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San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - March 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company

Texas to fight health care bill
San Jacinto News- Times

COLDSPRING – Shortly after Democrats in the House of Representatives passed historic health reform legislation, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), echoed their displeasure with its passage. “The federal health care legislation passed violates the United States Constitution and unconstitutionally infringes upon Texans’ individual liberties. To protect all Texans’ constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation’s founders and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the State of Texas and other states will legally challenge the federal health care legislation,” Abbott said in a press release Sunday night. Following suit, Brady, who represents San Jacinto and surrounding counties, said, “This bill is a terrible mistake, because bigger government doesn’t mean better health care. I am inspired and heartened by the tens of thousands of everyday Texans in my district who stood up the past year to make their voices heard and to join with a new generation of Americans who insist that Congress listen to them or risk the consequences. “To them I say don’t give up, this isn’t over yet. Let’s continue to fi ght it together, to challenge it at every turn and when the time is right, to repeal it.” The House voted 219 – 212 late Sunday to send the legislation to President Obama. The 10-year, $938 billion bill would extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, reduce deficits and ban insurance company practices such as charging more to women and denying coverage to people with medical problems. Major provisions of the health care reform legislation now being considered in Congress would take effect as follows: Within a year: Would provides small businesses, those with fewer than 25 employees and average wages less than $50,000, tax credits equal to 35 percent of health costs. Would eliminate co-payments for preventive care, including some cancer screenings. Would provide a $250 rebate this year to Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries whose initial benefits run out. 90 days after enactment: Would provide immediate access to high-risk pools for people with no insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Six months after enactment: Would bar insurers from denying people coverage when they get sick. Would bar insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Would bar insurers from imposing lifetime caps on coverage. Would require insurers to allow people to stay on their parents’ policies until they turn 26. 2011: Would require individual and small group market plans to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on medical services. Large group plans would have to spend at least 85 percent. 2013: Would increase the Medicare payroll tax and expand it to dividend, interest and other unearned income for singles earning more than $200,000 and joint filers making more than $250,000. 2014: Would provide subsidies for families earning up to 400 percent of poverty level, currently about $88,000 a year, to purchase health insurance. Would require most employers to provide coverage or face penalties. Would direct states to set up new marketplaces for the purchasing of insurance. Would bar insurers from denying coverage to anybody because of a pre-existing condition. 2018: Would impose a 40 percent excise tax on high-end insurance policies. 2019: Would close the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole,” where seniors are now forced to pay for drugs out of pocket before insurance kicks back in. Would expand health insurance coverage to 32 million


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