Yesterday, I received an email from The White House. No, I’m not special. I have just signed up to receive updates like millions of other concerned citizens that also get messages from time to time. One must always recognize that there is often a political nature to any message received from The White House, and judge whether or not they are just stumping for support, or if there is a real purpose to the message. In this case, I think it is a little of both.
The message, in its entirety, follows:
The White House
Over the past few years, many Americans have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket, while the quality of their health care declined. One of the reasons I pushed so hard to pass health care reform this year was to make sure that American consumers get what they pay for when it comes to their health care.
Today, we’re launching a new provision of the Affordable Care Act that does exactly that. Next year, insurance companies will be required to spend at least 80 percent of the health insurance premiums you pay on your health care, instead of overhead costs like advertising and executive compensation. If they don’t, they will be required to give you a rebate or cut your premiums starting in 2012.
I asked Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Director of the Office of Health Reform here at the White House, to break down what this means for you and why it’s so important:
This new rules will make our health care marketplace more transparent and ensure you get the best value for your premium dollars. And it is just one of the many parts of the Affordable Care Act that are already making our health care system stronger. Here are just a few ways the Affordable Care Act is helping you and your family:
HealthCare.gov. This new website helps you find private health insurance coverage that’s right for you and your family and now allows you to compare pricing for the options available to you. In 2014, there will be many more affordable private plan choices.
Patient’s Bill of Rights. Insurance companies can no longer place lifetime limits on your care. If you’re a young adult under the age of 26, you can stay on your parents’ plan, and if your child has a pre-existing condition, insurance companies can’t deny his or her coverage.
Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. If you have a pre-existing condition and are having a problem finding coverage, the Affordable Care Act created a special insurance plan just for you.
Help for Small Businesses. If you’re a small business owner, you may be eligible for tax credits to help provide insurance for your employees.
Free Preventive Care. If you’re purchasing a new plan, you’ll get preventive care like cancer screenings, well-baby and well-child check-ups, and blood pressure or diabetes tests for free.
These aren’t just talking points. These changes are saving people’s lives and saving you money, and we will continue our work to implement this landmark law and make our health care system better for all of us.
President Barack Obama
The reader will ultimately be the judge as to the importance of this communication, but as a reminder, the independent cost projections for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is as follows:
Over the 2010-2019 period, the net cost of the coverage expansions would be more than offset by the combination of other spending changes that CBO estimates would save $491 billion and other provisions that JCT and CBO estimate would increase federal revenues by $238 billion.
Cost Estimate for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as Proposed on November 18
As the summary above indicates, the cost projections for this program show it actually being better than cost neutral and actually adding to the federal coffers. Ultimately, we the people will be the judge as to the cost/benefit of this legislation, but it looks to me like we should at least give it a chance despite all of the political rumblings to the contrary.