This is probably one of the longest emails Iíve ever sent, but it could be
the most important.
Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance
reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back ó
even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all
sorts of lies and distortions.
As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, ďwhere we do
disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild
misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been
So letís start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, youíll find
a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways
reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8
common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.
Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could
be answered by whatís below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.
Senior Adviser to the President
P.S. We launched www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck this week to
knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can
find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we've just
added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a
viral email head on. Check it out:
8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without
- Ends Discrimination for
Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage
because of your medical history.
- Ends Exorbitant
Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays:
†Insurance companies will have to
abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket
- Ends Cost-Sharing for
Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups
and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and
foot exams for diabetics.
- Ends Dropping of Coverage
for Seriously Ill:
†Insurance companies will be
prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those
who become seriously ill.
- Ends Gender Discrimination:
†Insurance companies will be
prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
- Ends Annual or Lifetime
Caps on Coverage:
Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime
caps on the coverage you receive.
- Extends Coverage for Young
†Children would continue to be
eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
- Guarantees Insurance
†Insurance companies will be
required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their
premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal
because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details: http://www.whitehouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/?e=11&ref=hicp
8 common myths about health insurance reform
- Reform will stop
"rationing" - not increase it:
Itís a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of
health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform
will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by
- We canít afford reform:
It's the status quo we can't afford. Itís a myth that reform will bust
the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay
for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and
abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies
to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as
coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform
can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
- Reform would encourage
†It does not. Itís a malicious
myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors.
For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about
end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary,
private consultations for those who want help with these personal and
difficult family decisions.
- Vets' health care is safe
Itís a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to
the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget
significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000
more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system
will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
- Reform will benefit small
business - not burden it:
†Itís a myth that health
insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform
will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help
them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big
firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
- Your Medicare is safe, and
stronger with reform:
†Itís myth that Health Insurance
Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary,
reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure
better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to
insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut"
hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
- You can keep your own
†Itís myth that reform will force
you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors.
To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
- No, government will not do
anything with your bank account:
†It is an absurd myth that
government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health
insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more
convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just
like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional
check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized
so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you Ė and the
same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic
payments that people make.
Learn more and get details:
8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now
- Coverage Denied to Millions:
†A recent national survey
estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults Ė 36 percent of those who
tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in
the individual insurance market Ė were in fact discriminated against
because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or
dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html
- Less Care for More Costs:
†With each passing year, Americans
are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health
insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times
faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan
purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of
a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for
health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html
- Roadblocks to Care for
†Womenís reproductive health
requires more regular contact with health care providers, including
yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more
likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While
rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are
similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and
are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic
conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up
care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html
- Hard Times in the Heartland:
Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face
challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have
consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and
limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With
the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many
of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated
in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes/
- Small Businesses Struggle
to Provide Health Coverage:
†Nearly one-third of the
uninsured Ė 13 million people Ė are employees of firms with less than
100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans
covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of
this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small
businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms
held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer
than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline/
- The Tragedies are Personal:
Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of
medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly
$300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn
- Diminishing Access to Care:
From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by
employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87
million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were
uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured
are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html
The Trends are
Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket
unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and
federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for
health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health
insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72
million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf?e=11&ref=report