Framingham Online News

What's in the Health Care Bill?

March 24, 2010 (6:55 am EST)
Filed under: Health & Fitness,Politics by Randy Harris

Yesterday, on March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law; H.R. 4872 - Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, (commonly referred to as "The Health Care Bill").

While claims of "Medicare death squads", "Government Takeover of Health Care", and pundits claiming the bill will force employers to layoff or fire existing employees, (and make it unaffordable for them to hire anyone new), there does not appear to be any language in any of the legislation that would indicate such things.

Financial claims range from the bill saving billions to it being something that will eventually bankrupt the country.

No matter which side of the aisle you're on, you need to read the legislation very carefully to understand what it attempts to do, and only time will tell if it reaches it goals.

Some of the key health insurance reforms in the bill include:

  • children with pre-existing conditions can not be refused insurance.
  • children can stay on their parents' insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.
  • insurance companies can no longer drop you when you get sick
  • insurance companies can no longer implement "lifetime caps" on coverage
  • adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions can buy into an affordable subsidized "high-risk" insurance pool.
  • up to 35% tax credits this year to small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees.

While the bill is not perfect, some of the provisions clearly demonstrate the bill is forward looking, and should not only improve American's access to health care, but make them healthier!  For instance, the bill now requires , "new private plans to provide free preventive care with no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services".   And requires that on January 1, 2011, "Medicare will do the same."

The bill also mandates that a commission be formed to look into how to improve the health care industry as a whole, and provide funding to train more doctors, nurses and other health care workers to meet the needs of our aging population.

Read the official word on "What's in the Health Care Bill" at:

Since the legislative process for passing this bill has been such a twisted bumpy ride, the final  legislation is considered a "reconciliation bill", (basically a procedure for review and adjustment to bring law and spending for the law into line).

The reconciliation process took a Senate Bill, and brought it into line with a House of Representatives Bill,  then amended and passed the Senate bill, (by a 219 to 212 majority vote).  The President then signed the legislation into law.

For more detailed info about what the effects of the legislation are, (and the process used to pass it), visit the following links at, (note:  view the "Official Summary" for plain language descriptions of each section of the bills).

H.R.3962 - Affordable Health Care for America Act

H.R.3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Within minutes of the bill being signed into law,  Attorney Generals from more than a dozen states joined in a lawsuit to repeal the bill, and although the Health Care Bill was "passed", it may be some time before the issue is completely settled.

  1. This is the most concise presentation of what’s in
    the health care bill of the four newspapers I’ve checked
    for information. Included are details of where to find
    health care reforms not mentioned in above material.

    Comment by r. carol — March 29, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

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