MANHATTAN, Kan. - On March 23, 2010, after a year of partisan fighting, President Obama signed into law a bill that reform the nation's $2.5 trillion health-care system. Known as the H.R.3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this legislation will expand health care coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans through a combination of cost controls, subsidies and mandates. The cost of this reform is estimated to run close to $848 billion over a 10 year period. The cost is to be fully offset by new taxes and revenues and would actually reduce the deficit by $131 billion over the same period.
One thing for sure is that an abundance of disinformation about this legislation is streaming out of the Right's propaganda machine. In an effort to provide the public with tools to separate fact from fiction about H.R. 3590, the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice (MAPJ) will host an informational Health Care Forum on Monday, 26 July, from 5:30-7:00pm at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium.
MAPJ has assembled a panel of experts who will answer questions from those in attendance about the new health care legislation. Panelists include:
- Judith Baker (invited), Region 7 Office Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
- Representative Sydney Carlin (D - 66th District Kansas Legislature);
- Suzanne Cleveland, Senior Policy Analyst, Kansas Health Institute; and,
- Dr. Tom Kluzak, Pathologist and Member of Physicians for a National Health Program.
MAPJ Board member, Thea Nietfeld, will serve as moderator for the evening.
Readers interested an analysis of H.R. 3590 might want to read the RAND Corporation's analysis (PDF file) of the bill's effects on the number of uninsured, the costs to the federal government and the nation, revenues from penalty payments, and consumer health care spending. While the bill does much to address a variety of issues, about 23 million people will remain uninsured nine years out under H.R. 3590. That figure translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually and an incalculable toll of suffering on the uninsured's families.
On the other end of the spectrum, 19 states have joined a lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Florida, that contends that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to mandate an individual's participation in an insurance plan with Virginia and Idaho filling their own suit. The Florida case also claims that the new legislation infringes on states' rights by requiring them to extend coverage to more low-income residents without fully funding the additional cost. Many constitutional scholars say the challenge stands a slim chance of being successful, so to further support the extremist view that corporate death panels should be deciding what medical care you receive, many state legislatures have also passed legislation, or non-binding resolutions as is the case in Kansas, declaring their "sovereignty" over federal government mandates...something I thought had been decided in the 1860s.