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Arabesque welcomes young entrepreneurs

The Great Lakes Consortium for International Training and Development is hosting “Arabesque” on April 10. The event is a welcome lunch for 15 young entrepreneurs from Jordan, Lebanon and The United Arab Emirates visiting the U.S. “Arabesque” will begin at 11:30 a.m. with a VIP reception prior starting at 10 a.m. The lunch will be hosted at the Inverness Country Club, 4601 Dorr St. Call (419) 530-8572 or e-mail glcevents@hotmail.com for tickets.

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HEALTH CARE

By Kristen Rapin

Toledo Free Press Special Sections Editor krapin@toledofreepress.com

President Barack Obama signed a landmark health care reform bill into law on March 23. “We have now just enshrined the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health,” Obama said at the White House signing ceremony. The controversial bill represents more than a year of debates and the biggest shift in U.S. domestic policy since the 1960s. The Senate-approved health care bill passed in the House by a vote of 219-212 on March 21. A second bill, known as a reconciliation bill, passed 220-211. Republicans did not vote for either bill. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), who grew up in a smallbusiness family and has dealt with the lack of health insurance firsthand, voted in favor of the bill. Kaptur said the bill is important because it brings competition into the market and provides insurance for 32 million uninsured Americans. “We hope the exchange will provide more choices. If you believe in the marketplace and true competition, then people will save money on insurance plans as more people belonging to them,” she said. “The bill reforms the marketplace giving consumers more choices for affordable health insurance.” The reform will help more than 8,700 residents with pre-existing conditions in Kaptur’s district, as well as more than 32,500 individuals whose COBRA insurance has run out, she said. Approximately 1,200 seniors will benefit from the closing of the “doughnut hole” in prescription drug coverage, 46,000 families will benefit from reform that allows children to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26 and 167,000 families will be eligible for income rebates, she said. Additionally, 12,400 small businesses in the district will benefit from the insurance tax credit, which

Photo courtesy the white house

Kaptur, Latta discuss aftermath of health care bill

n

marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), third from left, witnessed President Obama sign a March 24 executive order against using taxpayer funds for abortion.

starting in 2010, is a tax credit of 35 percent the cost of insurance and will continue to increase. Kaptur said more information needs to get out about the bill because people are assuming information about the reforms that are often not true. “For the most part people need to look at their own situation, know the specifics and how this compares to what they already have,” Kaptur said. “If they like what they have, they can keep it.”

‘Jobs killer’

Congressman Bob Latta (RBowling Green) said he voted against the health care reform bill because it’s a jobs killer, it doesn’t address the

problem and it’s not financially viable. Latta said health care reform is needed in the country but the bill that passed on March 21 is not it. He believes the reform should have been passed as a few bills rather than one big one so the American people could understand what they were getting. Latta claims the is bill full of backdoor deals and goodies, including the “Cornhusker kick back.” “If the bill is so good, why do you have to bribe people for it?” he said. The reform’s $938 billion price tag is something Americans cannot afford with rising national debt, he said. Americans will see an increase in their taxes to pay for the reform, which they

will be paying for four years before they really see anything, he said. “How are we going to pay for this? By wiping people on the tax side. Why be an entrepreneur if all your money is going to taxes,” Latta said. Fees for businesses are disincentives for businesses to grow, and will hurt businesses, Latta said. The bill also fails to address the doctor fix, addressing the lack of money doctors receive from Medicare for their services. Latta believes the next step is challenging the bill’s constitutionality, as 13 states have done. “The question becomes can you mandate that Americans have to do something,” he said.

Abortions

Kaptur, considered a key holdout on the bill because of the issue of abortion language, was surprised at the emphasis the media put on the matter. “There were many issues that were vital, but [federally funded abortions] was the only one remaining that was unresolved,” she said. With Obama promising to issue an executive order against federally funded abortions, Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Kaptur and others voted for the bill. Latta, and other abortion opponents, believe the president’s executive order will do nothing to prevent the federal funding of abortions. n HEALTH CARE CONTINUES ON A8


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A8 n Toledo Free Press n HEALTH CARE CONTINUED FROM A6 “[The executive order] is not worth the ink it’s written with,” he said. When Obama signed the executive order stating the administration would not allow federally funded abortions on March 24, Kaptur was in attendance.

Local hospitals

Local health systems are examining how the health care will affect them. “This historic vote will significantly impact health care. It is a complex bill, and at this time, ProMedica Health System is analyzing each section of the legislation to determine how it will impact the people and communities we serve,” said a statement from ProMedica. Mercy is encouraged the bill and executive order will cover 32 million of the 47 million Americans without health coverage and ensure no governmental funding will be used to fund abortions. “Mercy believes that the health care reform bill passed by the House in Washington D.C., while not perfect, represents an important first step in helping ensure that all Americans have access to quality health care,” Mercy said in a statement. “We say this is an important

March 28, 2010

first step, because companies are Mercy believes forbidden to place much work relifetime dollar mains to be done limits on policies on reforming the or deny coverage reimbursement because of pre-exmodel in order to isting conditions. incentivize hospin Parents with tals that are conolder children sistently providing will be able to high quality care at keep their child the greatest value on their plan until to payers. We are the age 26. disappointed that n A new highlawmakers didn’t risk pool will offer seize this historic coverage to uninopportunity to sured individuals align payment inuntil 2014 when centives, and we’ll coverage expancontinue to lead by sion takes place. example and advon In 2014 cate for aligned safeguards will be KAPTUR LATTA incentives so that implemented to we can control the growing costs of to tour area hospitals to see how the protect individuals who have medical reimbursement rates affect them. health care.” problems from insurance companies Kaptur, who said she recognizes charging more. the disproportionate reimbursement Bill breakdown n Federal-state Medicaid insurrates for Medicare and Medicaid n 32 million uninsured Ameri- ance program would cover people across the country, fought for language cans, 94 percent of Americans will with incomes up to 133 percent the in the bill that would allow the rate of have coverage. federal poverty level ( $29,327 for a reimbursement to be reexamined in n Effective in 2014 an insurance family of four). coming years, she said. The congress- mandate requires everyone to be inn The bill applies an increased woman has arranged for Kathleen sured or pay a fine with an exemption Medicare payroll tax to the investSebelius, the secretary of the Depart- for low-income people. ment income and wages of individuals ment of Health and Human Service, n Starting in 2010, insurance making more than $200,000, or mar-

ried couples above $250,000, to make up for the loss of revenue. n Starting in October, the plan begins to close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription coverage, providing seniors a $250 rebate. In 2011, seniors will receive a discount on brand-name drugs starting at 50 percent off. When the gap is closed in 2020, seniors will be responsible for just 25 percent of their medication costs. n In 2014, small businesses, selfemployed and uninsured to pick a plan through government-regulated exchanges. The exchanges offer employees the same kind of purchasing power big companies benefit from. n Employers are hit with a $2,000-per-employee fee if the government subsidizes workers’ coverage. Businesses with less than 50 employees are exempt from this requirement. n There are no government run insurance plans, but people purchasing coverage through exchanges have the option to sign up for national plans available to members of Congress. The reconciliation bill, Housepassed revisions of the health care reform, will be debated by the Senate before it goes to vote. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Kaptur, Latta discuss aftermath of health care bill