After all the misinformation, that seems to get more air time than the truth, it was good to see this in the AARP Bulletin:

This is not a government takeover of the nation’s health care system. Virtually all of the 160 million Americans with employer-sponsored coverage will be able to keep it.  The 15 million now self-insured and 32 million uninsured will also have the option of private coverage.

This is not a budget buster; it is projected to trim future spending by over $1 trillion by 2029.  This is not a bill that provides end-of-life counseling by government “death panels,” but will expand Medicare coverage to include annual preventive checkups.  The measure does mean that insurance companies soon will no longer be able to deny coverage because of serious illness or preexisting conditions like asthma or diabetes.  Nor can they cancel coverage because you got sick.

It does mean that 32 million uninsured people will now get coverage.  It does mean that the Medicare prescription drug program’s infamous “doughnut hole” will close over 10 years, that the Medicare program will be strengthened and its fiscal life extended at least nine years.  It does mean that solid steps are being taken to curb health care costs, which, left unchecked, would continue to bankrupt families, penalize U.S. corporations — and threaten the careers of their employees.  And that’s just to start.

That’s the highlights of Jim Toedtman’s article, as the bulletin’s editor.  There are some associated costs, including a new tax on so-called “Cadillac” health plans, raising taxes on the wealthy and penalties to employers to do not offer coverage (at least partly offset by tax credits to small businesses) and individuals who do not purchase coverage.  I like the requirement that a high percentage of premiums must go to benefits, not overhead and profit.  I like children staying on parents’ coverage until age 26 and people who have been denied insurance now because of illness being able to get coverage again.

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