Health Care Bill: What happens now

Friday, April 2, 2010

With the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill, millions of Americans without health insurance will now have coverage. Since nearly 94 percent of the country's uninsured population will have health insurance, many will make a visit to a physician's office. With a current shortage of physicians, the demand will be greater since the health care bill.

Putnam County Hospital receives $1 million from Disproportionate Share Hospital each year. The DSH money offsets what the hospital spends on patients without insurance and the difference from Medicaid patients.

Under the new bill, hospitals across the nation including PCH will be giving up their DSH money in hopes the newly insured Americans will visit their hospital.

"Our greatest concern is not enough of the money will be made up through insurance payments," PCH CEO Dennis Weatherford said.

Across the nation, $150 billion of DSH payments have been "contributed" by hospitals to the health care bill, Weatherford explained.

The most dramatic changes to come out of the health care reform will not be implemented until 2014, when most people will be required to obtain health insurance coverage or pay a fine if they don't; and employers with 50 or more workers, who do not offer coverage, face a fine of $2,000 for each employee; and health insurance companies will begin paying a fee based on their market share.

"I'm thrilled," said Ruth Ralph, executive director of Johnson Nichols Health Clinic in Greencastle, said.

Johnson Nichols provides comprehensive medical care for children ages 0-24. Care is free for those whose families are at 100 percent of the poverty level; those above that level are charges according to a sliding scale. The clinic also provides immunizations, free pregnancy testing and prenatal and family planning programs.

Ralph's concern is that when so many people become insured as the result of the bill, there won't be enough physicians to provide care.

"In the long term, there may not be enough family practitioners," she said. "But who knows? Maybe by 2014 something miraculous will happen and we'll have more of them."

Ralph pointed out that the bill provides for an increase for the rates of family practitioners.

"The problem is, when people get out of medical school they have this huge debt," she said. "They're almost forced to specialize to recoup some of that."

In the final analysis, however, Ralph believes the bill will produce savings.

"We do have healthcare available here in America, but it's the most expensive kind ... it tends to happen in emergency rooms," she said. "When everyone is covered, it's going to lower the overall cost of healthcare, because people will seek preventative care before they end up having to go to the hospital."

Upon passage of the bill, insurance companies were barred from dropping people from coverage should they become sick, excluding pre-existing conditions; young people will be allowed to remain on parents' health plans until the age of 26; and a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps goes into effect July 1.

"Our mission is to have enough resources to provide health care for everyone," said Weatherford.

Therese Cunningham with Cunningham State Farm Insurance doesn't see a big impact from the changes in healthcare.

"Because we are a business with fewer than 50 employees the new healthcare bill doesn't impact us yet," she told the Banner Graphic.

"Ultimately it should held reduce insurance premiums as a whole," she said. "There are some tax incentives included for small businesses but we'll have to wait and see how that goes. It's just too soon to know."

Cunningham does employ several people but does not offer health insurance as most of her staff use spousal insurance policies.

"I'm optimistic that it will work out and allow for more small business start-ups. Hopefully, this is the change we need and if it's not, I'll be the first to go after a change," said Cunningham.

The effect on non-profit organizations may not be immediate either but they are facing other obstacles with funding issues.

David English, Director of the Putnam County United Way does not see an effect on his organization because it is a one-man operation that does not offer health insurance benefits.

Where he sees a possible impact is in the organizations the United Way Supports such as Johnson Nichols Health Clinic and the Putnam County Family Services programs.

"I worry about these programs that are already facing funding issues and that will be indirectly impacted by changes in health care," said English.

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  • DREAM ON FOLKS. I have talked with Doctors that say we will become like England and Canada and have to wait several weeks to get an appointment to see a Doctor and will be limited on medical services.

    Check out England and Canada for yourself and do not just take what everyone tells you about how great it will be.

    -- Posted by Old Man on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 2:13 AM
  • I have a few questions about this bill, maybe someone can help me out with some enlightening answers.

    I have friends in Canada, if they get really sick they cross the border to get treatment in the US. If their system is so great, why is that?

    If insurance companies are forced to insure people with pre-existing conditions how can they stay in business without everyone else having to pay lots more on their premiums? Wouldn't that be like buying a wrecked car and turning it in to your insurance company to be fixed, or did I miss something here? Or, maybe the insurance companies are supposed to fail and there is Good Old Uncle Sam to step in a save the day..... there's your public option....

    If, as we were repeatedly told, the AMA was on board with this plan why were we not also told only 29% of this nation's doctors belong to it? Kinda reduces the clout of that argument, doesn't it? Many of the 69% that don't belong were totally against it and may well seek other employment as this bill takes affect.

    If there was so much waste and fraud in Medicare and they can "fix" $500,000,000,000 of it to get part of the money to pay for this bill why wasn't this done before? Why have the taxpayers had to pay for this waste for so long if it was so easy to correct?

    Why did our elected officials ram this through when the majority of Americans clearly did not want it? And, why does none of this apply to them? They passed a bill that has no effect on them or their staff other than when they get voted out in November.

    How can this not be "socialism"?

    This bill is clearly not Constitutional. How can we, as American Citizens, allow this to go unchallenged if we believe in the principles this Nation was founded on?

    -- Posted by Thomas Paine on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 8:40 AM
  • The Banner Graphic should investigate the earnings/losses of the Putnam County Hospital under the current health care plan. You might be surprised.

    -- Posted by fact_checker on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 9:09 AM
  • What happens now? Your body is now Federal property, you're wearing government skin and they will be more than happy to dictate what you can and cannot do with it. You are now truly a slave to the system, if you want to stay healthy anyway.

    Healthcare as we knew it worked perfectly fine until repeated deregulations of the insurance and medical industries caused it to fail... and then they claimed "reform". This may have been done with the best of intentions, you know, the same way the road to hell was paved, but the current administration will not be controlling it for very long...

    -- Posted by westforty on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 9:26 AM
  • Let me just set the record straight, England is part of Britain, it comprises of Scotland, England, Irelend and Wales, Just like the States which is made up of 52 states, The health care system was wonderful until Thatcher took over in the 80's and she then started to sell health care just like the USA, this caused many problems and caused us to have to wait for appointments, the system is not perfect and is better now than several yrs ago, It does not cost as much as here and we received great care,I for one am tired of working and paying for health care while other people sit on thier butts and let us pay for them to receive care, I know I was born and raised in Britain, So Old Man when you talk about England you should talk about Britain as a whole not just one place...Sorry to be so harsh, but come on people..

    -- Posted by NPmom66 on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 10:52 AM
  • @Old Man: As someone who LIVES in a single-payer (= the best possible solution) system, doctors' appointments are easier to get than in the US. In Greencastle, for example, I once called on a Monday and got an appointment on WEDNESDAY. Here, at home, I call at 9am and can get in by 11am. And that's the case essentially everywhere BUT the US. Old Man, you need to go visit another country, it doesn't matter which one, before you berate systems with which you are wholly unfamiliar. If the new health reforms fail, it will be solely the fault of ignorant, selfish, blind people like yourself.

    -- Posted by the_bugler on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 3:33 PM
  • There is that one little pesky thing I just can't figure out. More people immigrate to this country every year (both legal and illegal) than any other country on the planet. Once they get here they want us to change our society to the crappy third world standard of living they left behind. If you foreigners are so enamored of the countries you left behind, why don't you go back?

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 7:44 PM
  • Bugler, classic liberal response. Cannot argue the point so you turn to the old trusted name calling and claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is ignorant. The fact is this health care reform is bad for America. It is bad for those of us who go to work everyday, pay or bills and provide for our families. Why is it my responsability to make sure that everyone has health insurance. You know, so many people talk about redistribution of wealth and making things fair. How is it fair that Uncle Sam takes so much of my money to pay for their food, clothing, housing, rims for a new car etc... and make it more difficult for me to provide for my family and give my children the opportunity at the American Dream? Truth is the systems in Canada and Britain are failing. People do wait in long lines with insufficent care. Classic example just a few months ago a high ranking Canadian government official went to Miami for a heart operation. If Canada's system is so great then why did he come to the US? His words were something like "my heart, my body". Pretty ironoic isn't it? As a scholar of history and a licensed history teacher I continue to be baffled why so many people still defend socialism as an acceptable form of government. It has failed everywhere it has ever been tried. It is high time for people to start taking responsability for themselves. America is broke and this socialistic health care bill will only put us further into debt. For those of you who have commented on this and want to talk about how great Canada and G.B system is, hop in the car or get on a plane and see ya. Here in America we do not want socialism. We do not want the government controlling everything about our lives. This great country, yes the greatest country in the history of the world, became that way not because of the Federal Government and all of it's social welfare programs. It became the greatest country in the history of the world because of the American people!!!! Come November President Obama will see that the American people do not agree with his policies. One last reminder folks, come May 4th go vote and vote in the Republican Primary for Putnam County resident Dan Stockton. Help make Dan our next United States Congressman come November, so we can have a congressman we know will stand up to this administration and work hard at defunding and repealing this absolute travesty of a bill.

    -- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 10:12 PM
  • Geez, don't know which is worse, illegals or legals who may have the right to vote...

    -- Posted by westforty on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 11:16 PM
  • Well said Heritage Lake Resident!!!!!!! Also don't forget to vote for Steve Westell Republican for Congress in District 8

    -- Posted by THE BUGS on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 9:23 AM
  • I still don't understand how keeping a for profit system of health care has been named Socialism. America's health care system is not sustainable. That is a fact that has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. Uninsured Americans hurt America as a whole. Every time someone without insurance uses the emergency room as their "doctor" we all pay more. Don't we want healthy Americans? Over 40,000 American citizens die every year because they don't have health insurance. If 40,000 Americans died on airplanes every year, we would surely have more regulations on that industry. Do you really want us to keep a system that drops people when they get cancer, or refuses to cover a baby born with a disease? The CBO said that this bill will actually decrease the deficit. The CBO got it right when it said that the changes to Medicare under Bush would increase the deficit, but I didn't hear a word about us becoming Socialists then. I consider everyone having health insurance the same as everyone having car insurance. I don't want people driving around uninsured any more than I want people clogging up the emergency room because they have a sore throat. I don't think that makes me a socialist, I think it makes me a realist.

    -- Posted by putnamcomom on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 11:09 AM
  • @heritage Lake resident;"As a scholar of history and a licensed history teacher I continue to be baffled why so many people still defend socialism as an acceptable form of government." Socialism is an economic system not a form of government. Seems like a scholar of history and a licensed history teacher would know this. Oh, that's right, most of education in our country is socialistic and not free market, so I guess you received a crappy education and scholar at crappy schools, so I guess it does not matter that you do not make any sense.

    -- Posted by cletis on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 4:03 PM
  • Cletis, considering that when you live in a socialistic society the government controls your every move far beyond just economics I would consider it to be a form of government! I did go to public schools and plan on putting my kids into private schools if I can afford it. Oh no wait, I have to pay for everyone else's food, clothing, housing, college, car insurance, health insurance etc... that I will not be able to afford to put my kids into private school. Once again though a liberal who cannot argue facts so you have to go and question my intelligence. I really wish liberals would stop trying to act smarter than everybody else, when truth be told that is just not the case!

    PC mom, I was against the Bush increase in medicare. I was also against Bush's TARP Bill bailouts of the bank! I am tired of it being my responsability to pay for everyone else. In the last two years we have bailed out banks, auto companies, bad loans, etc... It is not my responsability to make sure you do not lose your home. Maybe Obama should have spent the last year trying to get people back to work instead of trying to take over 1/6 of the US economy. Furthermore, you quote the CBO, when has the government ever started a program and it did not cost more than what they said it would. This program will be no different. Also, why do we need an entire new government health insurance program when we already had medicare, medicaid and SCHIP for children. This was a clear power grab by a president who is a socialist!!!

    -- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 7:16 PM
  • The Bugs, I will be voting for Dan Stockton in the Republican Primary in the 8th District race!!!!

    -- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 7:20 PM
  • You are wrong, putnamcomom, to think of this health care bill as the same as car insurance. Not everyone has to have car insurance, only those who want to drive. And even then, if you had a large amount of property, like a rancher, you could drive all over as long as you didn't use the public roads and not carry insurance. Then again, you and I only have to carry enough insurance so that the other driver is covered, as with liability, no matter where you drive. This health care bill allows the federal government to FORCE everyone to carry health insurance or be fined. Without a doubt, we have lost more freedom with the passage of this bill then we can ever imagine. It will be more evident in the near future and you will be amazed.

    I would also be inclined to say it would be nit picking to argue socialism is an economic system and not a form of government. The bottom line is the present administration is hell bent that the wealth be spread and we must all work for the common good. THAT is socialism and it is embraced by this administration, Constitution be damned!

    There are a lot of angry people in this country right now and the numbers are growing every day. I believe there is a good chance we might actually see a "government we can believe in" in the very near future. Let's hope so....

    -- Posted by Thomas Paine on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 7:39 PM
  • Fact is Thomas Paine and Heritage Lake scholar the United States Constitution does not prescribe an economic system. We can have a free market, a socialist, or a mixed economy as this nation and most advanced nations have. Our national defense, our local police forces, our fire departments, etc.,are all socialistic. It was not always the case but early on during the founding of this country it was decided that the state could do some things better and more justly for the common good. You might find that Somalia or Saudi Arabia to be attractive they have few laws, no taxes and little interference in the lives of the people. Heritage Lake scholar I did not attack your intelligence I just questioned your facts, and I still do.

    -- Posted by cletis on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 8:52 PM
  • Cletis the Constitution setup a form of limited federal government. They setup a federal government that had one role and one role only and that was thedefense of this great nation. They did not setup a federal government to have cradle to grave care for portions of the population. Your example of the police and fire systems and military are not good examples. First, the police and fire departments are town, city, state owned depending on which law branch you are referring to. The United States military is a choice not mandatory, which is more than you can say for Obamacare which states that you will pay a fine or even go to jail if you do not have health insurance. This country earned it's economic greatness because of the free market, not a mix of free market and socialism! I will also continue to state that socialism yes is economic but it is also a type of government. Considering that once a government has all say over the economy they control everything. If you speak out against the administration, you do not get that loan you need to buy a house or start a business. That same adminsitration often shuts down free speech and makes the school systems a place not of education but indoctrination and often over time leads to dictatorships and phony elections!

    -- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 10:25 PM
  • Socialism can and is practiced locally, regionally and nationally. It is an economic system not a form of government. In a democracy we can have a socialistic economic system if the majority wants it. We have chosen to make some of our institutions be socialized. We no longer allow towns to hire Brinks Inc. to patrol our streets. In the colonial period we started our own fire departments as the private fire companies/insurance companies were unreliable. We the People of the United States, In Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    -- Posted by cletis on Sun, Apr 4, 2010, at 11:11 PM
  • Cletis, This country was established as a republic, not a democracy..... check your homework....

    -- Posted by Thomas Paine on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 12:57 AM
  • True Thomas Paine, our leaders form a republican government bound by the constitution, but they are elected democratically. So that means that if you do not think the leaders represent you properly you can vote them out of office if enough of your fellow citizens agree with you. In seeking to influence our fellow citizens I would hope that we would be considerate of one another, try to stick to the facts, recall our history as accurately as possible and not name call or incite people to violence and hatred.

    -- Posted by cletis on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 6:44 AM
  • The following is a narrative taken from a 2008 Sunday morning televised "Meet The Press'. The author (Dale Lindsborg) is employed by none other than the very liberal Washington Post!!

    From Sunday's 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, Televised "Meet the Press"THE THEN Senator Obama was asked about his stance on the American Flag.

    General Bill Ginn' USAF (ret.) asked Obama to explain WHY he doesn't follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.

    The General stated to Obama that according to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171...During rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present (except those in uniform) are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Or, at the very least, "Stand and Face It".

    NOW GET THIS !! - - - - -

    'Senator' Obama replied:

    "As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides". "There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression.." "The anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all that sort of thing."


    Obama continued: "The National Anthem should be 'swapped' for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing'. If that were our anthem, then, I might saluteit. In my opinion, we should consider reinventing our National Anthemas well as 'redesign' our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love.

    It's my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptanceto our Middle East Brethren. If we, as a Nation of waring people, conduct ourselves like the nations of Islam, where peace prevails - - - perhaps a state or period of mutual accord could exist between our governments .."

    When I become President, I will seek a pact of agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation, have placed upon the nations of Islam, an unfair injustice which is WHY my wife disrespects the Flag and she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past".

    "Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the United States and I have put my hatred aside. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path.. My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country's First black Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America "

    WHAAAAAAAT, the Hell is that!!!

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 7:26 AM
  • Cletis, I do agree with the last part of your statement about people debating as honestly as possible while not throwing out insults and name calling. We will just have to agree to disagree respectfully about the socialism issue.

    -- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 7:55 AM
  • Exhoosier2 - While I find it sadly possible that these could have happened as you wrote it down, they did not. This stuff has been floating around the internet in various forms since 2007. It was put together as a politcal satire, a joke, if you will. There is no truth in any of it.

    However, there are plenty of things this administration has truly done that are equally jaw dropping and some items in this health care bill will prove it.

    You can check for further, detailed answers and information.

    -- Posted by Thomas Paine on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 8:07 AM
  • Come on exhoosier2, get real. Google "meet the press archives" and it will lead you to the September 7 , 2008 show and President Obama did not even appear on the show, much less ever say the crap you report. What possible satisfaction can you get from spreading such hateful lies.

    -- Posted by cletis on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 8:33 AM
  • For those of you who believe Socialism isn't a part of the government maybe you should seek the help of Webster's dictionary.. as it states that Socialism is: "A social system or theory in which the producers possess political power and the means of producing and distributing goods."

    Socialized Medicine means, "Provision of hospital and medical services at nominal cost by means of government regulation of health services and subsidies derived from taxation."

    Socialize means, "to place under government or group ownership or control,"

    Where does it say anything about economics? other than "derived from taxation"!! which means, I AM PAYING FOR YOUR HEALTH CARE!!

    -- Posted by indianaresident on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 9:00 AM
  • Just seeing if anyone knows the difference between fact or fiction, kinda like the health bill. Wonder what snopes says about it?

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Mon, Apr 5, 2010, at 11:03 AM
  • I have a question can someone answer please... What if your employer offers insurance but for only a certain amount of employees they get it at a cheaper rate and then others have to pay a larger portion out of their paycheck? Will that be changed also, or will we still be punished and have to pay an even higher premium to cover the other employees?

    -- Posted by littleolady on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 1:03 PM
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