July 9th, 2010

Obama's "Patient's Bill of Rights"

Obama's "Patient's Bill of Rights"

Organizing for America has asked its members to print and post "The Patient’s Bill of Rights" conspicuously in public places. I'm a bit more paper-averse than the average person, I think, so I'm doing my part by posting it electronically here (below).

The imperative is simple: there are still people out there who have been propagandized and misinformed into thinking health care reform is somehow a bad thing, when in reality it simply increases access to health care, for those who need it the most, by curtailing certain insurance industry abuses. It forces them to earn their profits more ... *gasp* ... honestly.

In short, it's a good first step towards making health care less of a commodity and more of a right in America, as it should be. I'm more than happy to lend whatever voice I have in support of broadening understanding.

It's worth noting that we have much work yet to do. My own personal experience has brought me face-to-face with the bizarre, random, and illogical manner in which health coverage is tied to employment status in the US, and this first round of reforms does nothing to change that. The only real solution, as we've already known for a long time, is single-payer; once we achieve that, the specter of uninsured Americans will be a thing of the past.

In the meantime, though, let's celebrate what we've achieved, and spread the word so more Americans understand how health care reform benefits them and their loved ones.

The following is copied verbatim (with a little added HTML) from http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/patientsbillofrights/:

The Patient’s Bill of Rights:

  1. Prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick. Right now, insurance companies can retroactively cancel your policy when you become sick if you or your employer made an unintentional mistake on your paperwork.

  2. Stops insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in September, discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions will be banned—a protection that will be extended to all Americans in 2014.

  3. Prohibits setting lifetime limits on insurance policies issued or renewed after Sept. 23, 2010. No longer will insurance companies be able to take away coverage at the very moment when patients need it most. More than 100 million Americans have health coverage that imposes lifetime limits on care.

  4. Phases out annual dollar limits on coverage over the next three years. Even more aggressive than lifetime limits are annual dollar limits on what an insurance company will pay for your health care. For the people with medical costs that hit these limits, the consequences can be devastating.

  5. Allows you to designate any available participating primary care doctor as your provider. You’ll be able to keep the primary care doctor or pediatrician you choose, and see an OB-GYN without referral.

  6. Removes insurance company barriers to receiving emergency care and prevents them from charging you more because you’re out of network. You’ll be able to get emergency care at a hospital outside of your plan’s network without facing higher co-pays or deductibles or having to fight to get approval first.