Health Care

Health Care Legislation: A Timeline

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Once President Obama signs the health care bill into law, it won't be long before some of its provisions take effect. Robert Siegel and Melissa Block run through the timeline laid out in the bill, starting with what supporters call the "early deliverables" — the provisions that will take effect this year, through the final goal of providing health care to 32 million uninsured Americans by 2019.


Once President Obama signs the health-care bill into law, it won't be long before some of its provisions take effect.


Let's start with what supporters call the early deliverables. Within 90 days, people who lack health insurance because of pre-existing conditions will qualify for coverage in a high-risk pool. Within six months, insurance companies will be barred from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. They will also be barred from imposing lifetime caps on coverage, and from dropping people from their health plans once they get sick.

SIEGEL: Turning now to provisions that will help pay for this bill, next year, 2011, drug makers will begin paying fees on the sale of brand-name drugs to the government. And in 2013, new Medicare taxes will be introduced. They'll affect the investment income of individuals earning more than $200,000 a year, and couples earning more than $250,000 a year.

BLOCK: In the year 2014, most people will be required to have health insurance. Medicaid will also expand to cover more Americans. Insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage to anyone with pre-existing conditions. And health-care exchanges will begin, providing a place to shop for health insurance to people who don't get coverage through work.

SIEGEL: On the far end of the timeline, 2018 is the year when the so-called Cadillac insurance plans come under a 40 percent excise tax. And by 2019, if all goes according to plan, the bill's final goal will be reached: health-care coverage for 32 million uninsured Americans.

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