Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 23, 2010

CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.... Six months ago today, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The milestone is significant for entirely substantive reasons -- effective today, many Americans who've been waiting for some relief will finally get some.

The New York Times' Kevin Sack noted that a number of the new law's "most central consumer protections take effect" this very day, and the list includes some very popular reforms. Starting today, for example, insurers won't be able to exclude children from coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Rescission, which led to many Americans losing their coverage when they needed it most, is forbidden. Young people can now stay on their parents' plan until age 26. Preventive care -- including colonoscopies, mammograms, and immunizations -- must now be covered without co-payments.

Republicans intend to take all of this away, of course, and will fight tooth and nail next year if voters reward them with a majority.

But in the meantime, the Affordable Care Act has begun making life better for some struggling Americans who need a break.

Joe and Mary Thompson had agreed to adopt Emily before her birth in 1999, and it never occurred to them to back out when she was born with spina bifida. But that same year, their residential remodeling business in Overland Park, Kan., went under, prompting job changes that left the family searching for health coverage with a child who was uninsurable.

The insurers were willing to cover the Thompsons and their older daughter, but not Emily, who was later discovered to have mild autism as well, or her 13-year-old brother, who had a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder.

Starting Thursday, the insurers will not be able to do that, as the new health care law prohibits them from denying coverage to children under 19 because of pre-existing health conditions. In 2014, the change will extend to people of all ages.

I realize the new law is still confusing to many Americans. That uncertainty makes it easier for demagogues to attack and for the public to believe them -- much of the country just doesn't know what's in the Affordable Care Act, so they're not in a position to approve of provisions that they'd really like.

To that end, I thought I'd include this video from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan research organization, which does a fine job explaining the new law. If you have nine minutes, I highly recommend watching it.

Update: Also, the White House has a newly-revamped site devoted to the new health care law. It's worth checking out (and be sure to watch the video at the top of the page.)

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Perhaps the Democrats can revise their slogan to:
"Change Delivered"
At least that should be their theme this campaign as it reminds people why they voted Democratic in 2008 and why not voting Democratic would produce the horrible results that Republicans produced for eight years.

Posted by: tomb on September 23, 2010 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Great little video. I actually laughed out loud when Uncle Sam slapped the back of the sun burned tanning salon patron.

Posted by: Alrighty Then on September 23, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans intend to take all of this away, of course, and will fight tooth and nail next year if voters reward them with a majority.

Mr Benen, back when the bill was in jeopardy, you deluded yourself and others by writing that this would be the first step with other incremental improvements to follow later. Strongly implied it would happen during Obama's presidency.

At least with the quote above you're implicitly acknowledging the sad reality that that pernicious spin was all kabuki. There are no Dems pushing to extend it and in fact all the momemtum is on the other side and there are no plans to improve it in this political lifetime. You will be lucky if it survives. And with the multiple ad-lib heckling from the POTUS no less about the "professional left", I guess we can put this delusion to bed for all time.

Progress, I suppose.

Posted by: Observer on September 23, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, most Americans don't have nine minutes to watch the video, or the time to log on to the white House for another one. This may be a shock to you, but many Americans don't have a computer, opting instead for a third TV set and the satellite upgrade. And they are working a third job to pay for it. If the do go to the polls this year, it will be a local issue that drives them. Turn out will be the usual 30%.

Posted by: DAY on September 23, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Observer: in case you have Observed, Obama's term is not over, there is no statute of limitations on when Dems can introduce fixes, and I haven't heard anything about the world ending today so guess what? your assumption is ridiculous.

Obama has been too lenient on the "professional left". He needs to rip those assholes a new asshole.

Posted by: Alli on September 23, 2010 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Given a choice between the wisdom of law-makers to write good laws and crooks to loophole around them, my money is with the crooks - insurance companies in this case. The Washington Post ran a headline on Monday "Major health insurers to stop offering new child-only policies". The culprits were WellPoint, Cigna and CoventryOne. Now what? This shit isn't going to stop until Rethugs are driven from polite company and we have a single-payer system. I'm not even sure a public option would work at this point. It would simply become the dumping ground of the uninsurable.

Posted by: Chopin on September 23, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I just want to say that, thanks to the bill, my younger son continues to have health insurance as part of my group plan following his graduation from college and during his current search for a job with benefits.

I think Observer is unduly, and perhaps deliberately, pessimistic. It is a little early to write the obituary of a provision that only today went into effect and to assume that the Republicans will have the actual power and desire to deprive people of benefits under it.

Posted by: David in NY on September 23, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the Democrats can revise their slogan to:
"Change Delivered"

Obama is doing something along those lines with "guarding change" as a new slogan.

And Observer, the eternal concern troll, is wrong. Nobody said the bill would be added to less than a year after it passed. So stop spinning your "pernicious kabuki".

Posted by: SWENXOF on September 23, 2010 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Pretty good video, though (ICK!) Cokie Roberts.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 23, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK


what assumption? All the momentum regarding ACA is to repeal it not incrementally improve it. That's factual, a declarative. You have republicans running on a platform of repeal, you have White House staff talking about that scenario. You have no one, not a single person, indicating that they will move a bill to improve it.

The spin at the time by Steve was that someone would move a bill later in the session, this session that is about to expire, to improve it.

This is not going to happen.
There are no "assumptions" here.

Posted by: Observer on September 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, Cokie, you give me such a thrill.

Posted by: leo on September 23, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Observer: What did you expect? Every major policy change in American history has had pushback. Healthcare reform will need to be defended. The public will need time to absorb what has changed -- and what still needs fixing.

Your social change model seems to be built around watching too many 30-minute sitcoms. Meanwhile, whatever else you can say about the right wing, it thinks long term.

We need to start doing that too instead of taking our bat and ball and going home whenever we don't get everything we want, when we want it.

Posted by: dr Lemming on September 23, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

How much do you want to bet that a large number of people taking advantage of these new benefits will vote Republican in November.

Posted by: SaintZak on September 23, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

SaintZak said How much do you want to bet that a large number of people taking advantage of these new benefits will vote Republican in November.

Given that red-states tend to have the highest rates of uninsured that's not a bet worth taking.

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

So, has Michelle Malking started a stake-out of the Thompsons' house yet, to prove that they're a pack of freeloading fakers who can afford central heat and indoor plumbing?

Posted by: T-Rex on September 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

One of the greatest thing that the Affordable Care Act does, due to the efforts of Senator Sanders, is dedicating 14 Billion dollars to the creation of 20,000 Community Health Clinics around our country, and the funds to hire 20,000 doctors to staff them. These clinics are for the poor, and working poor. They are based on a sliding scale. And they are being built now. Now. And, yet again, the Repiglicans who have voted against this act want to take credit for it when it benefits them to do so. One of these clinics was just opened in Northern Idaho. And guess who was there to claim credit ? Senator CRAPPO from Idaho. Yes, CRAPPO. Signing the praises of it while voting against it. Why is it that even blogs like this have never reported on this key element of the Affordabe Care Act ? Not to mention it is being totally ignored by the Corporate Media.

Posted by: stormskies on September 23, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Hey Observer: in case you have Observed, Obama's term is not over..."

More's the pity. As some of us pointed out during the debate (if you can call the whitehouse chanting "shut the fuck up, hippies!" a debate) the regulations in the ACA are a joke. The issue of not being able to deny kids is a case an point- before the regulation ever took effect the insurers had a work around that left us worse off than we were before. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER REGULATION IN THE BILL.

There is no health care reform that will work unless for profit insurance is removed from the equation. It's just that simple. Obamacare not only didn;t remove them it gave them a shitload more money and greater power, making real reform so much harder.

Posted by: Tlaloc on September 23, 2010 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Tlaloc, you nominate a "progressive" Democratic candidate and I'll vote for him or her.
Until that happens, however, I'm very much afraid you're just going to have to remain an embittered, social misfit; uncouth, unlettered and, hopefully, unmissed.

Posted by: Doug on September 23, 2010 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Morgan Thackrey on March 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK
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