Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

It’s election season, and that means no TV in our house, because it just gets my blood pressure up. We are politically active, and always vote, but choose to read transcripts of debates rather than watch them, and choose to read analytical pieces rather than slanted, sensationalistic news stories. We even enjoy reading what other countries have to say about our election, our candidates, and our process.

One topic that has come up over and over again is “Obamacare” and whether or not it is good for this country. I decided to dig beyond the political rhetoric to see what the bill actually does. The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on March 23, 2010. A June 28, 2012 Supreme Court upheld the health care law.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has ten sections:

Title I. Quality, Affordable Health Care for All Americans
Title II. The Role of Public Programs
Title III. Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Health Care
Title IV. Prevention of Chronic Disease and Improving Public Health
Title V. Health Care Workforce
Title VI. Transparency and Program Integrity
Title VII. Improving Access to Innovative Medical Therapies
Title VIII. Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act)
Title IX. Revenue Provisions
Title X. Reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act

The Act is 2,409 pages long. It is easy, then, for politicians to take chunks of it to use as sound bites for their election agendas.  It’s complicated and in some ways convoluted, but for families, it does a few pretty awesome things:

  • You cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions
  • You can keep your kids on your insurance until they are 26
  • Removes lifetime limits to coverages
  • It provides small businesses with a significant tax credit for providing coverage
  • It requires insurance companies to cover items like immunizations and preventative efforts
  • It prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for routine mammograms, breast cancer screenings, and pap smears

It also has some concerning elements, such as:

  • Requiring all individuals to maintain minimum health insurance coverages
  • Establishing reporting requirements for proof of health insurance

I have about 2,300 pages left to read. I think the intent of health care reform is good, and I think it’s a starting point. But any time you take 2,409 pages to say anything, I get worried. I’ll have to keep reading to see what our Congress has padded the bill with.

Someone ought to introduce a bill that bills can only be one page long.