Why a health care reform is needed
No other developed country spends more on health care and this is almost double the average health care cost in all developed countries. And yet the coverage in America is worse than in most of these countries. In the last 9 years, the health care costs in America doubled, which is a rate three times higher than the increase of average wages. This leaves Americans nowadays spending more for health care than for food or housing, and many families face difficult decisions about whether to spend money on food or rent or on health care.
The growing health care costs also represents an increasing burden on the national economy and the ability of the United States to stay competitive in a global economy. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, if the health care costs continue to rise at the same rate that they have been over the past years, by 2025 one in every four dollars of our national economy will be unavailable for other things than health care costs. This growing burden will limit the money flow that enables investments in new technologies, which always has been one of the major driving forces of the American economy. It will also make it harder and harder for America to compete with other countries that have dramatically lower health care costs.
The President's Proposal for Health Care Reform
If President Obama’s proposal for health care reform becomes law, it will extend coverage to millions of Americans who are currently denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, who lost coverage when they lost their job, or who can’t afford health care. This will have many benefits for all Americans, even those who are currently covered and are content with their coverage.
While the implementation of the reform is estimated to cost the government $940 billion in its first 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office also estimates that it will save a large amount of money compared to current spending and reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion during the first 10 years and by more than $1 trillion in the following ten years.
The bill is designed to not only help the currently un- or underinsured, but all Americans. It will directly help all Americans as it will require insurance companies to provide coverage for everyone, independent from pre-existing conditions. It will restrict the use of yearly limits, and prohibit lifetime limits on coverage. It will also prohibit insurance companies from arbitrarily dropping coverage for anybody.
Regular preventive care can reduce long-term health costs, as it enables treatment for diseases, when they are less advanced and therefore easier and cheaper to treat. Obama’s health reform proposal contains measures that would allow more preventive care for everyone, which will reduce the health care costs in the long run. It will enable small business to provide affordable health coverage for their employees by providing a tax credit for the businesses. Seniors who currently spend a lot of money for prescriptions drugs due to a coverage gap in the Medicare Part D plan (the “doughnut hole”), will also benefit from the plan.
Currently, health care providers supply a large amount of, mainly very expensive emergency, care that is not reimbursed for, as the patient receiving the care, is not insured and can’t afford to pay. These unreimbursed care costs are at least in part subsidized by the states governments and strain their budgets. Another proportion of these costs is passed on to the paying patients, increasing the costs for care and health insurance premiums. This “hidden tax” will be reduced by the health care reform bill, as it will provide coverage for everyone and thus reduce unreimbursed care immediately. This will also benefit states’ budgets, as they will no longer be required to subsidize unreimbursed health care.
Obama Administration to revive the Health Care Reform?
What has the Obama Administration done so far to revive the Health Care Reform and what are the current steps of the Obama
During the past year, President Obama has signed a bill that provides health care to 11 million children of whom 4 million did not have prior coverage. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides COBRA coverage for 7 million Americans who lost their jobs. It also invests millions of dollars for computerization of medical records, preventative and wellness treatments, training for healthcare workers and $1.1 billion for medical research.
The President, the Senate, and the House have worked hard on a bill to provide health insurance coverage for everyone. The president addressed the House and the Senate in a joint session of Congress on 09/11/2009 to explain the principles of his plan. In December 2009 the Senate passed the health care bill with a 40-60 vote. The house however, is scheduled to vote on Sunday, March 21, 2010. President Obama has postponed a visit to several Asian countries until June to be able to be in Washington during March and show support for his health care proposal. During the last few days he has been talking to House Democrats who are saying that they are still undecided about the vote to gather additional support. The Republican leaders maintain the bill will mean higher taxes and governmental involvement in health care decisions that should be left for the individual to decide. The President has pressed hard to increase public support for the bill and has participated in several rallies to increase the knowledge of the general public about the bill in the face of staunch resistance by the House Republicans.