An effort by the Republican party is underway to fire Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) after the long delayed passage of health care reform that is expected to cost in excess of $900 billion. The health care reform bill passed today with no Republican votes. The reform will require insurers to extend coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and will be forced to retain children on parents’ policies until they reach the age of 26, among other things. Some of the bill’s provisions will take effect almost immediately, including a requirement for insurance companies to insure children with pre-existing conditions. The health care bill which has gone back and forth between the House and Senate these past months poses a threat to the Republican constituency, especially considering the fact that families earning over $250,000 a year will see a spike in Medicare payroll taxes that will help pay for the legislation. Many Democrats have characterized the legislation as being “watered down,” with the ambitious public option having been removed from the table some time ago. Health care reform has been a cornerstone of President Barrack Obama’s platform since he came into office in 2008.
A final controversy that succeeded in delaying the passage of the bill dealt with abortion coverage. The final word is that insurance companies wont have to to offer abortion coverage to policy holders. There are some strict penalties ahead for those who fail to obtain coverage by 2014. A $695 annual fee will be imposed on individuals who are found to be uncovered. Illegal immigrants will no qualify for coverage under the new legislation, even if they are willing to cover the costs.
What we can say is that this reform has been a long time in the making, beginning with Hillary Clinton’s efforts as first lady in the 90’s. Although this bill has been significantly altered since being introduced, we can only hope that it is a step in the right direction. Whether we like to admit it or not, the special interests will always get a final say in how these laws pan out. The state of the modern health care system is unacceptable. Perhaps this reform will make it a little more bearable, for at least a while.