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Healthcare Plan C

Here’s the third summary. The whole thing was written by the Associated Press, so I take no credit. I tried to actually find this on the Associated Press website, but I couldn’t find it.

WHO’S COVERED: Around 97 percent of Americans. Illegal immigrants would not receive coverage.

COST: Around $1 trillion over 10 years.

HOW’S IT PAID FOR: Possible sources include cuts to Medicare and Medicaid; a tax as high as 35 percent on very high cost health insurance policies; a requirement for employers to pay into the Treasury for their employees who get their insurance through public programs or receive government subsidies to help pay premiums. Looking to raise $90 billion by taxing health insurance companies as much as 35 percent on policies valued at $25,000 or more.

REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS: Expected to include a requirement for individuals to get coverage.

REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYERS: In lieu of requiring employers to provide coverage, lawmakers are considering a “free rider” penalty based on how much the government ends up paying for workers’ coverage.

SUBSIDIES: No higher than 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($66,150 for a family of four).

BENEFIT PACKAGE: The government doesn’t mandate benefits but sets four benefit categories — ranging from coverage of around 65 percent of medical costs to about 90 percent — and insurers would be required to offer coverage in at least two categories. No denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

GOVERNMENT-RUN PLAN: Unlike the other proposals the Finance Committee’s will likely be bipartisan. With Republicans opposed to a government-run plan, the committee is looking at a compromise that would instead create nonprofit member-owned co-ops to compete with private insurers.

HOW YOU CHOOSE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE: State-based exchanges.

CHANGES TO MEDICAID: Everyone at 100 percent of poverty would be eligible. Between 100 and 133 percent, states or individuals have the choice between coverage under Medicaid or a 100 percent subsidy in the exchange. The expansion would be delayed until 2013, a late change to save money — the start date had been 2011.

Healthcare Plan B

Here’s the second summary. The whole thing was written by the Associated Press, so I take no credit. I tried to actually find this on the Associated Press website, but I couldn’t find it.

WHO’S COVERED: Aims to cover 97 percent of Americans.

COST: About $615 billion over 10 years, but it’s only one piece of a larger Senate bill.

HOW IT’S PAID FOR: Another panel — the Senate Finance Committee — is responsible for figuring out how to cover costs.

REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS: Individuals will have to have insurance, enforced through tax penalty with hardship waivers.

REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYERS: Employers who don’t offer coverage will pay a penalty of $750 a year for each full-time worker. Businesses with 25 or fewer workers are exempt.

SUBSIDIES: Available up to 400 percent poverty level, or $88,000 for a family of four.

BENEFITS PACKAGE: Health plans must offer a package of essential benefits recommended by a new Medical Advisory Council. No denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

GOVERNMENT-RUN PLAN: A robust new public plan to compete with private insurers. The plan would be run by the government but would pay doctors and hospitals based on what private insurers now pay.

HOW YOU CHOOSE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE: Individuals and small businesses could purchase insurance through state-based purchasing pools called American Health Benefit Gateways.

OTHER PROVISIONS: Creates a new voluntary insurance program that would provide a modest daily cash benefit to help disabled people stay in their own homes instead of going into nursing homes.

Healthcare Plan A

Here’s the first summary. The whole thing was written by the Associated Press, so I take no credit. I tried to actually find this on the Associated Press website, but I couldn’t find it.

Plan A

WHO’S COVERED: Around 94 percent of non-elderly residents (those not covered by Medicare, which kicks in at age 65) would be covered — compared with 81 percent today. Nearly half the 17 million non-elderly residents who remain uninsured would be illegal immigrants.

COST: About $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

HOW IT’S PAID FOR: Revenue-raisers include $544 billion over the next decade from new income taxes on single people making more than $280,000 a year and couples making more than $350,000; $37 billion in business tax increases; about $500 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid; sizable penalties paid by individuals and employers who don’t obtain coverage.

REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS: Individuals must have insurance, enforced through tax penalty with hardship waivers. The penalty is 2.5 percent of income.
REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYERS: Employers must provide insurance to their employees or pay a penalty of 8 percent of payroll. Companies with payroll under $250,000 annually are exempt. That level could rise to $500,000 under a deal between House leaders and fiscal conservatives.

Employers could apply for a two-year exemption from the mandate if they can prove the requirements would result in job losses that would negatively affect their communities.

SUBSIDIES: Individuals and families with annual income up to 400 percent of poverty level ($88,000 for a family of four) would get sliding-scale subsidies to help them buy coverage. The subsidies would begin in 2013.

HOW YOU CHOOSE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE: Through a new Health Insurance Exchange open to individuals and, initially, small employers; it could be expanded to large employers over time. States could opt to operate their own exchanges in place of the national exchange if they follow federal rules.

BENEFIT PACKAGE: A committee would recommend an “essential benefits package” including preventive services, mental health services, oral heath and vision for children; out-of pocket costs would be capped. The new benefit package would be the basic benefit package offered in the exchange and over time would become the minimum quality standard for employer plans. Insurers wouldn’t be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

GOVERNMENT-RUN PLAN: A new public plan available through the insurance exchanges would be set up and run by the secretary of Health and Human Services. Democrats originally designed the plan to pay Medicare rates plus 5 percent to doctors, but under Wednesday’s deal with the fiscal conservatives the HHS secretary would instead negotiate rates with providers.

CHANGES TO MEDICAID: The federal-state insurance program for the poor would be expanded starting in 2013 to cover all non-elderly individuals with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level ($14,404).

DRUGS: Grants 12 years of market protection to high-tech drugs used to combat cancer, Parkinson’s and other deadly diseases.

I want to hear what you think.

God Bless

Four Healthcare Plans…

Good morning, Gentle Readers,

Here’s what I’m going to be doing today…

I will use the information I found from the Associated Press to Outline the four different plans. The only change I’m going to make is to change their names to A, B, C, D. There’s no reason to choose a plan because the Democrats created it or to reject a plan because it is created by Republicans. What I want is for everyone who reads the plans, to comment on the one they like or comment on the ones you don’t like. And, don’t just say, that sucks. Be specific. I’d like to know which healthcare plan really resonants with my readers.

God Bless

Healthcare Email From the White House…

I received an email from David Axelrod Senior Adviser to President Obama. He included 8 facts about the President’s Healthcare Plan, as well as 8 myths. I am copying these 16 points, without any comment, into this blog. I want you to come to your own conclusions.

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

8 common myths about health insurance reform

1. Reform will stop “rationing” – not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
2. We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
3. Reform would encourage “euthanasia”: It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
4. Vets’ health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
5. Reform will benefit small business – not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Okay, come to your own conclusions. Watch this space tomorrow. I’m posting summaries of the four plans. I found them at the Associated Press. Read them all and come to your own conclusions. Before the end of the weekend, I’ll post my opinions.

God Bless

    Illinois drivers in Wisconsin

    Message:

    My mother is always complaining about how IL drivers receive more traffic tickets in WI than they should. This upsets her because she thinks that WI cops are picking on IL drivers. Well, I'm here to  say that every single ticket issued is justified. Just this morning, a driver was on my back bumper-so close I couldn't see his headlights-at 70MPH. If I had hit my breaks, he would've hit me. Then  when traffic cleared,  he passed me. That's when I saw his plate. So, then I kept my eye on him and I should mention that he wasn't a young kid - he looked to be 50 or so. He tailgated in the  construction zone and took off speeding when construction ended. And, that's why IL drivers deserve tickets when they drive in WI. And, I know not all IL drivers are like this - some are worse.
    God Bless

    CBS & Hulu

    This past February, I was off work while I recovered from knee surgery and while I had a lot of time on my hands, I was pretty much out of it because vicodin makes me loopy. While I was recovering, Cheryl was in Green Bay helping Kim with little Nicholas, so I was pretty much on my own. With all that time on my hands and no one with which I could talk, I watched a lot of TV and I found the site Hulu. I was able to watch various old TV shows, which is something I love to do. The best part was that Hulu offers very few commercials, so it brings back the good old days where one or two companies would sponsor a show.
    Flash forward to today: This morning, I was reading my Business Week and there’s an article about Hulu and CBS. It seems that there is a debate as to how many commercials consumers are willing to watch during online content. According to the article, CBS conducts tests by aimming infrared beams into the eyes. Somehow, this can tell them when a watcher has stopped paying attention. CBS has taken this to mean that web viewers will tolerate the same number of commercials in online content as they have for TV.
    Now, I should add this before I go any farther, outside of my being out of commission for two weeks, I have rarely watched any online content. I prefer my content the old fashioned way — in front of my TV set. I DVR nearly everything I watch and I skip the commercials. According to the article, only 4% of people would be willing to pay for commercial free content — I’m one of those people.
    Having said all of that, I do like Hulu’s concept of less is more. They charge twice as much for commercials (again, according to the article) and I like that. You can’t fast forward through the ads, so you’re stuck watching them. But, they stick with you. I had a much easier time remembering the ads on Hulu than I do watching television. I think Hulu has the right idea. Less ads means more impact.
    I think CBS with its more is more option is a little nuts. Plus, the last time I looked, Ghost Whisper wasn’t offered online, nor was Criminal Minds. And, this sucked because I had managed to miss both of those shows in one week. And, the main reason I turn to online viewing is to watch a show I missed.
    Remember, people, less is more.
    God Bless

    Healthcare – Stop Now

    I know I’m about to sound like a raving, right-wing lunatic, but we have to stop Congress from making any changes to healthcare and we have to stop them right now. They have lost their collective minds. I was just reading in this week’s Business Week how happy insurance companies are. They’re going to come out winners, especially if there is no public option to the plan. According to the article, there are limits as to what the insurance companies will have to cover to take on 47 million new customers. And, since health insurance is going to be manatory, that’s 47 million new paying customers who will have insurance policies that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

    So, let’s not rush into a bad marriage with the insurance companies. We don’t need their fly-by-night plans with low coverage. We all ready have that — the 47 million Americans have access to healthcare, just not health insurance. Any plan before Congress that doesn’t make American Businesses a partner in this is not a plan this country needs.

    While I’m speaking of businesses, think about it — Wal-Mart is supporting a government plan. Wonder why? Because it let’s them off the hook for responsibility.

    Oh and according to the article the idea of taxing white collar workers’ benefits is back — again. I really resent that, because my dad has been a blue collar worker all his life and he made a lot more money than some white collar workers I know, including me.

    We need Congress to come up with something better. We don’t need 1000 pages of crap. We have enough of that all ready.

    One last thing, what makes me truly different from a real raving, right-wing lunatic is I have a plan and I’ve written about it.

    God Bless

    Cars and Tips

    Let’s discuss the cash for clunkers program. It is a resounding success, according to Business Week, the program helped sell 157,000 cars. I think that’s just get. Now, it is all over the news that the program has been such a success that it is out of money. Congress is thinking about doing it again. I have two concerns with this. My first is that the program apparently didn’t just allow sales of smaller cars go up. Apparently, the trade in couldn’t get more than 14 or 18 mpg — I’m not sure which, as I’ve seen both figures in print – AND the car purchased had to get more than 16mpg. 16mpg? Are they serious? That means those big, hulky gas guzzling SUVs and trucks were being sold. How is that am improvement?

    Here’s my second concern: If we renew the cash for clunkers program, are we just going to artificially prop up the auto industry like the lowering of interest rates propped up the housing market? I worry what will happen to the economy with a piece of it being blown up again.

    I should disclose that I recently purchased a vehicle, but my Suzuki was still getting 24mpg and didn’t qualify for the program even though she had 204,000 miles on her. The dealer offered me $100 for her. I donated her to kars 4 kids instead. I’m a little irked that the Suzuki didn’t qualify for the program – I know, I could’ve lied about her gas mileage, but I’m not that kind of girl – but that people are allowed to purchase vehicles that don’t get better gas mileage than a car I donated.

    So, my suggestion is that we continue the program for another billion, but every car sold must get at least 20mpg city and highway combined.

    Next, we’re going from cars to waitressing, which I know is a very strange combination.

    The next time you sit down in a restaurant, I want you to consider this: That waitress works for $2.33 an hour. That’s not a lot of money. On top of that, whether or not you tip her, she pays tax on 8% of your total bill. Further, depending on the restaurant’s structure, she is giving a percentage of her tips to the bartender, the hostess and the bus boy.

    So, let’s say a waitress works an hour and makes $100 in sales. Before she has tip one to count, she owes the government $8.00 in taxes. She only made $2.33 (which is minimum wage) and she owes 15% (not including social security and medicare and state taxes). If the tables in that hour don’t tip her, she’s just worked an hour of her life she can never get back and worse, she has to pay the government $8.35 for the privilege.

    I know what you’re thinking, what’s your point?

    My point is that before you leave that small tip, you stop for a moment and think about the service you’ve received. If you received good service, make sure you tip 15% of the entire bill — not just the pre-tax amount — because she’s taxed on the entire bill. If you received excellent service, then you should leave a generous tip of at least 20%. And, if you run into a waitress who sucks, just don’t stiff her — you look cheap. Tip her 8%, to cover the tax and complain to the manager of the restaurant. My philosophy is this: I watch how many tables she has. If the waitress has less than four and I can see her yakking with her friends in the back and my service is bad, she gets a small tip and I complain, but if I can see she has a lot of tables and is keeping up the best she can, then I leave an extra generous tip and I make no complaint.

    Oh, and don’t just complain, speak with a manager if you receive top-notch service, as well.

    I should note, I’ve NEVER been a waitress. I couldn’t do it. Long hours on your feet, dealing with rude customers and making very little for your trouble – not my idea of a career, but someone has to do and those of us who don’t should tip them well.

    God Bless

    Palin on Healthcare Reform…

    Now, I’m not sure on how much of the Obama Healthcare plan I actually support. I am not even sure the government is on the right track on how to fix healthcare, but at least I’m not spouting lies on my Facebook page about it.

    According to CNN, Sarah Palin posted the following on her facebook page: “And who will suffer the most when they ration care?” she wrote. “The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

    But, what about the system we have right now, where 47million Americans have no access or cannot afford health insurance? Many of those 47 million Americans probably couldn’t afford the proper care for a Down Syndrome baby. Some, when faced with that decision, might have aborted the child rather than have him. Which leads to the same euthanasia former Governor Palin claims the Obama Healthcare plan will cause.

    Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about the great state of Alaska, but if they have a great healthcare system that was supported by former Governor Sarah Palin, I’d like to hear about it. Otherwise, just shut up. Attacking a system on grounds that outrageous and unsupportive is just crazy. If you can’t offer constructive critism, then shut up. But, unfortunately, the Republican Party and their loonies — such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck — haven’t offered a constructive thought in more than twenty years.

    So, is it me or have all the intelligent Republicans just given up? I know they’re out there. Those Republicans who admire Theodore Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln, where have those guys gone? Richard Nixon was a President who did a great deal for this country (yeah, but only if you exclude Watergate). The man was intelligent, but not this band of so-called Conservatives. They talk about energizing their base, but their base — white, lower middle class or even poor, right wing, uneducated Christians — is a shrinking group and if they continue this pandering, they’re truly not going to be a great party. Someday, I’ll be telling my grandsons about what a Republican was.

    At least, the history books will have pictures of Roosevelt and Lincoln.

    God Bless

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