By Newt Gingrich
Editor's Note: Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation.
The healthcare reform law passed earlier this year significantly altered the entire landscape of the industry. Many changes are on the horizon as a result of its passage, and it behooves everyone involved in the healthcare field to educate themselves on the impact of the legislation and its subsequent regulations. Below are some major provisions of the law you need to know in order to operate in this brave new world:
- Cuts Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans by nearly $500 billion
- Children can now stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26
- Insurance companies will not be able to drop individuals from coverage because they have a pre-existing condition
- Beginning in 2011, Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Savings Accounts, and Health Reimbursement Accounts cannot be used for over the counter medicine purchases
- Beginning in 2014, every individual must have some type of health insurance, be it private through an employer or self-coverage or through a government sponsored exchange operated by the states – failure to secure coverage will result in a fine
- Beginning in 2014, employers will be taxed on a per employee basis if they choose not to offer coverage to their employees or if the coverage they offer doesn’t meet a standard established by the federal government
- Establishes 50+ state exchanges that will offer coverage to individuals
- Increases access to Medicaid to those with incomes up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Line
- Levies graduated taxes on industries such as insurance, pharmaceutical, and device manufactures
The implementation of these provisions along with the many hundreds more in the law will be long and extensive. On average, every page of legislation from Washington breeds 10 pages of regulation that determines how the law is put into motion. The Center for Health Transformation created Health Reform Report (www.healthreformreport.com) to track all the news relating to the law, along with analysis of its impact and related expert opinion pieces as a valuable resource in the debate. The website provides a unique and important collection of information solely related to the law, from Administration news to details of upcoming deadlines affecting implementation.
At the Center for Health Transformation, we have long advocated for the implementation of a 21st century health system that will save money and save lives. There are numerous private sector driven solutions that can help achieve this goal, from the incorporation of health information technology to delivery care reforms that focus on health outcomes, and more. The level of American innovation in the healthcare industry is second to none, but consumers must be given control of their health decisions in order for true reform to be achieved. We continue to monitor the law’s implementation and track its effect on individuals, businesses, providers, and others. This single piece of legislation affects nearly one sixth of the entire U.S. economy, and becoming knowledgeable about its contents is the best way to prepare for its impending impact. Anyone with questions can visit the Center’s website, at www.healthtransformation.net.
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