2011: incredible shrinking doughnut hole (and more)
December 31st, 2010
03:37 PM ET

2011: incredible shrinking doughnut hole (and more)

Along with noisemakers, hangovers and second-tier bowl games, the new year rolls in changes to health insurance rules that stand to save Americans – especially those over age 65 – a lot of money in 2011. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) – “Obamacare,” to critics – was signed into law in March but was built to take effect in stages. Several key provisions take effect on Saturday.

The most prominent change will shrink the so-called “doughnut hole.” Up to now, seniors hit the doughnut hole once they and their insurer have purchased $2,800 worth of medications. The next chunk – up to a $4,550 out-of-pocket maximum – cannot be reimbursed by insurance. Under the ACA, the gap will be closed in increments over the next 10 years. It starts Saturday; in 2011 Medicare will pick up half the cost of brand-name medications for patients in the dreaded doughnut hole.

Another 2011 change is a federal requirement that health insurers pay at least 80 percent of the total premiums they collect, on small plans. Plans for large employers, which cover most Americans, will have to pay out at least 85 percent of premiums. Those who don’t will have to offer rebates. Insurers who raise rates more than 10 percent will have to justify the increase to state and federal regulators.Among other changes starting tomorrow:

– Medicare will cover 100 percent of the cost of preventive services, including annual checkups.

– Primary care physicians and general surgeons will receive a 10 percent bonus on payments through Medicare.

– Wealthier Medicare patients will see lower subsidies and the start of higher premiums.

Meanwhile, new insurance cards are arriving for many young adults going on their parents’ policies.  One of them is Chris Brooks, 24, in Levittown, Pennsylvania.  In 2008 he nearly died when his heart stopped for more than 20 minutes after an unexplained cardiac arrest. While doctors and paramedics saved his life, and doctors later implanted a defibrillator in his chest, Brooks was uninsured and unable to pay for extensive testing that might reveal the cause of his heart problem.

“I’m 23, and I’m not in school any more,” he told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta at the time. “I can’t see [my cardiologist] without it. I want to, but I can’t.”

Now, he can. The ACA lets people younger than 26 sign up on their parents’ coverage plan. Hundreds of insurers made the change last summer, but the law allows companies to wait until whenever their next enrollment period takes effect – and most insurers, including the Blue Cross Blue Shield company that covers the Brooks family – held off until 2011.

Chris’ mother Joan says she’s optimistic but won’t relax yet “because I want to see the medical card in the mail, first.”

Beyond these details, the ACA faces several major challenges in 2011. Republican lawmakers have vowed to withhold funding or try to repeal various parts of the law. And one federal judge has ruled that its “individual mandate” to purchaser insurance is unconstitutional, even as two other federal judges have upheld the law as written.

Programming note: See the cutting edge medical advances that saved Chris Brooks’ life, when “Another Day: Cheating Death” replays Sunday, January 2, 8 p.m. & 11 p.m. Eastern.

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. CommonSense

    If you are going to remove the mandate, the entire law falls apart. You cannot force insurers to cover anyone and everyone unless you require everyone to buy the insurance before they actually get sick.

    What's next? Are we going to start forcing house insurance companies to offer insurance to someone's house that's already on fire?

    December 31, 2010 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Makes sense

      Yes that's exactly what's going to happen next.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |

    This man he lie again. I put Voodoo on him and anyone who believe his lies.

    January 1, 2011 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. kimkey

    I dont feel like i should be forced to have health insurance, I think everyone would like to have health insurance if they could afford it. If you need affordable health insurance search online "Wise Health Insurance" you dont want to be with out insurance any time.

    January 1, 2011 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thomas

      do you have car insurance? same thing!

      January 1, 2011 at 08:02 | Report abuse |
    • LGNY

      So, what's your answer to the fools who decline to buy insurance but then end up in the emergency room without a big enough bank account to pay the bills (as if any but the very rich have that much available money)?

      Is the present system where such people become bankrupt, leaving the rest of us to pay their bills via increased costs any better?

      Remember that the same people who are now screaming about mandatory insurance also screamed about any single-payer system (e.g. Medicare/Medicaid). What's the solution for the millions who have no protection?

      Simply telling them to please buy insurance is not sufficient.

      January 1, 2011 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • rick52

      Kimkey would rather not pay for health insurance. I'd rather not pay for health insurance either. There's lots of things I'd rather not pay for. But if Kimkey is in a car accident – through no fault of his own – and runs up $1 million in medical bills, then the rest of us pay. Everyone needs to contribute to health insurance, which will make health care cheaper for everyone.

      January 1, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • John N Florida

      Tyhe one4s who don't have insurance should be enrolled in the Republican Plan:

      Don't get Sick
      If you do, DIE QUICK!

      January 1, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • rh

      thomas is right, if you have car insurance, you should not complain about having health insurance.

      Frankly, the only other solution to everyone required to have health insurance is to force cash only upfront medical care or deny care. And sadly that already happens sometimes.

      January 3, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Scott H.

      I'm glad to see the medication coverage under medicare part D improving. one of my meds is about $10 a pill and I take 3 a day. I buy it from Mumbai, India for about $1/pill I'm on SS disability. In 2005 I worked in Iraq as an Army Contractor and got very sick after about 3 months. I was sent home about 2 weeks later after I stabilized in an Army hospital. My medical insurance was cut as soon as I got home. Cobra was not offered. I required expensive surgery that ran my bill to over $120k. I applied for disability and after a year was accepted (I year is pretty quick) Until then we lived on $680 a month.
      Had to wait another 18 months for medicare to kick in. For 2 years now I've been getting the care I need and am doing better. I'm on the "Ticket to Work" program that will put me back to work soon. What is better, denying people the medications and health care people need causing them to be a bleed on the government or helping them out they can go back to work and paying taxes.
      BTW my $120K hospital bill was paid for by a program that I qualified for because the hospital financial service officer was very helpful in finding a program. I have been hospitalized 3 times since but before getting on medicare and still owe a bit of money but nothing close to 120k.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
    • Scott H.

      I'm glad to see the medication coverage under medicare part D improving. one of my meds is about $10 a pill and I take 3 a day. I buy it from Mumbai, India for about $1/pill I'm on SS disability. In 2005 I worked in Iraq as an Army Contractor and got very sick after about 3 months. I was sent home about 2 weeks later after I stabilized in an Army hospital. My medical insurance was cut as soon as I got home. Cobra was not offered. I required expensive surgery that ran my bill to over $120k. I applied for disability and after a year was accepted (one year is pretty quick) Until then we lived on $680 a month.
      Had to wait another 18 months for medicare to kick in. For 2 years now I've been getting the care I need and am doing better. I'm on the "Ticket to Work" program that will put me back to work soon. What is better, denying people the medications and health care people need causing them to be a bleed on the government or helping them out they can go back to work and paying taxes.
      BTW my $120K hospital bill was paid for by a program that I qualified for because the hospital financial service officer was very helpful in finding a program. I have been hospitalized 3 times since but before getting on medicare and still owe a bit of money but nothing close to 120k.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  4. time grows short

    Wow ! Everything is free. What a world we live in !

    January 1, 2011 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Not so short

      Yeah. So is dropping out of school and joining the Tea Party. Mind it they do not accept people with high school diplomas. Would they mind if I drink coffee.

      January 1, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Wow, and a stupid person likes you knows how to operate a computer?! INCREDIBLE!!

      If you can't get it through your thick skull that by people NOT having insurance drives up cost for those of us that CAN afford it, then you need to be eliminated from the human experience.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
  5. LGNY

    Glad to see the donut hole gradually fill. It was stupidly complex. By contrast, in Canada retiree's pay the first $60 of prescription meds each month with insurance paying the remainder. It's so simple that anyone can keep track of when they've reached their maximum out-of-pocket expense.

    If you feel a $60 cap is too generous, legislation could set it higher. The point here is that other nations design programs that are much simpler both for the retirees and those who need to manage the program.

    January 1, 2011 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. John

    I'm glad to see the donut hole close, and glad to see people under 26 still able to be on their parents' policies. I'm sure the Republicans oppose both things.

    January 1, 2011 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply

      I sho yo don't know what yo talkin' 'bout. Republicans not against doughnut hole. Dey thought it should hav been change when started. Whut dey don't like is de cost of Obamacare and the readjustments to der medicine. Back in most cases to whut don't work fer dem. I admire Obama for makin' effort but he should hav asked someone who knows to draw up his plan. I put whammy on his plan it will not fly. Idiots lik yo close to a whammy yoself.

      January 1, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
  7. pa mom

    Yes, I am a repub and no, I do not think it is right to make a company insure 26 year old children who are married and can even have a job that provides benefits but opt for their parents better plan. At what point does responsibility come into play. Oh excuse me, we are a noation who does not take responsibility anymore for our debt or expectations of life. The libs can yell about no jobs but this very added cost, particularly to small businesses, takes away salaries for jobs. I think people need to learn how costs apply to the employer and how this very age group who has higher risk behavior and pregnancies affects your very pocket too.
    Closing the donut hole???? I just read my 89 year old mother's approved drug list. She is forced to switch three meds under the new guidelines and not eligible for the very drug that works after trying the two approved that did not help her. I don't think Obamacare is improving helathcare or jobs! The more we learn what is in it the worse it gets. Just what will happen when you rush thru the process.

    January 1, 2011 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kierthos

      Well, you do realize that a 26 year old could be married AND still could be in college, working on a Masters' degree, Law degree, or Medical degree, yes? Okay, in the last case, if something were to happen to a Med student, I'm sure the fellow students would be happy to diagnose them, but really, it is plausible for someone in their mid-20s to not have a job yet, or to be just leaving college due to internships or other factors.

      January 1, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • azmary

      pa mom I hope you are aware that almost everyone who has part D insurance for perscription coverage can lose some of the covered drugs every year. It is because private carriers were allowed under the original plan to drop coverage of the most expensive drugs and require a switch to less expensive ones for reimbursement. This has been going on since the plan was implemented. Also, the affordable care act does give small businesses tax breaks to provide insurance for employees, and very small companies, with only a few employees, do not even have to provide insurance, their employees can purchase insurance from a pool of options. The small business "suffering" is a red herring thrown out by many republicans and their big business supporters.

      January 1, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • tony

      I am a graduate student getting a pHD in cancer research. If I was uninsured, the grant/fellowship money that pays for my education would have to pick up the tab on a really crappy student health care plan. Grant/fellowship = money from the NIH= Federal government. So you would rather federal tax dollars pay for my insurance then allow my parents to pay a private company to insure me. (for the thousands of graduate students effected by this rule it moves the burden of insurance from the government to individuals......sounds like something a republican should support.)

      January 1, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • rick52

      You're a Republican and you believe in taking responsibility for your bills? That's a laugh. The Republicans are the borrow-and-spend party. We haven't had a balanced budget under a Republican administration since Eisenhower.

      January 1, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      And PA Mom, I can only pray that you lose your job, your health insurace and your home. I pray that the "personal responsibility" bug comes and bites you in your fat hillbilly rear end. I hope that you are forced to go to the government for help. And when you do that, I pray that your heros in the American Nazi party help you all the way to a tent camp under a bridge somewhere scrounging for food in peoples garbage cans. This is what selfish, self rightous pigs like you deserve.

      January 1, 2011 at 21:29 | Report abuse |
    • anon

      Sorry, trying to pin the high cost of insurance on young people just doesn't fly. Middle aged babyboomers like yourself and our elderly, like your 89 y o mother, are the ones driving up costs. You need young healthy people to enroll to get your costs down! Having people up to age 26 on their parents plan is just one way to actually drive down costs for everyone.

      January 2, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
    • Lea

      Oh, my dear PA Mom... it's time for a reality check.

      I'm a veteran. I got out of the Army Reserves in 2007 due to a line-of-duty injury. I had no health insurance, despite the fact that I was working a full time job PLUS an additional part-time job. (Are you going to call me lazy and irresponsible now?) The VA wouldn't cover it because it wasn't something they considered related to my service. I was too old to be on my parents' insurance, I wasn't married, and... I found a breast lump. It took me two years to get the insurance I needed to get it removed. If it had been malignant, I'd be dead. Thankfully, it was benign.

      I have friends who are working full-time. Some of them are working multiple jobs. They're job hunting. They have college degrees. They're hard working and dedicated. And their jobs just don't offer health insurance.

      Self-responsibility? It's about time we became responsible as a nation. Fiscally responsible. We Americans spend twice as much per-capita (and please, look up the definition of per-capita) on health care than ANY of the nations that have universal health care. We waste so much money here... money that does NOT go to pay the doctors. Money that just gets blown on overhead.

      So, talk to me about irresponsibility. I dare you to call me unpatriotic. Tell me how my friend with asthma is irresponsible because she was too old to be on her parents' health insurance while she was still working on her college degree (and working full-time), and she couldn't afford the only asthma medication that worked for her. Tell me how my sister was irresponsible because she injured her shoulder while she was working on her graduate degree. Tell my older friend that it's her own fault that she got a inoperable brain tumor and can't work anymore.


      January 3, 2011 at 09:15 | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger

      Well, you do realize that a 26 year old could be married AND still could be in college, working on a Masters' degree, Law degree, or Medical degree, yes?

      If someone is old enough to get married (and perhaps have children) they are old enough to pay their own way.

      January 3, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      They have been raping little old ladies of their pensions for decades, LONG BEFORE Obama came around. Stop drinking the Fox News Kool-Aid and grow a brain stem will ya?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • tyb stuck in cali

      pa mom- I guess you and your tea party friends can come explain to my 87 year old mom why she should die! My mom takes 17 different prescriptions and only 1 has a generic for it. That is not counting eye drops which the drug companies will not allow to be included in most if not all senior insurance plans. 50% off of Plavix means $75.00; right now under the donut it is $176.50. If the elderly person lives with someone not on welfare, (like me) they are not eligible for low cost meds from the drug companies. I want to see Bachman, and the rest of the GOPs refuse their Cadillac health plans and try to make it under the plans most seniors have! As for the drugs your mom doesnt have covered-again that's up to the drug companies-Obama cant make them drop the cost unless there is single-pay insurance and of course you dont want that......

      January 3, 2011 at 17:31 | Report abuse |
  8. rob

    Health insurance and Health care problems in general are extreemly complex. This huge Bill they wrote last year adds huge clomplexity and accounting gimicks to eventually replace the system in place with a fully Govt controlled system. The desire of the Dems to have a Single Payer system was never going to pass so they put a plan in place to slowly and expensively choke the Insurance industry out of the market and eventually replace it. The President and his willing friends in the Media will continue to sell all the Freebies to the public, but what the Republicans have to do is explain that someone will have to pay for all this. It will be difficult because all we'll hear from the media is the usuall sound bites of the Dems accusing Republicans of wanting to hurt Grandma, Grandpa, and the poor CHILDREN. There is time to stop this bad legislation and replace it with less Govt involvement and that time is now. Let this play out in the coming elections, I think the American people understand and reward those politicians who have the courage to do the right thing.

    January 1, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KatR

      A single payer system would never work in America. As other countries that have such systems have learned....putting healthcare under such a system does absolutely nothing to reduce health care costs. The only American solution is the legislation that has become law. We are the 3rd largest country in the world and thus the complexity and time needed to roll this out in a nation of 308 million people will be rough. HCR will eventually reduce health care costs for all Americans...especially those costs that are paid by the govt programs of Medicare and Medicaid. Those who refuse to purchase health insurance result in more expenses for those of us who do have health insurance as well as the govt who, pre HCR, has been picking up the tab for medical treatment for those who are not responsible enough to plan for the unexpected. Our govt via HCR has ensured that each of us are guaranteed the creator given right to life. Health care is an inevitable part of life. It's become obvious that the profit-driven motives of health insurance companies have ignored the right to life guaranteed to us in the Declaration of Independence. It is the responsibility of our federal govt to do whatever is necessary to ensure this basic right. Those who don't understand this do not understand the hopes and dreams of our founders that a govt run by us would result in all of us being protected from those who would take our creator-given right to life.

      January 1, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  9. Jules

    This is a long awaited and much needed health care plan, that would have been more effective if the republicans who lost the presidential election had not been such sore losers. Yes, the majority of people voted our President in to do just this; this means he majority want this health care plan. Why do we hear more from those who oppose it – because sore loser whine so much louder; Happy people except and move forward.

    We also voted the president to rid the nice tax break for the wealthy; to no avail he ran into the sore loser syndrome, but alas the republicans actually were willing to sacrafice the american people by ending their unemployment to ensure the rich stayed rich.

    Really, let us look at this objectively, it is NOT the goverments money, it is our money; yet the republicans treat it as their own personal bank account. Not once did those in congress who have their own wonderful healthcare plan compliments of the taxpayers say, "hey it is the taxpayers who pay for our own health care, they too should have the same benefits." Why is that?

    January 1, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ATL Guy

    Republicans will come up with any stupid excuse to try to discredit the need for health insurance reform. Here's my question for the Republicans though: they've been saying they can replace what Pres Obama has passed with "sensible everyday reforms". Well, why don't you put a bill forward so that the American people can see what they're getting before we do that repeal and replace thing. I want to see what you're offering and have it scored by the CBO. The reason why we haven't seen a credible plan from the Republicans is because they don't have one. It's so much easier to say we can do "sensible everyday reforms" without having to produce a dang thing to show what those sensible reforms are. It's been over a year already, time to put up or shut up. Show us your bill – enough of the campaign slogans.

    January 1, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TN_Patriot

      The Republicans having an actual plan? Who are you kidding? Like last year when they came up with the GOP plan for the budget ... it had not one single item. It was a BLANK piece of paper. They always call the Dems the 'tax & Spend..', but then prove that they are the 'Borrow & Spend'. And they have the nerve to use the phrase 'Personal Responsibility'?
      I really hope they prove me wrong, of course they haven't for the past 50 years, but their stand on continuing the TAX SALE for the ultra wealthy sure looks like putting my great grandchildren in debt before they are born.

      January 1, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • Repubs are Scuz

      They don't have a plan, you are right. They are full of it and seeing all the teabaggers pop up following them like a bunch of lemmings shows that people can be easily swayed to believe anything. I am more afraid of brainwashed crowds than I am an earthquake.

      January 3, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  11. Tommy

    I'm hoping that the donut hole disappears completely, along with medicare. Those over 65 flock to the polls to vote for the American Nazi party but want fiscal cuts to other peoples benefits, just not theirs. They deserve to spend the rest of their miserable lives working as greeters at Wally Wally world to pay for their geriatric meds.

    January 1, 2011 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoLee

      Tommy, seldom have I read such a cold, callous remark. I wish you a long, long life, sir. And, for your sake, a healthy one. Although that is unrealistic for with age comes medical problems...Happy New Year to you too~~

      January 2, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger

      Gee, Tommy. Y'mean those geriatric folks are not allowed to receive the medical care for which they paid their entire working lives while young ones such as you run around and do dumb things that cause you to end up at the ER?

      January 3, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |

    If dis proves true i lift my whammy on Obamma and give him one mark credit. Butt (his butt) if he lie his head I give to the headhunters on the Amazon.

    January 1, 2011 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply

    Tommy – Yo misberable lil punk who know nuthin' of whut yo say. Medicare com with Social Security dat old folks pay fer. This qualifies dem fer medicare den dey have to pay a preminum fer it. Which nuthing is free 'bout medicare. It is whut ignorants lik yo why dis country in mess it is in. I put whammny on yo a bad whammy. Jus what yet i ain't fig'r out but when I do yo will know. I feel sorry fo yo. I wham yo.

    January 1, 2011 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply

    Dey can't stop de illegals and de smugglers from crossin' de border either. Mus be thet dey gettin' a lil money in der pocke, mebbe. HUH? If dey ar I whammy dem twice.

    January 1, 2011 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve in St. Louis

      Fake accent and poor spelling amusing at first, but now gettin' old, mon.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
  15. Sherri W.W.

    The closing of that "donut hole"in the part D,is all thats going to save my husband and I,because when we have to go on medicare,our insurance man already told us that we will both be in to the donut hole in about 4 montha,each year!~That would leave us 8 mos. WITHOUT medicine~yet we'd have to ppay the premium all 12 months! :e has worked over 50yrs,and I worked 35,at a hard job~we have earned AND PAID FOR~every single dollar we gwt from social security,and ,on medicare,we will actually pay MORE for ins&meds than we do on BluenBS

    January 2, 2011 at 03:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sherri W.W.

    I hate when my keyboard has a mind of its own&posts B4 I am finished!~Anyway~@PaMom~you do know that you,or your mom,if thats the case,can and needs to,relook at their part D medicine coverage each yr at this time.Our ins man said every plan changes the meds they cover eaxh yr,so once on it,I would need to sit down with him eaxh Dec.and have him determine which plan will cover the meds I and my husband take~and he said we will probably be on different plans bcuz 1 size does not fit all.My mother~in~law just had to do that,and the plan she just changed to for 2011 actually saves her $250 a yr!~~And,as far as the whole Health Care Bill~YES WE NEED IT BAD~EVERYONE DOES~do not let these goofy people tell any of you that we dont!Pres.Obama is doing a VERY GOOD job for us all,and unless you are rich,you better hope&pray he is reelected in 2012! These Repub/TeaP people will do NOTHING for you~not unless you are rich.My own brother~a millioaire AND a Repub!~said I am correct that,unless your income is above $250,000 per yr.,the Repubs will NOT HELP YOU! I asked if that bothered him,since Mom an I are not wealthy~and his answer was NO!~He figured he earned it,and like most high up Repubs,was not too concerned about the "have nots"~amazing! If we dont keep Pres.O.to fight for us"little people"we will have NOTHING.Remember~all these little Tea Party people that got voted in on a lot of nonsense,no longer have to worry about "little people",like they once were! Why~bcuz now they all have wealth,nice living arrangements.top health care&meds,AND a big Pension coming~SO they can dismantle Soc.Sec.&Medicare&Health Care,everything WE need~because THEY no longer need it~WE pay their way now,so~no ins~oh too bad!

    January 2, 2011 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sherri W.W.

    Sorry to post another,but I really want to address this "mandate " business.The mandate does have to be in there,or the ins companies could noot afford to insure people with pre~exisitng conditions,and.all the other things this HC Bill covers.Now~a lot of folks are saying they dont want to pay for health ins~that its different than car ins,because you dont have to have a car&drive.That is a nonsense statement! We all have a body that has ro be maintained!~and we all get sick or hurt in our lives,usually many times.Long ago,my son~in~law didnt believe in paying for health ins either,but my daughter took it out on him,at her job~at my suggestion.Then,he proceeded to get badly hurt in a fall off a roof.When he got better in.the Hospital,he started worrying that the big bill was going to ruin them!Well~when my faughter told him he had nearly full~coverage ins,he was too relieved to be mad at her for taking it out~and after that HE insisted they have health ins~a good thing because ,at 25,my daughter came down with what will be a life~long illness~her meds are$1400.00 a month!Today,they are in great financial shape,something that would have never been,had they not had health ins! The other thing is,that eventually hospitals will HAVE to get some relief,byfiguring ways NOT to treat people without ins.They may even lobby Wash.D.C.or go to court to get the law changed,and can any of us REALLY imagine seeing someone very ill or hurt,being DENIED care.at.a.Hospital? Our local Hosp.ALREADY figured how to do something about it,and it was pretty much a wakeup around here.They CLOSED the new Maternity Unit only open 2yrs,and now you CANNOT have a baby there~not even in the Emg. Room!~Why?~Because they said that since they opened the new unit,over 80% of the women coming there to give birth had NO INS~and we live in an area where few,if any,are illegals~just people who dont carry insurance.As for a car,if someone ELSE WITHOUT INS hits you,and puts you in the hosp.then you will have this huge bill to pay,and it is not fair to expect the ones who DO carry ins to pay your bill~plus hospitals are pretty relentless about collecting from you,if you have any kind of income & can make your life fairly miserable if you dont pay up.SO~YES WE ALL NEED HEALTH INS.

    January 2, 2011 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Catie

    Let me tell you what is happening. Everyone is in a panic. The doctors and the insurance companies. My sweet precious doctor who was actually a doctor because he loves humanity and wanted to help people couldnt afford the new proposals and was heartbroken over the fact that he just could not afford medicare patients anymore. The payment to him wasnt worth the stamp to bill it. He retired. I have military healthcare, I am tremendously grateful for it, but, I dont feel guitly either it is earned tenfold. And quite frankly we are treated like caacaa. The insurance company pays less than work comp which is about as low as you can go. My family is treated like welfare when we go to an appt it is degrading and demeaning. A doctor refused to do my daughters tonsilectomy, said it was to risky with another lying problem. We ended up going 3 hours away to a large major hospital. The bottom line. I didnt blame the original doctor. The big hospital said there was no risk to the surgery, what I did find out was the first doctor was only going to be paid $1,200 of his $6,000 bill. He just didnt want to lose that much money. The big hospital, praise God could write that off and took my daughter. My mammogram bill was $95, my military health insurance paid $3 of that bill. Now they are saying they will reduce payments even more by 27%. So my poor office which accepts me will get a dollar and change for my mammogram. Yes, I skipped it this year because I was humiliated. I even offered to pay the difference but they are not allowed to accept that. So, Obamacare can shove it. We needed reform not transform. This will, I guaranty it, be a nightmare in the end

    January 2, 2011 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dipstick Detector

      Catie, you are a seriously deluded person. Your doctor is full of it too.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
  19. Catie

    Will this Obamacare cover the millions of illegals going to the emergency rooms? Are they required now to have insurance, whether they are legal or not? I mean fair is fair after all.

    January 2, 2011 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoLee

      Catie, NO health care is free... whether you are a citizen or an illegal seeking medical help in an emergency room somewhere. We ALL pay for that: currently. Right now. It is ONE of the many reasons our medical care is so expensive and spiraling out of control; hospitals, doctors and service providers must make up the difference somewhere; so they charge more and more for procedures and tests...your insurance pays, your premiums rise and insurance gets more costly and 'picky' about who they will sell policies to. The Affordable Health Care Act addresses some of these concerns, and, even though it is just a start towards solving a monstrous fiscal problem, it is a START.
      The only way for this to work is for everyone to carry insurance and for it to be a mandate tht the insurance companies provide you with coverage and actually pay for what you bought when you get sick...
      Right now, insurance companies rule the medical world. We need to get a handle on this and SOON...

      January 2, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger

      It wouldn't be an issue if Eric Holder and his lackeys did something about all the illegals. However, Democrats want to make citizens out of them so they will vote Democratic and push for more Draconian health care legislation.

      January 3, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • Dipstick Detector

      APEHANGER: You are an obvious bigot. Not only by your NAME but your comments. 'Illegals'. Oh shut up! You mean like the millions of illegal WHITE EUROPEANS that over run New York City where I live and live off the government??? YOU MEAN THEM???????????????? Or is it only the BROWN illegal immigrants of which you speak....

      January 3, 2011 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People

    To all of you who do not think you should not purchase insurance because you are young and healthy, I am ok with that, as long as you sign an agreement stating you will not use any of MY tax dollars when you are treated at the emergency room and half your head was left at the scene of the motorcycle accident or your arm was ripped off by the hay baler.
    Right now, if you are treated, it is MY tax and premium monies that are paying for your irresponsible ass for not having insurance. Under the mandate it would be YOUR insurance company paying for your care. Not me.

    January 2, 2011 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoLee

      I agree with you completely in principle. The only 'hitch' is 'affordablility.' Not many young people can afford premiums at their current rates: I think the health care reform attempts to address this: it is no wonder the insurance corporations are fighting this tooth and nail, someone is taking away their lollipop. Good. It needs to be done; and everyone needs affordable insurance... even if they're required to buy it (like we are already required to purchase automobile insurance) and it should be mandatory that your insurance carrier actually cover you when you get sick instead of having people on their payrolls who do nothing but try to find loopholes in your policy that would let them wiggle out of paying. The Affordable Health Care Act is a start, I pray we will at least give it a chance: medical costs in this country are bringing us literally to our knees. We live in a country right now where, if you get sick, you had better be extremely wealthy or extremely poor: because if you are neither, you are out of luck!!! The current goal is not to make you well, it is to make insurance carriers rich...

      January 2, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
  21. Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson

    With reform in place, what are the primary Part D considerations for employers? http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=3175

    January 2, 2011 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply

    cainobird – I wham him. He constipated from now and medicine won't help 'em none. It lik his lies will bubble from his mouth. He scurge on mankind with his fella man Obemma.

    January 2, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ApeHanger

    Reading about all these new ways to take my money and use it to benefit others who don't deserve it just makes me sick.

    January 3, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Makes sense

      Wow, you ARE an ape.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
  24. Kathy

    I love Obamacare! My daughter graduated from college in May and was kicked off our insurance that day. She has only been able to find part time work that does not offer benefits. We were paying $602 a month for COBRA insurance but now she is back on my husband's insurance policy. While we would have managed somehow to continue paying for the COBRA, that would only have been for 18 months. As she is TYPE 1diabetic, she would have been unable to find insurance at any price. Thank you President Obama!!! Your changes are helping people, something the Republicans seem to care little about.

    January 3, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Debbie

    As insurance goes, mandates for drivers to carry auto insurance is a joke. That's why we have to pay extra for un-insured drivers that hit us. Pretty much every time you are in a wreck, the other guy doesn't have any insurance, even though theoretically they are supposed to have it. Having to show proof of insurance for car inspections (yeah right) or renewing a driver's license (yeah right, too).
    No one wants to pay for insurance, but you can bet we all pay for those that don't have it anyway.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Andy

    ApeHanger, the Obama administration has actually deported more illegal immigrants in the country than the Bush adminstration, with a much focused attention on deporting criminals.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Brian

    I don't have a problem if someone who can afford it to do without medical insurance. Get sick or hurt and can't afford to pay the bill, die.

    January 3, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.