans look at what has been accomplished, those who truely understand will feel a weight lifted from them. Americans will no longer lose their homes, their retirement savings because of illness. No longer will workers be stuck in hated jobs because of “preexisting conditions” or have to read insurance policies with a lawyer and an accountant next to them.
A bill has passed, flawed, incomplete but an admission that America is a genuinely free nation, in theory and now in practice. This is a good day. Today I was called an “Obama lover” by the same sort of people that were spitting on African American members of Congress. I am not sure how big an Obama fan I am every day but today he has helped make me a very proud American.
So much for my political opinion. I travel extensively and have learned that what has been said about medicine in Canada, Britain and across Europe is, for the most part, false. Too often, I have seen veterans in America, in hospitals that cost millions receive health care vastly inferior to that offered free in Britain, free with NO wait. If the new law doesn’t serve the needs of our veterans, we will lobby endlessly until it does.
OUR JOB AT VETERANS TODAY
As this bill takes hold, we will be advising our readers on how best to deal with the changes. This far, retirees and totally disabled vets are not impacted. However, other vets may qualify now under Medicaid and some who are at higher income levels but under financial pressure should qualify for other extended benefits tied to the bill.
For now, we will look for a final version and try to get accurate information out there. Thus far the things that were being warned of, destruction of Tricare/ChampVA and other issues are not proving out. This is no longer a political issue but is going to be one of vital importance that our veterans community is getting the right information.
As of now, wait, study and keep in contact with us. We look forward to comments and discussions that are meant to benefit our readers. I suspect every loophole and error in the current bill to be found by one or another of us. We have work to do and a community to serve.
SOME OF THE BASICS FROM VT EDITOR
Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President’s signature on the health care bill:
1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
4. Free preventative care for all
5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can’t lose your insurance because you get sick.
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.
Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:
Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.
Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.
And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.
But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.
It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.
It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.
And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.
This is what change looks like.
My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.
This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.
Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.
We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we’ve faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right — and actually create the change we believe in.
Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.
President Barack Obama