Reader Mark M. writes to let us know that his following letter to the editor was published in both the Athens (Ohio) News and Athens Messenger. Two things we especially like about this letter is that it frames the health care reforms as benefiting everyone in America, and it specifically names the local Democratic Congressperson (who, unfortunately, lost re-election) who voted for the legislation, and the two area Republicans who may vote next week to repeal it.
Thanks to the Dems in Congress for improving our health-care system
To the Editor:
Taking care of the sick and elderly is one of the most humane and decent functions of our society. The health-care reform legislation of 2010 passed by the Democrats in Congress and signed into law by President Obama makes it easier for our nation to take care of our sick and elderly. Since we will all be elderly and sick someday, this law helps everyone in America.
Thank you, Charlie Wilson and the other Democrats in Congress, for taking a stand for all of us by voting to improve our health-care system. These improvements will prove very popular, and Republicans attack it at their political peril (in Appalachian Ohio, that means you, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Gibbs).
This week, the following sections of the law go into effect:
- Health Insurance Companies Are Required to Spend Your Premiums on Providing Benefits: The new law requires that 85 percent of premiums for large plans (and 80 percent for medium- and small-sized plans) go toward providing health care, rather than more marketing and profits.
- Closing the Medicare Doughnut Hole:Under the Medicare prescription drug coverage program, which was established in 2005, millions of Americans are required to pay monthly premiums all year around, but lose coverage after incurring $2,700 in prescription expenses in a year. Coverage does not restart until the senior has spent $6,154. For seniors on fixed or limited incomes faced with significant prescription drug needs, this doughnut hole in coverage can pose a significant economic burden. Drug companies are now required to provide a 50-percent discount on the cost of drugs while seniors are in the doughnut hole. That discount will continue until 2020, when the doughnut hole will be entirely eliminated.
- Eliminating Medicare Preventive Services Co-Pays: In an effort to improve health and reduce long-term health-care costs, Medicare co-pays have now been eliminated for preventive services identified by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including diabetes and cancer screenings, tobacco-use cessation counseling, and healthy diet counseling. Deductibles for colorectal cancer screening have also been eliminated.
- Saving Taxpayer Money: End of the unnecessary subsidy to privately run Medicare Advantage insurance plans, which receive 14 percent more taxpayer money than similar Medicare plans run by the government. This subsidy begins to be eliminated this year.
If you get a letter to the editor published, let us know and we may post it here.