The historic Healthcare Bill the entire nation has been bickering about for a year was finally signed into law by President Barack Obama. As Vice President Joe Biden so eloquently put it, "This is a big fucking deal." President Obama used twenty-two pens to put his signature on it once. This is not as easy as it sounds. I envisioned him holding them all at once in both hands and making big sweeping loops, but apparently he separated his 11-letter name into 22 separate parts. Ted "Dead" Kennedy's widow Vicky, got one of the treasured styluses. "I got the second arc from the upper right hand quadrant of the O," she gushed. Biden exclaimed, "This is the best fucking pen I've ever fucking seen in my whole fucking life!"
So what does the this sweeping reform mean for you? Depends. Do you tan electronically? Fake bake? Tan in the box? You're going to pay more. And you should. Sunshine is free, fergawsakes! Like cats. I saw John Boehner on Press the Meat last week and he was freakishly orangu-tan. I think he's had his eyes done, too. He's got that pathetic old drag queen look going on. If you are so vain that you must have a tan in NYC in February, you probably already waste lots of money on your looks and shouldn't mind paying an extra 10% at the Electric Beach.
Got any kids under the age of 26? Guess what? You get to keep paying for their insurance. So, not only are they never going to move out unless they go to jail, you get to pony up another six grand a year when they get hurt practicing stuff they see on 'Jackass'.
The insurance companies are no longer able to deny coverage to your kids because of pre-existing conditions, which so many kids have. I personally know at least a dozen 5 year-olds with Alzheimers and heart conditions who can now enjoy paying insurance premiums just like the rest of us.
Are you a Medicare recipient and pay more then $2830 a year for prescriptions? The government is going to give you a $250 rebate! Woot! Bush would have done this but he knew you'd just spend it all on drugs.
Perhaps you own a small business with less than 25 employees. You're going to get some tax incentives which you might as well sign right over to the insurance companies along with half your non-existent profits.
Insurance companies will not be allowed to cancel your policy, except in the case of fraud. I predict lots of job creation in the insurance fraud investigation field. Men in black suits and dark glasses will be checking Grandma's colostomy bag to make sure that's REAL fecal matter. How does one cheat a health insurance company, anyway? "Haha - I'm not really sick! I just faked it so you would send my doctor a boatload of money."
If you already have medical problems, you will be able to purchase "affordable" insurance from a high risk pool. I can't wait to see what their idea of affordable is for my 3-time cancer survivor pal with the quadruple by-pass. Also, how do they decide who's in the "high risk pool"? That sounds like a pool you definitely want to stay in the shallow end of, like the pool at Lindsey Lohan's house. There's simply not enough chlorine in the world to make me want to stick my ass in it.
That's all the big changes for this year. There's so much more coming down the pike. Let's take a look at 2011.
A voluntary long-term care program will be created to help cover costs for disabled people to stay in their own homes or go to nursing homes. All non-participating disabled people will be moved into SUV's left over from the "Cash for Clunkers" program.
Further prescription drug benefits will be seen as Medicare recipients get a 50% discount on name brand drugs, thereby making them only twenty times more expensive than generic drugs that do the same thing, but don't have the same cache around the shuffleboard court.
Doctors in inner cities and rural areas will receive a 10% bonus for accepting Medicare. Whoopee!
And my favorite - drugmakers will have to pony up a $2.3 billion annual fee which will increase over time. I have some questions about this one, though. First - How the heck did they get that through? Big pharmacy lobbyists will be committing harakiri. Second - will pot growers be included in this fee? It would put the small mom & pop growers out of business. Third - how do they figure out who pays what? Will there a sliding scale for meth cooks?
In 2012, non-profit insurance co-ops will be created that will compete with commercial insurers. This is where it starts getting good. I can't wait to see the ads from these unfeeling bastards who are going to try very hard to hold onto our money.
"Kaiser-Permanente...because you've been writing checks to us so long you're used to it."
"Humana...like humane, but different."
"Allstate...the good hands around your throat people." (in your wallet?)
"Aetna...pretending to care for over 100 years."
Our insurance company, Anthem, which changed its name from Blue Cross because everyone hated Blue Cross, has increased its premiums over 40%. Now everyone hates Anthem, too. We have "catastrophic health insurance", which means almost nothing is covered and the price is a catastrophe to our household budget.
I had some minor knee surgery done 5 years ago. We had $1,000 deductible for this covered procedure. I had to pay another $1,200 to the hospital and also for an "unnecessary" follow-up visit to the surgeon. In all, I ended up spending around $2,500. Since I'm not Canadian, that sounded like a great deal. Until I got the payment summary from Blue Cross which had a big braggy line about how they had saved me $25,000. In tiny print elsewhere on the statement was their payment of $800. That's right - I paid three times what they did because I had the honor of sending them $600 every two months. If I had been uninsured, it would have cost me $25,000! Thank goddess I was being cared for by a wise and benevolent corporate bureaucracy rather than an evil and socialist government bureaucracy.
The biggest fucking deal in this bill won't affect us until 2014, when citizens will be required to have health insurance. This is also when the Teabaggers will absolutely freak the Biden out. Buy insurance or go to jail - it's the LAW! Fines for folks who don't want insurance start at $95 per person, rising to $695 in 2016. Insurance companies getting rich by government-mandated enrollment is what Karl Marx was all about. Happy Birthday, Anthem!
It's too early to know how this system will work out. If it's great, the Left will rejoice and the Right won't admit it. If it sucks, Obama will take the blame and MAYBE we will reconsider Single Payer, or as I like to call it, health care reform. So eat your veggies and get some exercise and try to stay well. Because the only way to ensure you will always have good health care is to become a member of Congress. You'd rather die? Me, too.
To read Aaron Standish's "Unhireable" column on fake health care reform go to"Health Care Plan: Don't Get Sick"
Posted on 4/1/10CommentReturn To ArchivesReturn To Merry Standish Standard Main Page