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The bill can more accurately be described, in my opinion, as insurance reform rather than health care reform. It changes the rules by which insurance companies decide who and what they will cover. Some positives about the bill include eliminating "pre-existing condition" denials of insurance, ending lifetime caps on what an insurance company will pay out for a person, and increasing access and affordability of health care for another 35 million people currently uncovered. It also gives a breaks to parents of college students who can keep their kids on their insurance until age 26.
What I think is negative about the bill is that (strictly opinion) it doesn't go far enough. It increases access to insurance but still leaves 15 million people vulnerable. Estimates of cost savings are most likely exaggerated, and there is no public option to compete with insurance companies and keep them honest in their policies and pricing.
It also does little to address a chronic and worsening shortage of doctors and nurses right at a time when our population is aging and most in need of healthcare providers.
This will be entirely dependent on individual beliefs and, to some extent, political persuasions. Given the massive politicizing about the issue and how the discourse has devolved in this process, I think that this might already represent one bad element about the bill. The extreme politicizing that has taken place in the lead up and following the passage of the bill has really impacted how we, as Americans, disagree. The idea of disagreeing without being violently disagreeable was put to its most strenuous test with this particular issue. One could argue that the bill might be something of a Pyrrhic victory for the President, who invested so much political capital in this bill that the results might not be favorable for the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. The bill and its passage keyed in on public discontent regarding Congress, which could be seen as another bad thing about it.
What I worry about most is not what this bill does do. I worry about what it does not do. To me, one of the biggest problems we face is bringing down the cost of health care. I do not think the bill really changes this.
To me, we need to make consumers be able to see what their health care really costs. That way, they could make choices about what care they do and to not want. As it is now, you don't really know what some particular bit of care will cost you or what it really costs overall.
We also need to do something to change the way that doctors have incentives to provide more care, not better results. Doctors are paid based on how many procedures are done, not based on whether people stay healthy. We need to reward providers who give good care, not those who give lots of care.
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