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May 17, 2008
Obama's health plan
Now that Hillary is fading fast in Obama's rear view mirror we should take a look at some of his proposals for America. Let's start with health care. Here are his words on the subject from one of his speeches:
“We now face an opportunity — and an obligation — to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday's health care debates… My plan begins by covering every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.”It's a very ambitious plan and it's not free health care as some believe. If you have insurance already you will continue to pay your premiums. He does promise to lower your premiums, I'm not quite sure how he intends to do this. Here are some of the features of his plan:
1. It covers every American.
2. If you already have Insurance your premiums will be lower.
3. He will offer a plan similar to the one Congress has to all Americans.
(You will have to pay premiums for this plan)
4. No American will be turned away from any insurance plan because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
5. Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but still need financial assistance will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan.
6. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.
7. It will require that all children have health care coverage.
8. It will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs.
Of course there is a lot more to it than what I've listed here, you can see the whole plan here:
Every one of those 8 items listed above is going to cost a lot of money, what it all boils down to is, If you are a middle income American you will still have to pay Insurance premiums. And it's possible he might lower your premiums a little. But your taxes are going to go up. Someone is going to have to pay for subsidies, expanded eligibility for Medicaid and SCHIP and to insure the 45 million that are now uninsured and I wonder does that 45 million include illegal aliens?
However, Obama says he can lower costs by modernizing the U.S. Health Care System. Let's take a look at how he plans to do that. Here are three paragraphs taken from his web page on that subject, let's analyze these:
Require full transparency about quality and costs. Obama will require hospitals and providers to collect and publicly report measures of health care costs and quality, including data on preventable medical errors, nurse staffing ratios, hospital-acquired infections, and disparities in care. Health plans will also be required to disclose the percentage of premiums that go to patient care as opposed to administrative costs.Just what hospitals need more paperwork, think this will lower costs?
Tackle disparities in health care. Obama will tackle the root causes of health disparities by addressing differences in access to health coverage and promoting prevention and public health, both of which play a major role in addressing disparities. He will also challenge the medical system to eliminate inequities in health care through quality measurement and reporting, implementation of effective interventions such as patient navigation programs, and diversification of the health workforce.OK, I give up. I don't know what this one is about but I know it involves more paperwork and cost.
Lowering Costs Through Investment in Electronic Health Information Technology Systems: Most medical records are still stored on paper, which makes it hard to coordinate care, measure quality or reduce medical errors and which costs twice as much as electronic claims. Obama will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records, and will phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT. Obama will ensure that patients' privacy is protected.
In order to lower the cost of keeping medical records we have to spend $50 billion dollars? Is it possible this is just a way for the government to get its hands on your medical records?
Obama knows that the American people are leery of nationalized health care, I think his plan is a way to ease us into it. I predict in his second term he will propose we go to a completely government run program.