On March 21, 2010, one year ago today, my husband and I stayed up late watching the debate on health care reform stream on his computer. Even though I’d read all of the analyses about the advance vote count, I think I still held my breath when the roll call was winding down.
No, of course it’s not a perfect bill.
There were several versions I preferred to what finally passed, and I’m not excited about how long some of the most significant pieces will take to be fully implemented, especially as the country continues to grapple with rising entitlement expenses, a lagging economy, and frustration with Congress.
My kids will be able to stay on our health insurance until they actually finish college. I don’t have to worry that my genetic blood disease will make us lose our insurance. SCHIP is protected. We’ll see increases in preventative care investments. We’re closing the “donut hole” gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage. We’re trimming cost excesses in Medicare Advantage. We will finally stop losing ground, at least, on the rising ranks of the uninsured.
And, in addition to the tangible improvements it makes in our health care “system” (what we have now can’t really accurately be called anything like ‘systematic’!), health care reform also represents a triumph of policymaking against tremendous ideological, fiscal, and political odds. I don’t believe in the “better than nothing” school of thought, much, because I’ve seen too many cases where settling for a little meant that we never saw a lot.
But this is better.
And, so, on the one-year anniversary, when the vast majority of health care reform’s provisions are but directives to be specified and analyzed and codified by regulators within the Department of Health and Human Services, between now and 2014, I’m spending some time checking out the Reform Reality site created by the Health Care Foundation of Kansas City (for which there are billboards all around my town!).
It’s a fully interactive site, with options to click to see how health care reform’s provisions affect those with different current positions in the system today. The content is similar to other sites, but I think it’s easier to engage here. You can see some of the expected fiscal impact, check out how reform aims to improve our nation’s health status (which is, after all, the ultimate measure of the success of any health care system), and link to organizations locally and nationally working on the aftermath of that day last March.
Check it out, and then I want to hear from you. What do you think about health care reform, one year out? Where do you hope we are one year from now? What about health care reform excites you the most, and what were your greatest disappointments?