What the Healthcare Reform Bill Means for You
By Bob Woods
Since President Barack Obama signed into law the comprehensive healthcare reform bill approved by Congress in late March, Americans have been busy figuring out just what it means for them. Regardless of where you stand in the national debate over the various components of the new law — which ultimately will expand medical coverage to 32 million legal residents currently uninsured — it's likely to affect your healthcare in the near and long term.
People with diabetes – children and adults, type 1s and type 2s, insured and uninsured – should especially be aware of what will change, as well as what will stay the same, in the months and years ahead. "The enactment of healthcare reform is a cause for celebration for the 23.6 million American children and adults who are living with diabetes," said Nash Childs, PE, Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association, after President Obama signed the final portion of the $940-billion reform bill into law on March 30. "With the passage of health reform, ‘just because you have diabetes' will no longer be a lawful excuse to deny coverage, to charge exorbitant rates, or to take away care just when a person with diabetes needs it most," commented Childs, adding that the 57 million Americans with pre-diabetes also stand to benefit.
While the biggest changes won't go into effect until 2014, a number of important measures will begin as early as June. Following are the major provisions and how some may impact people with diabetes:
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Under New Jersey's sanitation laws, syringe needles (sharps) need to be treated as hazardous biological waste. Lancets, like the straight pins and needles we use for garment sewing, do not. Still, the potential for secondary damage (to bathroom attendants, cleaning personnel, and sanitation workers) from these small sharps is non-neglible. While there's no "prick-safe" method of disposing of the needles I break sewing an average costume, standard lancets...