Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Does Health Care Reform Mean To Your District?

Thanks to Annette at just my little piece of the world for calling my attention to this useful website produced by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Use it to look up the impact of HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act, on your Congressional district. Here's what I found out about the bill and Washington's 8th:

America’s Affordable Health Choices Act would provide significant benefits in the 8th Congressional District of Washington: up to 20,000 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 7,500 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 1,000 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $20 million in uncompensated care each year; and 29,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. Congressman David G. Reichert represents the district.
  • Help for small businesses. Under the legislation, small businesses with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $40,000 qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance. There are up to 20,000 small businesses in the district that could qualify for these credits.
  • Help for seniors with drug costs in the Part D donut hole. Each year, 7,500 seniors in the district hit the donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage. The legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminate the donut hole.
  • Health care and financial security. There were 1,000 health care-related bankruptcies in the district in 2008, caused primarily by the health care costs not covered by insurance. The bill provides health insurance for almost every American and caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $10,000 per year, ensuring that no citizen will have to face financial ruin because of high health care costs.
  • Relieving the burden of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers. In 2008, health care providers in the district provided $20 million worth of uncompensated care, care that was provided to individuals who lacked insurance coverage and were unable to pay their bills. Under the legislation, these costs of uncompensated care would be virtually eliminated.
  • Coverage of the uninsured. There are 53,000 uninsured individuals in the district, 7% of the district. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationwide, 97% of all Americans will have insurance coverage when the bill takes effect. If this benchmark is reached in the district, 29,000 people who currently do not have health insurance will receive coverage.
  • No deficit spending. The cost of health care reform under the legislation is fully paid for: half through making the Medicare and Medicaid program more efficient and half through a surtax on the income of the wealthiest individuals. This surtax would affect only 9,650 households in the district. The surtax would not affect 97.3% of taxpayers in the district.
This analysis is based upon the following sources: the Gallup-Healthways Survey (data on the uninsured); the U.S. Census (data on small businesses); the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (data on the Part D donut hole, health care-related bankruptcies (based on analysis of PACER court records), and uncompensated care); and the House Committee on Ways and Means (data on the surtax).

Some things you can do to help:
  1. Publish the report for your district on your blog or web site.
  2. Contact your Congressman urging him or her to support HB 3200 and request an explanation if they do not support it.
  3. Put a pointer to the web site on your Facebook page and urge your friends to look up the report for their district.
Note: If you find the web site confusing or are pressed for time, contact me personally and I'll look up the report for your district...

Paul Krugman writes that President Obama can't give the Blue Dog Dems what they want because what they ask for makes no sense...

According to the Committee report, the number of uninsured Washingtonians by district, the number of 2008 health care-related bankruptcies, and the percent of taxpayers affected by a proposed surcharge on each district's wealthiest taxpayers:

WA-1 (Jay Inslee-D)
62,000 uninsured (9%)
1,100 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 1.8% of taxpayers

WA-2 (Rick Larsen-D)
104,000 uninsured (14%)
1,150 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 0.9% of taxpayers

WA-3 (Brian Baird-D)
114,000 uninsured (15%)
1,550 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 0.9% of taxpayers

WA-4 (Doc Hastings-R)
140,000 uninsured (19%)
1,500 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 0.6% of taxpayers

WA-5 (Cathy Rodgers-R)
127,000 uninsured (18%)
1,200 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 0.8% of taxpayers

WA-6 (Norm Dicks-D)
88,000 uninsured (13%)
1,300 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 0.8% of taxpayers

WA-7 (Jim McDermott-D)
83,000 uninsured (13%)
2,050 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 2.1% of taxpayers

WA-8 (Dave Reichert-R)
53,000 uninsured (7%)
1,000 bankruptcies
Surcharge: 2.7% taxpayers

WA-9 (Adam Smith-D)
(link broken -- most like WA-3)

Even though the 4th and 5th districts would benefit most from HB3200, you can count on Rodgers and Doc "Dim Bulb" Hastings to oppose it on ideological grounds, as will Dave "Empty Suit" Reichert. Whether they ultimately sign on to this particular bill or not, the D's will support whatever Nancy Pelosi brings to the floor. But it would be nice for them to know that their constituents have their back...


Annette said...

Thanks, I really do believe this is one of those things that needs to be out there..

Great write up as usual and hopefully will help get the word out there. I have sent it to several other of the larger blogs but so far nothing.. maybe they will put it out today..who knows.

That Senate mess is worthless and this House bill is the best thing we have going.. I still think it is a good bill..I have read it and it sounds good to me.

Roy said...

Huh! I didn't know they specified the benefits by Congressional District; I'll have to go look that up. Thanks, K!

Scrumpy said...

Wonderful tool, thanks!