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Transcript from Land Line Now, Nov. 25, 2009

Editor’s note: At the request of a number of OOIDA members, we are publishing a transcript of my conversation with Melissa regarding the health care reform debate currently under way in Congress. A few quick notes: We initially covered the health care reform topic in response to member requests – truckers who wanted to know some specifics about how the bill could affect small businesses. Essentially, it was same situation that has led us to offer you this transcript. We should make clear at this time, that this information was up-to-date as of the day it aired on Land Line Now. However, as Melissa notes in our conversation below, this bill is changing as we speak, and the final version has yet to be written. In fact, new information is already available regarding some of the specific areas Melissa discussed, such as the effect on small businesses, and amendments to the Senate version are being made … and rejected. That being said, per member requests, here is my conversation with Melissa Theriault Rohan from Nov. 25, 2009.
MARK REDDIG: Land Line Now thanks for joining us today. There’s a bill out there that could have a huge impact on every trucking business. And it’s one that we haven’t covered much. It’s the health care bill – or more precisely bills, since there are at least two versions still out there. OOIDA hasn’t taken an official stand on this, and we haven’t covered it much on the show because this is not a trucking- or transportation-specific measure. But because any business small or large could see their operations change under this plan, we think we really need to provide you with some insight into what’s happening. Here to discuss what you need to know is Melissa Theriault Rohan of OOIDA Washington, DC, office. Melissa how are you doing’ MELISSA THERIAULT ROHAN: I’m doing real well; thanks for having me on. MARK REDDIG: Well, glad to have you here. Let’s start with going over what the House bill calls for that truckers need to know. And in this case, I want to start with, what are the basics as far as how this applies to individuals, and how it would affect individual people’ MELISSA THERIAULT ROHAN: If you do not have an insurance provided by an employer, then you would be required as an individual to purchase insurance or pay a penalty of 2.5 percent of your income, up to the cost of the average national plan under the exchange. MARK REDDIG: Now you mention exchange; what do we mean by the exchange’ MELISSA THERIAULT ROHAN: The administration would be required to establish as part of the administration an insurance marketplace that they’re calling the exchange. And this is where people without access to affordable coverage through an employer could purchase comprehensive plans. Basically this is the public option. MARK REDDIG: Now through the exchanges, wouldn’t you also be able to purchase other private plans that would be thrown into the exchange MELISSA THERIAULT ROHAN: Yes, at this point, with the House version, that is true. MARK REDDIG: Now ah what about folks that don’t really make enough to actually afford to buy insurance at the prices that it’s offered at today. Is there some provision in there to help them out or to deal with that’ MELISSA THERIAULT ROHAN: There are a couple of things. First off, they would be expanding the Medicaid program under the House version to 150 percent of the federal poverty level which is $33,000 for a family of four. So if your family or if you made $33,000 or less, then you would be eligible for the Medicaid program, and it would kick in for you. Now, if you make above that $33,000 for a family of four up to $88,000, then if yo

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