Business Healthcare Reform at the End Essay

Pages: 5 (1673 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Healthcare

Business

Healthcare Reform

At the end of last year, President Obama and the Democratic leaders of Congress moved to the very verge of an accomplishment that their predecessors had been pursing for 75 years: creating a comprehensive national system of health insurance. President Obama has made passing this bill his main legislative priority. In November the House approved a sweeping overhaul of the nation's health care system by a vote of 220 to 215. The Senate passed an $871 billion bill on Dec. 24. In the interim, the leaders of the House and Senate have been struggling to find a plan that would allow them to turn a compromise version of their bill into law. Discussions have centered on having the House pass the Senate bill, accompanied by a sidecar' bill of changes that could fall within the budget reconciliation' process, which according to Senate rules would require only a majority of votes to pass (Health Care Reform, 2010).

After quite a few weeks in which it seemed the White House was not sure how there were going to proceed, Mr. Obama made it known that he would convene a bipartisan health care session on Feb. 25. The proceedings are to be televised. Mr. Obama has challenged Republicans to attend the meeting with their plans for lowering the cost of health insurance and expanding coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Republican leaders have said they welcomed the opportunity and called on Democrats to start the debate from scratch (Health Care Reform, 2010).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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The wide outlines of both bills are relatively close to the plans that emerged over the summer and fall from five Congressional committees. The bills would enlarge coverage by making more lower-income people eligible for Medicaid, and by offering financial assistance to help moderate-income people buy insurance. They would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage of pre-existing conditions, and would create insurance exchanges like new government-regulated marketplaces where individuals and small businesses could come together to buy coverage. It is thought that the 160 million Americans who get their coverage through their employer would stay with that insurance. Almost everyone would be required to get insurance or face a penalty, and businesses would be required to provide coverage or contribute to its cost (Health Care Reform, 2010).

Democrats have called the measures as a huge leap forward in both extending coverage to the tens of millions of Americans who currently lack it and in beginning the process of reducing the spiraling health care costs. Republicans have fervently denounced them as a giant expansion of government that will prove unaffordable and undermine the coverage of those who currently have it (Health Care Reform, 2010).

Both the House and Senate versions of health insurance reform are based upon the following building blocks:

Insurance reform is needed to protect consumers from insurance company worst-practices. This included things like denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, capping total coverage, and dropping or watering down coverage when one gets sick and needs it most

Consumer protections that will limit how much of a persons premium dollars that insurance companies can spend on marketing, profits, and salaries

Creation of a health exchange is needed to increase consumer choice and guarantee coverage

Affordable health options must have subsidies for working families and a hardship waiver if needed

Tax credits will help small businesses afford coverage

Making preventive care must be completely free with no co-payments or deductibles

Lowering the cost of health care for our seniors

Improving the quality and extending the life of Medicare

Making sure that reform is not only fully paid for, but actually significantly reduces the federal deficit (Benefits of Health Reform, n.d.)

President Obama is committed to working with Congress in order to pass a comprehensive health reform in order to control rising health care costs, guarantee choice of doctor, and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Comprehensive health care reform can no longer wait. Quickly escalating health care costs are crushing family, business, and government budgets. Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have doubled in the last 9 years, a rate 3 times faster than cumulative wage increases. This forces families to sit around the kitchen table to make impossible choices between paying rent and paying health premiums. Taking into account all that we spend on health care, American families should not be presented with that choice. The United States spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007. This averaged about $7,421 per person which is nearly twice the average of what other developed nations spent. On average Americans spend more on health care than they do on housing or food. If quick health cost growth continues, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by the year 2025, one out of every four dollars in the national economy will be tied up in the health system. This rising burden will limit other investments and priorities that are needed to grow our economy. Increasing health care costs also affect our economic competitiveness in the global economy, as American companies compete against companies in other countries that have dramatically lower health care costs (Health Care, n.d.).

A 2002 study done by the Institute of Medicine found that more than 18,000 Americans die every year because they are uninsured. Having some kind of health coverage for every citizen would mean fewer child deaths from asthma, fewer cancer deaths in minority communities and fewer veterans who depend on emergency rooms for their primary care. The real question is how universal care would be paid for and who would decide levels of reimbursement (Doctors Debate Universal Health Care: Pros and Cons From the Experts, 2010).

America is often condemned for not having a universal health-care system that is comparable to the Europeans and Canadians. Although Germany, the United Kingdom and even Canada have increasingly been turning to the private sector in order to relieve the financial burden of this type of system and solve serious delivery problems. In comparison to the private sector, government programs are inefficient and have higher costs that have to be paid for with higher taxes or spending cuts in other areas such as defense, education, or even medical research and development. It is thought that this is a tradeoff that most Americans are not willing to make (Doctors Debate Universal Health Care: Pros and Cons From the Experts, 2010).

If low-income people find health-care coverage unaffordable, they should be subsidized by the government, but they should retain ultimate ownership of their health-care resources and the choice about how those resources will be utilized. This patient choice will create the demand for price and quality transparency that is necessary to make value-based health-care decisions. The primary flaw in universal health-care systems is a misplacement of incentives. The decisions that drive health-care costs and quality of care are made by individual patients and their health-care providers. These choices should not be influenced by universal government mandates, administered pricing systems or expenditure targets, but should instead be based on an adequately informed assessment by individual patients and their providers about the value of services in a particular clinical situation (Doctors Debate Universal Health Care: Pros and Cons From the Experts, 2010).

In a recent report put out by the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, it is indicated that the key aspects of healthcare reform could slow the growth of healthcare costs, providing savings to companies and employees. The report claims that the right reforms could result in health care costs growing at the same rate as overall GDP which is about 4% per year, a rate much lower than the current 10% per year growth rate (Richard, 2009).

Some people are under the impression that because of the complexity and expense of reforming… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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