The feeling hasn't worn off yet. It truly feels like a brand new world.
I was up late -- then up again early -- devouring the news and analysis, and one thing is clear. There's no going back. As GOP talking head David Frum put it:
No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?
Also, with all the goodies rolling out this year, including ending denial to children with pre-existing conditions, rebates to seniors to start filling the donut hole, extending coverage of millions of young adults under their parents' plans, it seems there's a good chance more people might start to wake up and realize this bill isn't the bogeyman it's portrayed to be. And perhaps the Dems' losses won't be so bad in November (especially if the economy continues to improve).
Getting back to ME, though, I was slightly in error yesterday. The rule preventing insurers from denying adults coverage based on pre-existing conditions doesn't go into effect until 2014. There apparently is going to be a temporary "high risk" insurance pool for people with pre-existing conditions. But you have to go six months without insurance to be eligible.
Hell, I don't even know if I actually have pre-existing conditions. At one time they called my allergies a pre-existing condition. They didn't deny me insurance, but they did deny coverage of allergy-related issues for the first year. I imagine the definitions are up to the insurance companies. And they might actually have incentives for not labeling something a pre-existing condition -- who knows.
I guess I'll find out. Also it seems I wouldn't be eligible for much in the way of subsidies. It looks like people like me could be paying up to 8 or 10% of our income for insurance, which seems pretty damned high to me. (Which is why we need a public option, but that's a subject for another generation or two's time.)
But again, it's not all about me. This is unquestionably a good thing, in many, many ways. I think it's gonna be a good, good year.