Giving the Lowdown on Healthcare

Macomb, IL – Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) is trying to set the record straight about what is and what is not included in the House version of the healthcare reform bill.

Hare says he is holding 18 meetings around his district. One of those meetings was held in Macomb on August 19. It drew around 80 people to the Macomb City Hall Community Room.

Hare said under the House plan, people who like their current insurance plan can keep it. "The government does not come in and tell you to move into a plan. The government doesn't take over the plan. I wouldn't vote for a bill that did," said Hare.

Those who don't like their current plan or who are uninsured can consider a couple other options.

One option is to enter into an insurance exchange in which health providers will compete for your business. Hare said there will be three mandates on companies in the exchange.

One is that they will have to accept everyone. The second is that an insurer cannot deny a claim after it's already given the go-ahead for medical services (such as surgery). The third mandate forbids a company from canceling its contract with someone for filing a claim.

Hare said the other option is what's commonly known as the public option. He said it would be similar to the Blue Cross Blue Shield standard plan.

Hare also talked about what is not included in the health reform plan. For one thing, the legislation will not create death panels.

"I find that, quite candidly, to be -- I can't even describe it. It's a big lie. It's demeaning to people and it's meant to scare people," said Hare.

Hare also said the plan would not provide insurance for illegal immigrants and it would not provide funding for abortions.

Hare took a number of questions from the crowd. The tone was civil - there was no shouting and there were no demonstrations. Macomb police, including Chief Curt Barker, were present in case things got out of hand.