What does healthcare bill mean for you? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

What does healthcare bill mean for you?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Now that the health care reform bill has passed, what does it mean for you, your health care coverage and those that provide patient care? A lot of that is still unclear, and won't be known until the bill rolls out, parts of which won't take effect for several years.

As expected, there are mixed emotions. It's no secret that Albany lies in the middle of a poverty stricken region, and this bill could provide many uninsured with health care coverage. But there are also questions about how this bill will be paid for.

To say Eddie Hall is upset about the bill that passed Sunday is an understatement.  He said, "It's going to be the worst thing this country's ever done."

Hall says government takeover is not going to solve the healthcare problem. "Every program the government has handled is bankrupt. The post office is bankrupt. Social security is bankrupt and probably won't be there when I get ready for it."

Hall says allowing people with pre-existing conditions to have access to healthcare sounds nice, but may end up with extraordinary costs.  He said, "The day they can buy coverage and go in the next day and have the procedure done is going to run the cost out of the ceiling."

Even those who are supportive of the bill agree there are uncertainties.  Dr. Babafemi Elufiede said, "The draw back is we don't know what lies tomorrow. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. We don't know whether or not it's going to cost more money."

But what is known, is that those without coverage will now have the ability to get insurance. Dr. Elufiede said, "The good part of it is that there will be coverage for everybody, which means no one will be out of any insurance to go see a doctor."

Joel Wernick is the CEO of Phoebe Putney hospital. He says he believes the best of intentions were meant when the bill was drawn and that it will do good.  Wernick said, "To the extent that this bill intercedes on behalf of people with modest means and improves their access to healthcare, then it should be a very positive thing."

But again, it's the fear of the unknown that leads to concerns. "What I'm really unable to discern myself is all of the other consequences that go along with it."

And Wernick says it may not do enough to address the crux of the problem, the costs involved with providing health care coverage. Wernick says more can be done to streamline healthcare and reduce costs.

President Obama plans to sign the bill into law tomorrow, but not without a challenge. At least 10 states are planning to file lawsuits claiming the plan is unaffordable and violates the constitution.

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