In an interview today with Nebraska radio station KOGA, Nebraska`s Senator Ben Nelson said he worked to make sure the new health care law wasn`t a government takeover of health care, addressed some of its benefits for Nebraskans and concerns that have been raised about the law. Below are excerpts from the interview. Easy To Insure ME has the answers
Asked about those who are calling for a repeal and replacement, Senator Nelson pointed out that many of the provisions already in effect are making the health insurance market fairer for Nebraskans:
“For those who want to repeal it, it`s going to be interesting to see if they want to repeal this: banning insurers from preventing coverage due to pre-existing conditions. That`s in place. Allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines. . .¦Allowing¨ kids ¦to be on parent`s insurance¨ up until the age of 26. There are a lot of parents struggling right now. They paid for and borrowed a lot of money for a college education. They get out, they can`t find a job. They`d be kicked off the parent`s health insurance plan. And if they had a pre-existing condition, they wouldn`t qualify for individual insurance and if they didn`t have a job they wouldn`t qualify for group insurance. So they could be uninsured. That was taken care of. There were just a number of things that are already in place. . .Right now insurers cannot impose annual and lifetime caps on benefits. They can`t drop a person`s coverage just because they get sick. Those things are already in the –
The senator highlighted the fact that 220,000 Nebraskans – roughly the population of Lincoln – don`t have health insurance. By reducing that number, the new law aims to control costs that are currently passed on from those who don`t have health insurance to those who do:
“There are 220,000 Nebraskans who don`t currently have health insurance.
. .The number of people who live in Lincoln don`t have health insurance in Nebraska. And we can`t take the approach of `hey, I have mine, now you get yours.` Many of them can`t qualify easily because of pre-existing conditions.
“When people don`t have health care coverage, they still get health care because they go to the emergency rooms and when they go to the emergency rooms they can`t pay. Guess who that cost is passed on to? Those of us that do have insurance and are able then to pay and our rates are higher.
“This ¦law¨ is aimed at changing that to level the playing field. If we didn`t do something, premium costs due to health care costs are going to continue going up at double digit levels. They`re going to go up in the meantime until all the insurance reforms kick in. But that won`t be because of health insurance reform. It will be because health costs continue to skyrocket. This is all aimed at reducing the impact of that and the increasing cost of health care, which is the driving force for our costs of health insurance.“
Asked about concerns people have with the new law, Nelson said that he worked to ensure that it is not a government takeover of health care and noted that it relies on the existing private system. He drew attention to the fact that some fears people raised haven`t come to pass such as “death panels,“ that he read the entire bill before it was passed, his role in shaping the bill and said that he will be watching the implementation of the bill carefully to make sure it follows Congress` intent:
“But I think people were warned about some things that never occurred. For example, where are the death panels? There aren`t any death panels. We also heard that the law would require people who want public health insurance to be implanted with a microchip. That hasn`t happened and it`s not going to happen. And where`s the rationing we were warned about? But perhaps the scariest thing we heard was a government takeover of health care. Have we seen that? No we haven`t. But it`s controversial; I understand. I worked hard against the public option, which was going to replace the private system. I worked hard to make sure we didn`t get that public option, that we have retained the private system. There`s no public option, no national health insurance plan, no single payer system in the law. So those are the kinds of things that could have happened but didn`t happen because I and some others fought very hard against those things happening.“
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