April 1, 2010

Health Care Reform Law

Marcia Franklin discusses the new health care reform law recently signed by President Obama. Guests include Boise physician Ted Epperly, chairman of the board of the American Academy of Family Physicians; Jim Wordelman, state director of AARP Idaho; Steve Fredriksen, owner, Fredriksen Health Insurance; and Karen Early, director of corporate communications for Blue Cross of Idaho.

The new health care act has been called both a victory for the common good and a looming catastrophe for the country. The act makes sweeping changes to America's health-care system, most notably by requiring most citizens to purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty. It bans insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and removes caps on that coverage. To pay for the subsidies and tax credits that will be needed to help people and businesses purchase insurance, the legislation raises taxes and fees in many areas, including individuals who make over $200,000, certain investment income, medical devices, and the pharmaceutical and health insurance sectors.

Already, GOP lawmakers have vowed to repeal it, and 13 states have joined a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of the insurance mandate for individuals.