Health care history was made this week and a big abortion brouhaha followed, but a lot of us are still scratching our heads, wondering what this bill means in concrete terms. Here, a run-down of the facts especially applicable to women in plain black and white.
- The big idea: the passed health care bill will extend insurance to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured, including 17 million uninsured women. How will this happen? By adding people to Medicaid, extending insurance premium subsidies for low and middle class families, penalizing employers for not offering health care, and creating state-run insurance exchanges where people not covered by one of the initiatives above can shop for competitively priced private plans.
- Starting in 2014, Americans who do not obtain health insurance - whether through an employer, a government program or their own purchase - must pay a fine starting at $95 or 1 percent of income the first year and rising to to $695 or 2 percent of income