In my last post, I said that I was in favor of the health care bill. Last night the health care bill was passed by the House of Representatives, and at this moment it looks like it's a done deal. I say it that way because word is that Senate Republicans area ready to introduce a litany of challenges to the bill to try to keep it from being implemented.

I'm not going into all of that. I'm here to ask and answer the next question; now what?

Now what? Nothing, that's now what. If this bill goes into effect, it won't go into effect for another 3 to 4 years, which means there won't be any immediate changes that any of us will notice.

Well, that's not quite true. If we can learn anything from the banks as it pertains to credit cards those of us who have health insurance coverage now can expect premiums to go up drastically, probably more than the 39% that Wellspring has increased their rates in California recently. For some reason, they're going to see this as a major challenge to how they've been doing business, and truthfully it's not.

Companies with more than 50 employees won't qualify for the federal plan, so the insurance companies will have all those folks. That's the majority of people they cover now. There are group plans for small business owners from most chambers of commerce throughout the United States, and those people might find that a federal plan is better, but we don't really know yet.

Right now, there are still two groups that I feel aren't being treated fairly. One is the middle class, who are going to be the people who have to pay for health care that they don't presently have. The other are construction companies, who, instead of the 50 employees, have to provide health insurance for their employees if they have 5 or more employees, the only industry where the rules are different. I've never had a problem with the states deciding that construction companies have to handle worker's compensation differently, because construction can be dangerous, and compensation is expensive for the states, but otherwise I don't think it's fair for the federal plan to single them out.

What about how it's going to change medical billing? Overall, it's not going to change things all that much. Claims will be billed like they've always been billed, probably more along the lines of how Medicare is billed now. At least those of us in medical billing can hope for that, because if it ends up being like Tricare, we're in trouble.

But for now, truthfully, I'm not going to worry about it one way or another. And I still stick with my premise that health care reform overall will end up being a good thing for this country, just like the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, Social Security, and Medicare; people hated those also, and look where we are now.