Health reform is now law. So what will health reform do for you?
Today, Health Care for America Now launched a feature on the homepage of its website dedicated to answering that question. It lays out the benefits of health reform for people depending on their insurance status - and when those benefits go into effect.
In keeping with our tradition, we will also highlight ways you can get involved with the continuing health reform fight. Because it will continue. Even though health reform is law the reform fight is far from over. The battle must continue on numerous fronts.
First, reform is being attacked by the radical right-wing, who are calling for its repeal.
While the effort to challenge health reform in court is unlikely to be successful, repeal efforts present an opportunity. Anyone who advocates repeal should be asked how far they're willing to go. Are they willing to say insurance companies should be allowed to deny care based on pre-existing conditions? For children? Or small businesses should give back their tax cuts for employee health care?
When asked, reform opponents like, for example, Missouri Senate candidate Roy Blunt tend to tell us exactly which side they're on - siding with the insurance companies and saying denials of care are completely acceptable. Opponents like this need to be called out and exposed.
Second, reform could be gutted from the inside by insurance companies and their lobbyists.
Health reform leaves a large amount of the crucial details up to national and state regulators. Whether regulators can effectively control premium increases, enforce Medical Loss Ratio provisions, and police pre-existing condition regulations will depend on how regulatory rules get written and enforced. Already, HHS is taking public comment on rules relating to premium oversight and MLR. You can bet insurance company lobbyists will be submitting as many comments as they can to make the rules HHS and the states write as favorable to profits as they can. It's crucial the people stand up and make their voice heard in this process.
And lastly, real efforts must be made to improve the law in Congress.
Giving the government stronger authority over rate increases, as proposed by Senator Feinstein and endorsed by President Obama, is still a good idea. A national public health insurance option is still a good idea. There are still champions in Congress willing to push issues like this. There are people running for Congress who are pushing for more and who deserve support. And the American people are still with us. We should keep fighting for more.
Health Care for America Now was formed in July of 2008 with the express purpose of turning health reform into law. Now that this has happened, Health Care for America Now is sticking around to expose the right wing for the insurance industry cronies they are, make sure the law is implemented in a way that lives up to the promise of reform, and help make further legislation a reality. The organization will be led by Ethan Rome, up to now our Deputy National Campaign Director, with our National Campaign Director, Richard Kirsch, transitioning into a role of Senior Adviser.
I joined the campaign in July of 2008 vowing to see it through until health reform either passed or died. Come tomorrow, I will be leaving Health Care for America Now. However, I plan to continue writing on the health reform fight as it moves forward. You can find my future work at my blog, The Seminal.
Health Care for America Now will continue to rally the grassroots, pressure Congress, and above all, make it clear that if the insurance companies win, we lose. And I'm confident it will be as successful in future endeavors as it was in its mission to make history and pass health reform.