Health Care Reform Week - As the progressives in Congress try to overcome the obstacles of the Blue Dogs, Republicans and insurance industry, we wanted to add our community's voice to the debate. All this week, we'll be featuring stories and perspectives on health care reform in addition to our regular posts. Please feel free to add your posts and comments.
With all the talk about Obama’s Health Care plan in the news lately, I’m still surprised that the nobody in the media talks about the actual plan - they just talk about the endless fighting that’s going on between politicians over the plan. So to inform the public, I’d thought I’d summarize the actual plan that’s being debated about, and the arguments for and against then plan.
First, why have heath care reform?
- Everybody agrees our health care system is broken.
- The U.S. has a complicated health care system of insurance, doctors, and patients. If you go to the doctor in America, you have to pay the doctor, the insurance company, and fight about who pays who and how much.
- American has the most expensive health care system in the world, yet ranks 37 in the world in health care performance and 72 in world in overall level of national health. (World Health Organization, 2000)
- Health care costs are rising three times the rate of wages, so people are unable to keep up with the cost of keeping healthy.
- The U.S. does not have universal health care, so people who can not afford insurance can not go to a doctor because they can’t afford it.
- The health insurance industry needs serious reform. Health insurance is a business in the U.S., so companies will raise prices on people who are expensive to insure and kick people off health insurance rolls if they become to expensive too keep healthy.
Obama's Health Care Plan Summarized
- Cover all Americans with health insurance by requiring employers to provide health insurance to their employees. Mandating all children have health insurance.
- Allow workers to keep their employer-provided health insurance if they lose their job (or in between jobs).
- Outlaw the practice of insurance companies rejecting people because of pre-existing health conditions. And make insurance premiums the same for everybody regardless of health status.
- Provide a one-stop marketplace, called National Health Insurance Exchange, for customers to compare and shop for insurance plans.
- Have a government run “public” health insurance option to provide low-cost, affordable health insurance for everybody, spur competition.
- Read the full plan here: http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf
Arguments in favor of Obama’s Health Care Plan
- 46 millions of Americans, or 18% of the population under 65, are currently without health insurance and can not afford to see a doctor. The plan will insure almost all Americans.
- Health care costs will rise if we do nothing, putting health insurance out of reach for more and more Americans. The plan will bring down health care costs.
- Health care needs reform. This is the closest we’ve ever been to reforming health care in America.
Argument opposing Obama’s Health Care Plan
- It’s expensive. No one knows the true cost of a government-run health care plan. The costs will add to the deficit.
- Paying for the plan will include a tax increase on wealthy Americans (making anywhere from $350k-$1m + a year). Wealthy Americans will have to pay more taxes.
- Having a government-run health care plan can be a precursor to government taking over the entire health care system - limiting consumer choice in health care.
This a summary of the FACTS in Obama’s health care plan, not a debate about what I believe or my personal opinions on the plan. I hope you have become more informed about what the current fight over health care reform is all about.