10/23/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Get Real About Health Reform

Seems like everybody is talkin' 'bout the problems with health reform (just "seems" like it, really, most people really do want health reform). But how many of the naysayers really know how the proposed reforms would affect their lives and their small businesses (if they have them)? Seems like an obvious question to answer before flying off the handle with anger and fear, but that's just me. Still, if we can make sure everyone has the facts straight, this debate would be a whole lot more useful than the craziness we have now.

In the interest of making health reform personal and real in everyday language, as opposed to 1300 pages of legalese, the Center for American Progress released a couple really useful interactives that explain clearly what reform will do, along with a video explaining the Health Exchange.

The first interactive is Health Care Reform and You. Just check off:

  • The type of insurance you have now (even if you already have government insurance from Meidcare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, or the Armed Services or if you have no insurance now -- nearly half the population)
  • How large your household is (do you have uninsured or underinsured children, or are you caring for live-in parents)
  • How much money you earn (big ranges, so you don't have to give up personal information)
  • Whether or not you have a pre-existing health condition (which would lock you into your job or make you ineligible for insurance)

and it will tell you what specific impact health reform will have on you.

The second interactive calculates the credit your small business will get with the proposed health reforms. Just enter the number of employees you have, their average annual compensation, and the qualified employee health coverage expenses.

And to wrap up the package, there is a nice video explaining how the Health Exchange works.

So, next time someone starts telling you what is wrong with health reform, show them these. Then have your conversation with them. Nothing like an informed policy debate, eh?