We aren't exactly out of "the fog of controversy" that then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi said we'd have to be out of before we could see the benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but we're about to see just how right she was. ... to the tune of $1.3 billion that will go back into healthcare consumers' pockets because of the 80/20 rule written into the law. That's $1.3 billion that can be used to save people's homes. $1.3 billion that can help put food on empty tables. $1.3 billion that can put gas in people's cars so they can get to job interviews, that can buy clothes for kids who've outgrown them, that can purchase much-needed school supplies, that can be set aside for retirement.
That's $1.3 billion that will be going back into our economy, helping lift us further out of the recession we've barely been scraping our way out of. It's $1.3 billion that was supposed to be used on patient health care ... and wasn't!
That's your money. That's our money. And the corporate stewards of that money—the insurance companies who were charged with the responsibility of spending it on our health care—tried to keep that money for themselves.
So while Republican leaders try desperately to convince the American public that unelected corporations are better at managing our money than we, the people, through the government we elect are, our Democratic elected representatives went to work for us and not insurance companies.
As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explains on Healthcare.gov:
"When we pay for health insurance, we want to know that most of what we are paying for is for health care, not advertising, executive bonuses or overhead. It’s pretty simple: we want to get a good value for our premium dollars.
Thanks to a new rule (the “80/20 rule”) in the Affordable Care Act, you can be sure that insurance companies are spending generally at least 80 cents of every dollar you pay in premiums on your health care or activities that improve health care quality. If the insurance company fails to meet this standard, or the “medical loss ratio”, in any year, they have to pay you a rebate."
But the benefits to the economy aren't limited to the $1.3 billion expected to be returned to nearly 16 million Americans and their families. Some insurance companies used the Patient Protection Act's provision to do right by their customers from the start. Again from Healthcare.gov:
"For example, one insurer in West Virginia improved its medical loss ratio by lowering premiums by an average of $2,500 for 4,200 small businesses, cutting their premiums to give consumers welcome cost relief. This is one of the ways the 80/20 rule is bringing value to consumers for their health care dollars."
When it costs senior couples nearly a quarter of a million dollars out-of-pocket for their healthcare costs, even when they have Medicare coverage, we need a system of "Checks and Balances" on those who wish to profit from the health care industry. Lee Adler of The Wall Street Examiner cares for his 90-year-old mother who suffers from alzheimer's disease.
"[$240,000] is enough to be ruinous for many Americans. This country is insane. We spend 19 percent of GDP on the medical business while no other civilized nation spends more than 10-11 percent and they all get better statistical outcomes. Doctors and medical labs and clinics are paid twice as much here as anywhere else in the world. Carpetbagging providers pull up stakes in their homelands to come to the U.S. and profiteer because the pickings are so juicy. Meanwhile 40 million Americans don’t have access to affordable medical services. People die or face financial ruin because of this insane system. American business is less competitive in the world market because of it. This must stop. The playing field must be leveled in all respects."
Requiring at least 80 percent of our health care premiums to be used on actual health care is a step in the right direction. Perhaps when people start getting their letters from their insurance companies in the mail, along with their rebate checks or lowered premiums, the "fog of controversy" will lift just a little bit more, and now that the bill has been passed, it will be better supported by those who are benefiting from its provisions.
- Tweet this out to the media. They seem to be ignoring this really important economic and health care news!
- Tweet your Representative in Congress and tell them they should be shouting this from the rooftops!
- Tweet your Senators and tell them they need to get on every television show and talk about this!
Why are we silent on the awesome results of our Progressive policies? Tell our party leaders to speak up!
Now find out how Austerity is actually Anti-Family »
The rebates are already happening with many insurance carriers. It’s the ones that have not been complying that will have to send these letters out to their insureds. We’re expecting the SC ruling on the Patient Protection Act sometime this month. The letters would have to go out in September, I believe.