Until now, designing benefits has been the job of insurers, employers and state officials. But the new health care law requires insurance companies to provide at least the federally approved package if they want to sell to small businesses, families and individuals through new state markets set to open in 2014.
Most existing workplace plans won’t be required to adopt the federal model, but employers and consumer advocates alike predict it will become the nation’s benchmark for health insurance over time.
With the nation divided over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, and Republicans condemning it as a government takeover, the administration reacted cautiously to the recommendations.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement that officials would hold “listening sessions” around the country before any final decisions are made, which could take months. The IOM panel recommended an extensive effort to engage the public.
“Before we put forward a proposal, it is critical that we hear from the American people,” Sebelius said. The law extends coverage to about 30 million uninsured people.
Why start now? You heard from the American people when you and your party passed ObamaCare over our objections. You heard from us again in the 2010 mid-terms which swept Democrats from power in the House and in state legislatures all over the country.
And you will hear from the American people again in 2012. Count on it.