December 21st, 2009
10:00 PM ET

Real-life effects of reform getting lost in the noise

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/12/19/health.care/story.nelson.health.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Ben Nelson has reached an agreement with Democratic leaders on health care reform, senators say." width=300 height=169]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Last night I was up late covering the senate vote on health care for CNN. The number of e-mails I was receiving while discussing this on air was staggering. I realized that as much as we talked about cloture and reconciliation, most people who didn’t read the 2,000+ page bill (which is most everyone) really wanted to know what this bill means for them. They didn’t care as much about the compromise that was struck by Sen. Ben Nelson, which would obligate the federal government to pick up the Medicaid tab for his state of Nebraska into perpetuity. They are still not sure if a public option is a good thing or not, and they aren’t sure how the exchange would work for them. In short, there is a collision of politics and health care, and sometime the impact on individuals gets a little lost in the shuffle.

I want to use this blog as a platform to try and address some of your specific question and to also throw out some key information that may have flown under the radar. I will start with a number. 2014. This is the year most of the provisions of the bill would kick in under this version of reform. That’s right – four years away. Many people think health care reform in binary terms. One moment there is a vote, and the next moment you have it. Many wish it were that easy. It is true that children may benefit earlier in some areas, but for the vast majority of the more than 40 million uninsured, things aren’t going to change significantly for a few years. And, speaking of the more than 40 million uninsured, this bill won’t impact all of them, but instead roughly 31 million.

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Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Health Care • Sanjay Gupta
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Henry

    It's bound to be good. Otherwise they would have made it public for everyone to see before they voted on it.

    December 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  2. Ratna, New York, NY

    Dear Dr. Sanjay Gupta,

    All the bumps in the road are really several variety of ethical health legislationissues, which actually needs years and years of revising before it becomes anything pico bello perfect!

    Let the bill -even if still very imperfect- be passed and then we will work on revising different health legislative issues! we can not set it off for another decade!

    Think about the VA system that the millitary already have in place:
    that is the one thing to compare with

    December 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |