Health care issue ads bombard the airwaves - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Health care issue ads bombard the airwaves

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Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - President Obama rallied supporters of his health care bill in Fairfax, Virginia on Friday. A vote could come this weekend, and the campaign is in your home every day.

The health care debate has certainly dominated discussions this week. There have been demonstrations in favor of health care reform and demonstrations from those opposed to the bill.

The people showing up at rallies have made up their minds about the bill. What if you haven't? What if you are sitting at home and you are undecided? Then that animosity that you see on the street comes at you in the form of television advertising.

Those opposed call the proposal a disaster. Those in favor say they are just trying to set the record straight about allegations concerning federal abortion funding. One ad sponsored by Catholics United say the proposal is pro-life.

"If you consider the alternative, look at how many more abortions we will have if we don't have health care. Look at how many more people will die precisely because they don't have health care because they don't have health insurance," said Jay Carrigan, Catholics United.

The current bill would prohibit use of federal money for abortions, except as allowed by current law - in cases of rape or incest or if the life of a pregnant woman was in danger.

But those for whom the ads are intended are having a tough time sorting it all out.

"Too confusing. Don't get to the point. They are not short and concise," said Cindy Templin.

"Don't know what they are trying to tell me. Too many pros. Too many cons. I don't know where it all starts, where it all begins. It's a big convoluted mess," said Chris Bauman.

"They seem very drastic and sort of dramatic really so no, not help," said Melvia Evans.

This is not a normal Washington debate. This one is personal.

"This is a very rare occasion where you have a national issue that has real local implications. It's a highly emotional issue," said Dan McQuiston, Butler University.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the reconciliation proposal, in combination with the effects of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as passed by the Senate, would reduce federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over the 2010-2019 period. (Read more)

What does the bill do?

The New York Times has compiled a list of changes to the final health care bill. Here are highlights:

If passed, the bill would require that most Americans have a minimum level of health insurance or else pay a fine. That would start in 2014. The government would provide tax credits to low- and middle-income people to help them buy insurance through the exchange.

The bill does not explicitly require employers to offer coverage. Starting in 2014, it would penalize some employers if low- and middle-income workers use federal subsidies to buy insurance.

Starting in 2010, the bill would provide tax credits to small businesses that want to offer coverage, and would subsidize employer plans that cover early retirees ages 55 to 64.

The bill also seeks to create health insurance marketplaces, where individuals and employers can shop for insurance and compare prices and benefits, by 2014. It would not create a new government insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

Starting in 2014, it would expand Medicaid to cover millions of additional people, including parents and childless adults who are not eligible under current rules and would seek to close a gap in Medicare coverage of prescription drugs by 2020.

The bill would require insurance plans to offer a minimum package of health insurance benefits, to be defined by the federal government, and would prohibit insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums because of a person's medical history or health condition.

Within six months, it would require health plans, including employer-sponsored plans, to cover children of policyholders up to a certain age.

Starting in 2011, it would establish a voluntary federal program to provide long-term care insurance and cash benefits to people with severe disabilities.

Opponents object to the idea of requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance. They also contend it would result in higher taxes, and force people to give up their current insurance. They oppose what they call a government takeover of health care.

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