Added 3/23: Christian Science Monitor Interactive Tool: Health Care Reform Bill 101.
The Consumer's Guide to Health Reform is a great tool to see exactly how your family should benefit from the bill.
Also, the NY Times has a great interactive tool covering different scenarios.
Here's how it will (hopefully) affect our little family:
Mr. Stang has been denied coverage entirely on the private market due to existing health issues. To cover him and the Monkey on my employer's group plan as dependents would have cost us 13.5% of my gross wages last year - just for premiums. Add our $500 deductible per individual, office copays ($30-$40 each visit) and 20% co-insurance we would have spent close to 25% of my gross income on health care costs. And even then, it's entirely probably that due to his gap in coverage they would have denied him any actual claims made after happily taking our hard-earned money in premiums.
With the reform, we will at least be able to get coverage for him on the market. And he may qualify for the temporary high-risk pool that will be established within 90 days. If they charge us an arm & a leg for the privilege (bad pun, I know) our out of pocket expenses (including premiums, I believe?) we will be eligible for subsidies which will limit our total out of pocket expenses to probably 9.5%.
So health insurance of any kind = great.
Lowering our costs from 25% to 9.5% ??? Fantastic.
Unless any extra taxes I may pay will exceed 15.5% of my income (the difference) we're still WAY ahead, and I'm happy to pay them. And cover all my hard-working friends, family and fellow citizens and legal residents who are in the same leaking/sinking boat at the same time.
I know this is a huge undertaking and scares the shit out of many folks who, due to their being current or ex-military/ or government employees, or current Medicare recipients (or both) have been lucky enough not to be in that boat, treading water at the complete mercy of insurance company sharks. Or they're retired and were lucky enough (or in a union) to have had their financial/insurance "boats" built 20-30 years ago when they were forged in of quality materials, by not-quite-so-assholish Wall St. execs (in an age when the Democratic administrations did their jobs and REGULATED the insurance & financial inustries...).
It doesn't help that all the talking heads are boosting their own ratings (and salaries) by ruthlessly feeding that fear, trying to convince those folks that it's every man/woman/child for themselves. Instead of doing the humane, rational thing which is, throw those of us who are struggling a freaking life preserver (we don't want a damned yacht) and help SHOOT THE SHARKS until we can rebuild pathetic little plywood rafts to save our own asses.