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House Democrats Approve Health-Care Reform Bill
Date:3/21/2010

es on many businesses that don't provide coverage for their workers, according to the AP. While that could mean millions of new paying customers for hospitals, doctors, drug companies and insurers, Medicare cuts would mean that hospitals would have to operate more efficiently to stay afloat. Insurance companies would face unprecedented federal regulation, and health-care industries would be hit with new federal taxes, according to the wire service.

Implementation of the bill's provisions would be staggered over the next four years and beyond.

"Most of the insurance expansion won't happen till 2014, although there will be some changes in the rules right away," Davis said.

As the bill now stands, taking effect in 2010:

  • Insurers would no longer be able to exclude high-risk individuals from getting a policy, nor would they be able to dump people who develop medical problems. "That guarantees the availability of coverage for people with serious health problems," Davis said.
  • Young adults, up to age 26, would be eligible for coverage under their parents' policies, she said.
  • Ceilings on annual or lifetime benefits would be eliminated, Davis said.

Longer-term changes would include:

  • Setting up regional health insurance exchanges that various groups -- including self-employed people, those without employer-based health coverage, high-risk individuals and small businesses -- could tap for coverage.
  • Adopting portable health insurance, meaning people could take their coverage with them if they left a job, Davis said.
  • Stricter regulation and scrutiny of the health insurance industry.

More information

The Commonwealth Fund has more on the health-care reform
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