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Bringing the Benefits of Health Care Reform Home 

Some of the Tea Party troops were outside Rep. Greg Walden’s Bend office Monday afternoon to register their opposition to health care reform, marching around and holding up signs saying things like “No Socialism!” and “Obama = Tyranny.”

I wondered what, if anything, the marchers actually know about the legislation they’re in such a lather over. One thing I bet they don’t know – because Glenn Beck and the rest of the Fox News crew would never tell them – is what the reform would do for them and other people in Walden’s congressional district.

It just so happens that the House Energy and Commerce Committee has put out a report breaking down the benefits of the bill for every congressional district in the country. According to the committee’s figures, in Oregon’s District 2 the measure would:

  • Improve coverage for 417,000 residents who now have health insurance.
  • Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 217,000 families and 22,100 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
  • Improve Medicare for 142,000 beneficiaries, including closing the “donut hole” – the coverage gap between when a recipient reaches the basic prescription drug limit and when drug expenses become so heavy that catastrophic coverage kicks in.
  • Extend coverage to 100,000 uninsured residents.
  • Guarantee that 17,800 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Protect 1,400 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
  • Allow 57,000 young adults (up to age 26) to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.
  • Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 39 community health centers.
  • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $83 million annually.

Besides ticking off the benefits, the congressional report gives the larger picture of what the reform legislation will do and how it will do it. If you want to get the facts for yourself instead of just accepting what the right-wing screamers on radio and TV tell you, you might want to check it out.

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