Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, is praising the new provisions the healthcare reform bill that are now kicking in. Harkin is also criticizing an effort to repeal the bill announced by Republicans.
“Mark my words, Americans will not allow their hard earned benefits to be taken away,” Harkin says, “the choice is to go forward or to be dragged backward. I believe the great majority of Iowans and people across America want to go forward, creating a reformed insurance and health care system that works not only for the healthy and the wealthy, but for all Americans.”
The impact of the new plan on the cost of insurance is a concern for many. Harkin says the new provisions will be paid for by cutting the “obscene” profits of insurance companies. Harkin says by 2014 there’ll be an insurance exchange that will give Iowans a lot more insurance options and drive down prices. He says that means insurance companies won’t be as profitable as they have been in the past. Harkin doesn’t guarantee insurance premiums won’t go up before 2014.
Harkin says, “I can’t say exactly what’s gonna to happen in the next couple of years. I do see some disturbing signs out there that some insurance companies are raising their rates, not based on any legitimate need, but they’re just raising them. But again, that’s why we have insurance commissioners in all of our states, to see whether or not they approve of these rate increases.”
Harkin says coverage and cost will eventually come down. He says after 2014 there will be better coverage and lower costs because preventative care measures are going in place, things like colonosocpies and mamograms. Those preventative services would be provided for free. Harkin also says beginning in January, anyone on Medicare will get a health screen and a personalized health outline that will cut down on costs with better preventative care and cutting unneeded medications.
The new provisions of the healthcare bill that took effect Thursday: insurance companies are prohibited from canceling coverage if a person gets sick; insurance companies banned from denying or limiting benefits for children due to preexisting conditions; eliminates lifetime limits on coverage and begins to phase out annual limits; allows young people to remain on their parents’ insurance plan up to age 26; guarantees choice of a primary care doctor in a person’s insurer network, including OBGYNs and pediatricians; guarantees a right to appeal if coverage is denied or treatment is restricted; prohibits insurance companies from limiting which emergency room a person can go to or charging for going out of network for emergency care; provides free preventive care services.