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Taking ACTION on Health Care
ACTION United fought hard over the past two years organizing our members and our neighbors to make sure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. As part of the Health Care for America Now Coalition we heped win historic health care legislation!
Members organized to picket and protest at the offices of health insurance companies and politicians. We made sure elected officials listened to US not Big Insurance--the main opponents to reform.
The Fight Isn't Over!
- Make sure the legislation is not weakened,
- See Pennsylvania fully implements the program,
- Let PA Attorney General Tom Corbett, who is also running for Governor and has filed suit challenging the implementation in PA that he doesn't speak for us!
WHAT WILL REFORM DO FOR YOU?
(from Health Care for America Now)
If you receive health insurance from your employer (or your spouse's or parent's employer):
The big things will not change - you will keep your current health insurance, keep your current doctor, and keep your current benefits. All the health reform plans being proposed allow people to keep their health insurance if they want to, and that means keeping their current benefits and choice of doctor. So if you get your coverage through work, or if your spouse or parent covers you on their health insurance through work, these big pieces will not change unless you want them to.
Your health insurance will get better and more stable.
Health reform gives your employer a strong incentive to retain your health insurance or make it better. They will have to offer you at least standard, comprehensive package of benefits and your employer will not be able to continue shifting additional costs of insurance to you - they will have to pay at least about 70% of the cost of your coverage.
Your health insurance will get cheaper.
As the public health insurance option forces insurance companies to compete, prices of private health insurance will fall. Your costs, even if you keep your current health insurance plan, will go down.
If you lose your job, you will always be able to get affordable insurance.
If for any reason you lose your job and your employer based coverage, you will be eligible for affordable health insurance that meets your needs, as described below, with the government helping you pick up the tab until you get back to work, and expenses will be capped to make sure you can't go bankrupt due to medical costs. You will always have a guaranteed, affordable backup to rely on if you need it.
If you are employed but do not receive health care benefits from your employer:
Your employer will have to offer you good, affordable health insurance. Under the bill proposed by the House, employers will have to offer you health benefits. Those benefits need to meet a standard for coverage, so you can't be offered sub-par insurance that doesn't meet the needs of you and your family. And your employer will have to cover a large percentage of your health care costs (65% for families and 72% for individuals), ensuring insurance is affordable and your employer can't shift more costs to you. Small businesses are exempt from this regulation.
If you work for a small business that is exempt from regulations asking employers to provide health benefits you will always be able to get affordable insurance.
You will be eligible for affordable health insurance that meets your needs, as described below.
If you buy health insurance on your own, or if you or your family are uninsured:
You will be able to find coverage. You will have access to a new health insurance "exchange," where both public and private health insurance will be offered. You will be able to compare these plans side-by-side and choose what's right for you and your family. None of these plans will be able to reject your application for pre-existing conditions or for your gender. You will have guaranteed access to health insurance.
You will be able to afford coverage.
Any health insurance plan in the exchange will be subsidized if you qualify. Subsidies will be available up to 400% of the federal poverty level, or $88,000 per year for a family of four. These subsidies will ensure that you will only pay a certain percentage of your income in health care costs (that percentage varies depending on how much you make). Bottom line: Health insurance through the exchange will be affordable to you.
You will save money.
Even if you do not qualify for subsidies or choose the public health insurance option, competition from the public health insurance option will force prices for insurance to fall across the board.
Your coverage will be good coverage, stable and secure.
All plans in the exchange will have to conform to federal regulations, making sure that the plan you purchase covers things that you and your family need - things like preventative medicine, regular checkups, and prescription drugs. And, under health reform, your health insurance company will no longer be able to deny you coverage or care for pre-existing conditions. Your insurance company will no longer be able to drop your coverage if you become sick, or charge you more if you're a woman. There will be no more annual or lifetime caps on coverage, so you won't be stuck with tens of thousands in uncovered medical bills. And if you pay your premiums, your insurance company won't be able to reject a renewal of your insurance plan.
Your expenses will be capped.
Deductibles, co-pays, premiums, and other expenses will be capped at a percentage of your income (between 1.5% and 11%, depending on how much you make), so you no longer face exorbitant health insurance costs.
If you are on Medicare or Medicaid:
Your health programs will not be touched. There will be no eligibility or benefit cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Health reform will be financed partly by finding savings in these programs. These savings will come from eliminating portions of Medicare and Medicaid that are no longer needed once we've passed health care reform for everyone. For example, right now, Medicaid pays hospitals a reimbursement for people who come to the hospital without health insurance, and thus stick that hospital with the bill. Under health reform, most people will have health insurance, making these reimbursements unnecessary.
The Medicare "Donut Hole" will be closed.
The "donut hole" in Medicare's prescription drug program that leaves seniors with thousands of dollars in drug costs when their coverage runs out partway through the year will be gradually closed under health care reform.
Is this all paid for?
Yes. Health reform will be fully paid for, and will not increase the deficit. It will not increase your taxes, either. The House has proposed increasing taxes on those that make more than a quarter of a million dollars per year to pay for health reform. The middle class will not be affected.
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Reform For You
Reform For the Insurance Companies
Guranteed coverage, even if you have a pre-existing condition
Denials for pre-existing conditions
Caps on out of pocket costs
NO caps on out of pocket costs
A public health insurance option to compete with insurance companies
No public health insurance option to compete with insurance companies
LIE: Health care reform would mean rationed care
Nothing in any health reform bill being proposed by Congress or the President would ration care. In fact, health reform would end the current rationing of care in this country that occurrs because people cannot afford health care.
Health reform will expand your care in a few ways: Private health insurers will have to insure you, regardless of pre-existing conditions. You will have your choice of insurers - both private and public - to make sure you get the care you need. And you will still get your choice of doctor. In no way will your doctor be told what care to provide or will your care be rationed by a bureaucrat - health reform will end the current bureaucratic rationing of care by your insurance industry.
LIE: Health care reform would be a "government takover" of health care
Health care reform bills would do nothing to get between you and your doctor or give health care over to the government. The foundation of all health care reform plans being considered by Congress is choice - your choice. Under health reform, you would be free to keep the insurance you have if you like it. If not, you would be allowed to choose from a range of insurance options, both public and private, to find what works best for you. Under no circumstance would you be forced to choose government health care.
LIE: Health care reform would mean death panels for seniors
This smear has been debunked over and over again. There are no death panels and there never were any death panels. This is wrong, plain and simple. Organizing for America has a definitive takedown of this smear here.
LIE: Health care reform would cover undocumented immigrants and pay federal money for abortions
The bills being considered by Congress specifically bar undocumented immigrants from receiving health benefits, and no money is provided for abortions.
LIE: Health care reform will bankupt our country
Health care reform will be fully paid for.
A majority of reform will be paid for by finding savings and cutting waste within the current system. The rest of reform will be financed by new revenues. We will not be borrowing money to finance reform.
Instead, it is the cost of doing nothing that is unsustainable. We are spending $2 trillion per year on health care. One person goes bankrupt due to health care costs every 30 seconds. And health care costs are only set to increase. We cannot sustain this trajectory, and so we must reform our system now.
The White House has more information on how reform will be financed.
LIE: Health care reform will cut Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid benefits will not be touched. Senior or low-income care will not worsen. In fact, the health reform bill being considered in the House of Representatives strengthens Medicare [pdf] and Medicaid by closing the Part D "donut hole" [pdf] that makes prescription drugs unaffordable for seniors.
For a full debunking of the health care smear email going around, see here.
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Your friends, family, and neighbors will listen to you about health care reform. Here's what you can say to convince them.
Start with anger at the status quo
Everyone knows somebody who has been screwed over by the insurance companies. These stories about insurance industry bad practices are the best reason for change you can give. Tell your friends and family your story, or ask them about stories that have happened to them or people they know. Then ask them if we should all continue to be at the mercy of the private insurance industry, or if we deserve a choice.
Define the sides
Reform can either work for you or work for the insurance companies. If they win, you lose.
Talk about choice and stability
Tell people you talk to that health reform will increase their choice. If they like what they have, they can keep it. (You cannot repeat this point enough.) But, if they don't like what they have, or if they can't get or afford coverage, they will be able to choose coverage that works for them at a price they can afford from a range of public or private insurance options. They will always be able to get insurance and afford it, no matter what.
Explain the health reform bill
Tell your friends and family exactly how health reform would work.
If they get coverage through work, they would keep the coverage they have. And, their insurance would get more secure, because insurance companies would no longer be able to discriminate based on age or gender, or pass on so much cost to them or their employer that one or both would have to go bankrupt.
If they lose their coverage for any reason (job change, layoffs), or if they ever found themselves without coverage, they would be able to choose from a range of insurance plans - both public and private - in a health insurance "echange." The exchange would help them compare prices and give them subsidies to help them afford whatever plan they pick. Bottom line: They will always be able to afford health care, no matter what.
Keep them honest
Make sure your friend and family know that health reform would create a public health insurance option - an optional health care plan run by the government - that people could choose only if they wanted to. The public health insurance option would keep the insurance industry honest by competiting for customers, forcing the industry to reform their ways.
Bust the myths
Use the information above to bust myths about health refom and make sure your friends and family know the truth.
Word to use:
- Choice - "Health reform will give you more choice."
- Keep what you have if you like it - "Health reform will allow you to keep your doctor and insurance plan if you like it."
- Competition - "Health reform will force the private insurance industry to compete with a public health insurance option to keep them honest."
- Consumer protections - "Under health reform, private insurance will protect consumers, making sure they can no longer deny care because you have a pre-existing condition for example."
- Affordable, quality, and stable - "No matter what, under health reform you will be able to get quality care that meets and is affordable for your family."