You want answers? We have answers!

Maybe because it’s a slow news time, but there’s two excellent Q&A articles that help explain the health care reform proposal now pending in the Senate. In the next year, it will be essential for the news media to continue to provide factual descriptions of the plan, racing than just the political jockeying of the moment, which may be newsworthy, but may miss the point.

FOR CONSUMERS:
Timm Herdt at the Ventura County Star does an admirable job of explaining the proposal in plain English, answering the questions of an average Joe–especially those that have insurance, and wonder if there will be any impact on him.

He does spotlight a benefit that many miss: That all workers will be able to pay for their premiums or share-of-premiums with pre-tax dollars. By requiring all employers to offer so-called “Section 125” plans, workers up and down the income scale would be eligible to get a 15-40% discount on premiums. “Thus, workers who pay $2,000 a year in premiums would pay from $300 to $600 less in federal income taxes, depending on their tax brackets.”

That’s not a small sales pitch to the insured voter, along with the potential cost containment provisions, the improvement of the health system in general by getting federal matching funds and the renewed focus on prevention. And the security of knowing that if they change jobs or otherwise experience a change in life circumstance, that coverage will be available and affordable.

FOR BUSINESSES:
Ilana Debare at the San Francisco Chronicle has a short and simple explanation of the health plan for businesses–which should help allay the fears of small business, especially, that the proposal is more of a benefit than a burden for them.

In a related article, one big business leader, Chris Lischewski, the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, based in San Diego County, has a supportive editorial in the North County Times. His company is a member of the Safeway-led Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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