Talking’ health care: Listening to what locals have to say about new health care legislation

Published March 31, 2010

With all the misinformation and rumors flying around about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care reform bill, we decided to hit the streets to find out what people are actually thinking about the newly passed legislation. We also went ahead and read through the bill for you to figure out what it really says, and we’re providing that information as well.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on people with pre-existing conditions?

“My son has Tourette’s. It’s a pre-existing condition and it’s considered neurological. In fact, he was denied health insurance for having ADHD, not for Tourette’s. So that’s all he was denied for was a learning disability. My biggest thing about the whole bill going through and why I was happy about it is because of the pre-existing issue.”
Annalise O’Brien
Hometown: Sarasota
Industry: construction
Political affiliation: Democrat
Current insurance status: self-insured
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Not really sure.”

What the bill says: Six months after enactment, insurance companies can no longer deny children based on preexisting conditions and children will be allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Starting in 2014, they can’t deny anyone with preexisting conditions.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on funding for abortions?

“It’s going to be harder for pro-choice people to decide for themselves.”
Victoria Laethem
Hometown: Bradenton
Industry: restaurant
Political affiliation: Democrat
Current insurance status: uninsured
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Yes.”

What the bill says: The bill says that nothing in the act shall affect the current abortion laws. President Obama signed an executive order to assure conservative Democrats that this will be upheld.

Do you plan to join a health insurance exchange, or pool, when they come into effect in 2014?

“I don’t know if I’m going to be around then or not. That’s a lot of days away. I take them one at a time.”
Daniel Boone
Hometown: Sarasota
Industry: machines
Political affiliation: Democrat
Current insurance status: uninsured
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “No.”

What the bill says: In 2014 the uninsured and self-employed will be able to join state-based exchanges and everyone will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a $695 annual fine. Subsidies will be available to individuals and families whose income is between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on the quality of health care in America?

“I think that doctors might have a chip on their shoulder knowing they will have to work for certain rates.”
Tony Aurisano
Hometown: Bradenton
Industry: mechanic
Political affiliation: independent
Current insurance status: uninsured
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Pretty much.”

What the bill says: This issue is debatable. For many people who couldn’t get insurance before, they will now be able to get covered. But some argue that adding 32 million people to the insurance roles will lead to a shortage of doctors and therefore poorer quality care.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on small businesses’ ability to provide health insurance?

“Eventually they’re going to get big breaks. So I think it will be good for little businesses. And most of our business in the United States is little business.”
Raymond Brasotti
Hometown: Sarasota
Industry: retired, counseling
Political affiliation: Democrat
Current insurance status: insured through employer
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Not at all.”

What the bill says: In 2014 separate exchanges will be set up for small businesses to pool together and negotiate better rates. Employers with more than 50 employees must provide insurance or pay a $2,000 fine per worker each year if any worker receives federal subsidies to purchase insurance.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on insurance premiums?

“They will go down. When you get another 20 or 30 million people paying insurance it spreads the risk for insurance companies out over a lot more people. Most of whom are young and most of whom don’t get sick. It’s a no-brainer.”
Harvey Garver
Hometown: Sarasota
Industry: retired, engineering
Political affiliation: independent
Current insurance status: insured through government
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “No.”

What the bill says: The plan will expand coverage to 32 million currently uninsured Americans and the insurance exchanges will allow people to pool together and negotiate for better rates. The effect on individual premiums is up for debate.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on the private insurance industry?

“It’s really screwing the private insurance industry. The Republicans don’t want it because they have the biggest lobby from the private insurance industry, so right now their lobby is going down and they’re going to lose a lot of money.”
Sarah Movarejeh
Hometown: Sarasota
Industry: unemployed
Political affiliation: independent, to the left of Democrats
Current insurance status: self-insured
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Yes, but for the better.”

What the bill says: Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to drop coverage because a person gets sick or deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions. They will no longer be allowed to impose lifetime or yearly caps on coverage. On the other hand the private insurance industry will be gaining millions of new paying customers.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on low-income people covered under Medicaid?

“It will further assist those on Medicaid because we seem to be a government of enabling. So there’s no motivation for them to get out there and do anything if everything is given to them for free. It’s common sense that if something is given to you without working for it why alter your lifestyle?”
Chris Gladdue
Hometown: Sarasota
Industry: city development
Political affiliation: independent, right of center
Current insurance status: insured through employer
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Yes.”

What the bill says: The plan expands Medicaid to include those within 133 percent of the federal poverty level and requires states to expand Medicaid to include childless adults starting in 2014. The federal government covers 100 percent of costs for newly eligible people through 2016.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on the federal budget deficit?

“It immediately will increase the federal deficit and in the long term according to the accounting office it’s going to be a plus. So I’m hoping that they’re right.”
Joe Moccia
Hometown: Longboat Key
Industry: retired, business
Political affiliation: independent
Current insurance status: Medicare
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Yes.”

What the bill says: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said that while the bill will cost $940 billion over 10 years, it will reduce the federal budget deficit by $143 billion over the first 10 years and by another $1.2 trillion dollars over the second 10 years.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on seniors covered under Medicare?

“I think they’re going to lose. I think their Medicare will be cut.”
Ernie Corrideau
Hometown: Punta Gorda
Industry: retired, defense
Political affiliation: independent
Current insurance status: self-insured
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “Yes.”

What the bill says: The bill includes $500 million in Medicare cuts over the next 10 years, which proponents say will come from reductions in readmissions, medical errors and health care-acquired infections and by coordinating and monitoring care more effectively. The plan closes the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole by 2020 and will give a $250 rebate to seniors who hit the coverage gap by 2010.

What effects do you think the newly passed health care bill will have on tax rates?

“I don’t think it will have any effect.”
Andrea Conklin
Hometown: Bradenton
Industry: insurance
Political affiliation: Republican
Current insurance status: uninsured
Is the bill a government takeover of health care? “No.”

What the bill says: Starting in 2012, the Medicare Payroll tax will be expanded to include unearned income, adding a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for families making more than $250,000 per year or $200,000 for individuals. Starting in 2018, insurance companies will pay a 40 percent excise tax on high-end insurance plans worth more than $27,500 for families and $10,200 for individuals.

All photos by Tim Sukits

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