Now that it's passed and signed, RealAge's Dr. Michael Roizen investigates the pros and cons of the healthcare reform law of 2010.
Congress voted for it, the president signed it, yet opponents of healthcare reform have kept on shouting. By early April, 18 states had jumped on the anti-reform bandwagon, joining a lawsuit claiming the bill is unconstitutional. Gloom-and-doom prophets are still warning about rationed care, assembly-line medicine and long delays when you need treatment. There's been much noise about socialized medicine and states' rights too.
Meanwhile, supporters are constantly bringing up the important insurance reforms (especially for those with pre-existing conditions) and reductions in Medicare costs. Everyone's worked up about tax increases to pay for it.
But amid the shouting, are you hearing much about health? We didn't think so. The way we see it, real healthcare reform begins with fixing the core problems responsible for our costly and overburdened system. You don't have to read a 1,000-page law to know that we're paying for treating diseases rather than preventing them. That's why we've got more of a sickness-care system than a healthcare system. At least 70 percent of our healthcare spending goes to preventable diseases—you know, the ones caused by smoking, excessive weight, inactivity, poor diets and stress. Together, tobacco and obesity kill 835,000 people a year.
So will the law be as terrible as the naysayers claim? Actually, we saw some glimmers of hope in it. Among the items worth applauding: