Health Reform the Law of the Land, Now What?

Posted on March 25, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

On Tuesday President Obama signed into law a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system that will significantly impact Americans across the board.

The $938 billion health care bill, passed by the House 219 to 212 without a single Republican vote, ushers in the biggest changes to the U.S. health care system since the creation of the Medicare program in 1965. Among its provisions the bill will provide health coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans; expand the government health plan for the poor; and impose insurance reforms like barring companies from dropping coverage for the sick and halting the practice of denying coverage for pre-existing medical condition.

Some of the reforms take effect within months while others, like the requirement that most Americans must have health insurance or pay a penalty, and that employers with more than 50 employees must provide health coverage to their workers or face a fine, don’t kick-in until 2014.

The President in signing the bill said it enshrines “the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.”

The yearlong push to pass health care reform, the centerpiece of the President’s agenda, was seen as a test of Obama’s political power. It was an extremely contentious battle with the outcome in doubt right up to the final moment.

The fight is far from over. Republican lawmakers have vowed to repeal the bill and GOP Senators, a day after the President’s signing ceremony, attempted to derail the so called “fixes” to the bill by introducing a series of amendments that would send the bill back to the House for another vote. While most of the amendments were rejected, at least two provisions of the reconciliation bill will require a second House vote. The revisions, termed as “minor”, deal with the federal student loan program and the exemption of mobile mammography units from a federal fuel tax.

Senate Democrats are confident the House will “quickly” pass the fixes to the health bill.

On another front, the attorney generals of 14 states, all but one Republicans, have sued to block the new health care law, claiming that the federal government can’t mandate the purchase of medical insurance.

The far-reaching health care bill, which also seeks to check rising health care costs and shrink the federal budget deficit, will be paid for in part by a combination of tax hikes, fees on insurance companies, drug makers and medical device manufacturers and Medicare spending cuts.

While the Congressional Budget Office has projected the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $142 billion in the first 10 years, what are the other impacts of the health care revamp?

Surprisingly, one of the bills most significant impacts has nothing whatsoever to do with health care, but will change how college educations are financed.

Attached to the health bill that initially passed the House, but must now survive a second vote, is the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which would bar private lenders from originating federal student loans. Instead, federal student loans would come directly from the Department of Education and will save the federal government as much as $7 billion per year.
Like the Republicans, the health insurance industry was vehemently opposed to the health care bill, but according to the Wall Street Journal “insurance stocks rallied” as investors began to realize their worst fears had not materialized.

Likewise, it is predicted that drug companies and hospitals will benefit since the bill will create millions of newly insured patients.

Even the commercial real estate industry is expecting a bump from health care reform. The bill is expected to grow demand for primary medical services, which translates into a demand for medical office buildings.

Share your views on this historic bill by commenting below.

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One Response to “Health Reform the Law of the Land, Now What?”

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I read that many of the reforms were originally introduced by the Republican administration years ago.

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