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What You Need To Know About Health Care Reform

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What Obamacare really means for you and your granny

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The scariest thing about the health care reform bill is not the vision of granny-killers roaming hospital corridors. It's the fact that few rational people seem to grasp how it really may change our lives. The facts have gotten lost somewhere between the howls of protesters and the sputters of proponents.

So, here's a summary of how the bill will affect you and yours, shorn of rhetoric and government-speak.

First, none of this is a done deal. When our elected representatives return in September from hair-raising experiences in town halls across America, the Congress will work out a final bill based on several versions now floating around. Then it will go to President Barack Obama for his signature.

One thing is certain: the granny-killers are out of the picture. That incendiary rumor grew out of a minor little item that would have reimbursed doctors for having a chat with patients about the wisdom of making their own end-of-life decisions while they are still capable. Some harried clerk is deleting that bit as we speak.

One other thing is certain: few hard numbers are available now. How much will your premium be for "affordable" health care? How much will this bill cost the taxpayer? How much really can be saved by eliminating fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid? All this and much more is TBD.

And one more thing: none of this happens overnight. The changes kick in over time, with some not popping up until 2013.
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