This morning, interim good news. Judson Berger and Marla Chichowski of Fox News checked into the story of Natoma, who is undergoing treatment at the famous Cleveland Clinic. A spokeswoman there said the woman was virtually certain to qualify for aid and, anyway, the clinic has no intention of placing any liens on her home for the expensive care she is now receiving free.
Also the president said yesterday:
I'm here because of the countless others who have been forced to face the most terrifying challenges in their lives with the added burden of medical bills they can't pay.
I don't think that's right.
Neither do you.
That's why we need health insurance right now.
Health insurance reform right now.
Well and good- however even the AP reports that this bill, passed now, only offers limited help but starts big costs right away:
It took lawmakers a year to shape President Barack Obama's health care bill. If it finally passes Congress, it'll take the better part of a decade to write the user manual for consumers and doctors, employers and insurance companies.
Some health insurance consumer protections would go into place immediately, significant but limited in scope. The big expansion in coverage comes in four years. About 25 million people would sign up, with most getting tax credits to help pay premiums. Ripple effects continue well after Obama has to leave office in 2017, if he's re-elected.
But even if the 2,700-plus-page bill passes, it's only the end of the beginning. The Obama blueprint will be carried out under less-than-ideal circumstances. Rising medical costs and an aging population will keep squeezing the federal budget. Lawmakers will have to revisit hard choices they sidestepped.
In short - it's a mess.
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