The nation is abuzz with talk of the proposed healthcare bill, which may be signed into place in 2009 – and may be signed as soon as Christmas Eve. As it stands now, the proposed bill will cost the nation at least $871 billion and change the way Americans receive and pay for their healthcare. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the proposed national healthcare bill will ensure health insurance for an additional 31 million Americans while, simultaneously, cutting the federal deficit by a whopping $132 by 2019.
According to the most current draft of the healthcare reform bill, every American will be required to buy health insurance. However, Medicaid programs will also be expanded to provide more healthcare coverage to the poor. Moderate income individuals will receive a federal subsidy to help them afford health insurance or health care.
For Florida residents, this means that health insurance rolls in the state will increase by 2.4 million by 2019. Additionally, nearly one million Florida seniors will be blocked from the proposed budget cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program. But that’s not all – health care providers and recipients will be affected by the proposed national health care bill in many more ways.
The impact of the proposed health care bill on Florida residents and health care providers
In addition to the new mandate that all Florida residents will have to have health insurance or another form of health care coverage (such as federally subsidized coverage), many Florida residents can expect their healthcare expenses to increase in response to the passage of the health care bill.
While the proposed cosmetic surgery tax was eliminated from the bill, there is a new ten percent tax on indoor tanning services. From this ten percent tax alone, the government expects to raise about $2.7 billion over the next decade. While the government stands to benefit from the increase revenue, tanning salons may be hard-pressed to maintain their businesses. “This is really going to be tough for these businesses – they’re already struggling,” said John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association.
Additionally, individuals making more than $200,000 per year and families making more than $250,000 will have to pay a 2.35 percent tax for Medicare. This figure represents a 0.9 percent tax increase for these high-earners.
However, Florida Senator Bill Nelson was able to secure an amendment to the health care bill that would protect about 800,000 Medicare Advantage policy holders from cuts to Medicare Advantage plans. While existing Medicare Advantage participants will be grandfathered in, new Medicare beneficiaries will have to deal with the program cuts.
The good news for many Florida residents is that Florida community health centers will receive an additional $10 billion in the most current version of the bill.
Additionally, the proposed five percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures was also eliminated from the most current version of the health care bill. That’s good news for health care providers offering elective procedures said Dr. Kent V. Hasen, a board-certified area plastic surgeon. “In general, cosmetic surgeries are down 30 to 40 percent because of the recession. You tack that on and it will be the death knell for the practices.” That five percent tax would, however, have generated about $6 billion in taxes.
The proposed health care bill has been hotly debated in the Senate since November and is expected to be signed into action as soon as Christmas Eve of this year. Once the bill is in place, Americans will want to reevaluate their current health insurance plans, as the bill proposes many changes to the health care and health insurance industries that will affect every American in some regard.
When evaluating their health insurance plans and health care needs, many individuals will find it beneficial to speak with a qualified health insurance advisor for specific information about which health insurance plans suit their unique needs, budgets, and lifestyles – especially in light of the many changes that will soon take effect.