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MLA Full: "Adorable Puppy Explains Health Care Bill." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 30 December 2009,
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In which John offers a summary of the health care reform bill that just passed the U.S. senate, discussing the insurance exchange market, pre-existing condition clauses, medicare taxes, and other fine points of the still-under-debate bill. Here's a good explanation of how the insurance exchanges will look like:

Thanks to Alan Lastufka
( ) for the Ben Nelson asshat photo.

About abortion: The senate plan works like this: Policies covering abortion would be available in the exchange market (at least in some states), but those plans would have to collect two separate premiums--one covering everything other than abortion, and one for abortion coverage. The subsidy (available to all families making less than about $88,000 a year depending on number of kids) would only apply to the non-abortion policy.

If this seems like a hilariously stupid distinction, that's because it is. Ultimately, it of course doesn't matter which policy the subsidy goes toward. But then again, every federal program "supports" abortion in some way. For instance, without federally funded highways, it would be impossible for most women to get abortions. All government spending indirectly goes to support all activity in America, but it's ridiculous to say that, for instance, food stamps encourage meth use, even though sometimes people trade meth for food they bought with food stamps. It's equally disingenuous to say that this bill will allow federal funding of abortions, unless you're willing to argue that all government spending funds abortion.


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A Bunny
( - -)
((') (')
Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday and today I'm gonna answer Willy's questions about the American Health Care Reform Bill.

Well to start will you just explain what the Health Care Reform Bill is?

Yeah but that's harder to do than you would think because there are actually two health care reform bills, one that passed the House of Representatives and one that passed the Senate. For our purposes I'm mostly gonna talk about the Senate bill [caption: (since it will closely resemble the final bill)]. Basically the bill regulates the insurance industry preventing it, for instance, from not insuring people who have pre-existing conditions and it creates a private based non-profit insurance exchange where people who don't have jobs or work for themselves or work for small businesses can go and get health insurance which will be subsidized by the federal government. [caption: (subsidies available to families making less than $88,000 a year.)]

Okay but what if I have insurance through my job?

You don't have a job. You're a puppy. But if you had a job nothing would change except arguably your premiums but more on that in a moment.

How many people is this new health bill going to cover?

About 30 million Americans who are currently either uninsured or under insured would be covered under this bill.

What about pre-existing conditions?

Under the Senate bill, by 2014 health insurance companies will no longer be able to exclude people with pre-existing conditions or charge higher premiums based on gender. Because as a rule ladies are more expensive to insure than dudes because ladies like - I don't know if you guys know about this, this is crazy - but they have babies come out of their bodies. And that is expensive. Also... wowzy. So because insurance companies won't be able to charge women and people with pre-existing conditions more, it's possible the premiums for healthy relatively young men like myself might go up. But it's possible that will be offset by the overall decrease in healthcare costs that comes from this federally subsidized insurance pool.

What's all this talk about funding abortions with federal money?

No federal money will go to funding abortions. But the exact mechanics of this are complicated enough that I can't explain them in the video and must explain them in the sidebar so go down there and read it.

Will this bill allow illegal immigrants to have access to health care in the United States?

Well Willy I don't know if you should be asking that since you are a Scottish West Highland Terrier. Don't tell the government that my puppy is a Scotsman! But the answer is that illegal immigrants already get healthcare in America because as a rule emergency rooms don't turn people away.

How will this affect kids and what happens to me when I turn 18?

Because more adults who are uninsured will have access to health insurance, more children who are uninsured will have access to health insurance too. The bill will also likely increase the age to which you can stay on your parents' healthcare to somewhere in the neighborhood of 27.

But does the bill increase taxes?

Yes it will likely increase the Medicare tax .9% on income over $200,000 per year - which means if you make $300,000 per year you'll pay about an extra $1,000 in tax. It also dramatically increases the tax rate on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans, which most health care analysts think is a good idea because it will lower the overall amount of the Gross Domestic Product that we spend on healthcare. Oh, also there's going to be a tax on indoor tanning.

You're kidding.

No I'm serious and actually it's a really good idea because people who tan indoors have a much higher chance of getting melanoma which is a very expensive disease, particularly if you get it young. That's also why we tax cigarettes.

What's all this gonna do to the national debt?

Well according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office it's gonna cut the national deficit but whether that leads in turn to a cut in the national debt is largely dependent on whether we spend that money on something else. Like, maybe before the 2010 election congress will vote to send every American a lollipop.

Did Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson sell his vote?

Yes, he did, that's why he's wearing the Ass hat.

So under this bill, if you're eligible for insurance, do you have to get insurance?

Yes, or pay a penalty which will eventually be $750 per person per year.

Wait, the government is making me get insurance? What about my freedom?

Yeah I can understand why you're squeamish but most experts think it just won't work any other way, it's the same reason car insurance is mandatory. The problem is that your stupid choices affect other people, including people I really care about... like me. Like if we get in a car accident you don't just mess up your car, you also mess up my car. Similarly, if you don't have health insurance, you'll be less likely to seek preventative care and more likely to have higher overall lifetime health costs. Which costs you might not pay because you might die or go bankrupt, forcing the hospital to pass along the cost of your care to me. And 300 million other people. But mostly me!

So Hank that's the Senate Health Care Bill as best I understand it. If you have more questions about the health care bill, I'll try to answer them in comments. Not in my pants. Even though I'm pointing to my pants.

Willy says... best wishes!