Remember September 2010: When Americans Began to Take Back Their Health Care

Chuck Sheketoff

Years from now we may look back at September 2010 and celebrate it as the month when ordinary Americans began to take back their health care from the grip of insurance companies.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act approved by Congress earlier this year, this month — today, September 23 to be more precise — kicks off a host of basic protections for Americans who, up to now, have been largely at the mercy of health insurance companies. These new protections help level the playing field.

How does the Affordable Care Act affect you? Read the rest of OCPP’s September Centerpoints column The Month When Americans Began to Take Back Their Health Care to find out.

And return here to discuss.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at

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    The GOP wants to restore the exclusion of children and patients with prior conditions, take away the tax credits for small businesses, take away the access of young adults to their parents' insurance, restore the donut hole to seniors' drug coverage, remove coverage from preventive procedures, and deny health care to another 31 millions Americans. That's a winning message.

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    It is interesting to me that now that the majority in Congress have passed a health care reform bill, we finally get the chance to debate it. As Ms. Pelosi said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” We are now finding out what is in it and it is not good. Many of the measures are pure cost drivers (like most of those mentioned in Ms. Bauer's piece). Whether the cost is born by the individual, the government (the taxpayers) or the insurance company, someone must pay when we add 'something for nothing.' As much as we need to reform our health care delivery system, I fear we will not realize Ms. Bauer's dream as expressed, "Additional common-sense protections included in the Affordable Care Act will take effect in the future. Once all of them are implemented, we’ll wonder how we ever got by without them. And we may remember that the change began in September 2010." We will instead, likely look back at September 2010 as the start of the move to drive all health care delivery to government control.

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    As one who has seen first-hand what FOR-PROFIT health plans do and have done, I think health care reform has not gone far enough. Witness for-profit companies stopping to issue new policies for children with pre-existing conditions after the law went into effect, or denying necessary medical treatments for patients AND telling doctors they can't even mention these treatments to patients. Who went to medical school, the doctor or the insurance executive who is looking at the bottom line and letting a couple more people die to improve profits for the shareholder? Heck, even Sarah Palin went to Canada to take advantage of their better health care system.

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    As I recall, the elements of the reform that are most popular (perhaps the only elements that are broadly popular) are the ones being touted right now: the end to pre-existing condition exclusions, end of lifetime caps, etc. were all offered in the three Republican bills put forward in the spring and summer of 2010. Democrats could have had all of that with a truly bipartisan bill, with overwhelming majorities like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had (which got more Republican support than it got Democratic).

    Interesting that Democrats are anxious to downplay the core of the reform that actually is uniquely theirs, while claiming the bipartisan aspects as their own.

    Will anyone on Blue Oregon defend the 1099 mandate, for example?


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      By "1099 mandate", are you referring to the notion that the IRS will be hunting down people who don't purchase healthcare?

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        He is talking about this..

        » Obamacare imposes a huge nonmedical tax compliance burden on small business. It will require them to mail IRS 1099 tax forms to every vendor from whom they make purchases of more than $600 in a year, with duplicate forms going to the Internal Revenue Service. Like so much else in the 2,500-page bill, our senators and representatives were apparently unaware of this when they passed the measure.

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          Not true.

          Senator Bill Nelson-D, put forward an amendment that would've exempted purchases of less than $5,000 (which is 90 percent of them) and paid for the lost revenue by cutting oil and gas subsidies. 56 Senators voted for the amendment and every GOP Senator voted against that amendment.

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          It's amazing how right wing shills come into BlueOregon expecting their lies won't be investigated. I guess they expect people who read this site to be as stupid and gullible as their normal audience.

          This part of the law was intended to cut down on the amount of tax cheating that goes on in small businesses (which is huge, BTW), but after investigating it further, Democrats agreed that it went too far, and was unfair to small businesses who do not cheat.

          So they tried to fix the law. But were stopped. In truth, the only reason this provision still remains is because REPUBLICANS FILIBUSTERED THE FIX.

          To alleviate the health care reform 1099 requirement, The New Republic reported that Florida Democrat Bill Nelson proposed an exemption for small businesses with 25 workers or less. Nelson’s proposal also raised the reporting threshold from $600 to $5,000 for all businesses. The lost revenue would be recovered by cutting government oil and gas subsidies to energy companies. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post reported that in the Senate vote, Nelson got 56 votes–a majority. But since he didn’t get 60 votes, those 56 votes were worth nothing.

          Republicans are all for cutting spending and reducing bureaucracy, unless it means actually cutting spending and reducing bureaucracy.

          But the lying corrupt bastards sure talk a good game, now don't they?

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        mandates that beginning in 2012 all companies will have to issue 1099 tax forms not just to contract workers but to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year.

        For example, if Kari buys a new Mac for work, he would have to send Apple a 1099. This would entail enormous effort by both purchasers and sellers of products.

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          It is also worth noting that the White House has been asking Congress to amend the finished health care law on this very point. The Obama administration is pushing to scale back a tax reporting requirement in the health care law. Specifically, Secretaries Tim Geithner and Kathleen Sebelius wrote to the Senate leadership in support of an amendment proposed by Senator Ben Nelson (which I mention down-thread) that would alter the requirement.

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      Thats a red herring. But lets look at how the D's and R's approached repeal.

      The Dem's had an amendment to eliminate the 1099 changes, but to make it budget neutral, the proposed offsets by eliminating oil and gas subsidies. The vote in the Senate for cloture was, 56 D's for 43 R's against. So it never moved on and died.

      The Senate Rep's alternate bill proposed repealing 1099 requriments and making it budget neutral by eliminating public funding for HIV prevention, cancer screening, flu vaccinations, and public health care mandates. That bill failed outright 43 R's for, 56 D's against.

      So it appears R's care most of all about oil and gas subsidies, secondly about 1099 reform, and third, public health.

      Defend That. Defend that.

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    This is a good one for healthcare.

    » Obamacare allows the IRS to confiscate part or all of your tax refund if you do not purchase a qualified insurance plan. The bill funds 16,000 new IRS agents to make sure Americans stay in line.

    Since the lower income portion of America does not pay taxes and is due a refund who does this hurt? The rich who can afford any health insurance or the middle income and below who are living paycheck to paycheck.

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      So you prefer that people freeload off the system, by going into ER rooms because they don't have insurance when they get sick, and the hospital cost-shifts it onto you and me?

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    When you point out that companies can no longer impose life time caps on benefits or exclusionary underwriting, you are correct that this will make a tremendous improvement in the lives of those people affected. But that extended coverage is not free. Insurance companies will not pay those extra losses by reaching in to some imaginary piggy bank they’ve kept hidden. They will instead come to the mandated ranks of policy holders and say, “pony up.”

    Health care reform is not a seizure of control by the people away from insurers, rather it represents a commitment by the people to pay for those who cannot afford coverage for themselves. That is an altogether different story that is no less praiseworthy.

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    I sure hope Chuck is joking. We've moved care AWAY from government control and TOWARDS insurance company control, without any meaningful cost controls on delivery, taken away women's reproductive rights, changed nothing on recissions, and provided virtually no oversight (cf California saying up front they would have no resources to challenge insurers like BC/BS for violating recission rules).

    This will be remembered as the month that the American people had a half loaf shoved up their rears, and told to vote like it was a golden dildo.

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