Public Healthcare Legislation the Public Option Thesis

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Public Healthcare Legislation

The Public Option and the Obama Healthcare Package

America's healthcare industry shows us one of the most revealing contradictions in the country's economy. Even though America claims itself to be the world's most advanced superpower, it is still unable to provide its entire population with healthcare and even worse, the quality of its healthcare overall is declining in many ways that will be discussed here. Though many democratic nations provide all of their citizens with healthcare access, the United States instead tries to concentrate the control of medicine into the hands of big businesses like the insurance industry or the pharmaceutical companies. The result is that the United States has a healthcare industry with a reputation that is getting worse, with large companies benefiting but average Americans suffering from the consequences of this. Overall, though healthcare should be a right to all Americans, it is treated more like a luxury only available for those who can afford it, creating an industry that cannot continue on its current path and also stay effective at meeting its responsibilities.

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This is why the Obama Administration has worked to pass a major piece of legislation designed to overhaul the ailing healthcare industries. With the focus on creating a 'public option' which would mitigate the cost of healthcare for the roughly 46 million who are reported to be uninsured today, Obama is working against a grain of industry lobbies and Republican Party leaders. These groups have argued that the new legislation would add 46 million Americans to the expenses of a welfare state. Amid these accusations and the expressed concern that the public option would promote excessive government intrusion into the healthcare industry, President Obama has advocated the public option with the justification of a severely unequal and ineffective U.S. Healthcare system. The discussion here provides a basis for the overhaul and the public option through a consideration of the current failures which have damaged American healthcare and which have devastated countless Americans.

Thesis on Public Healthcare Legislation the Public Option and Assignment

Discussion:

The parties that are the most important stakeholders in America's healthcare industry are; the consumers of the American public; medical industry corporations such as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and managed care firms; publicly provided healthcare programs or facilities; and the United States government as a whole. The current reality in the medical industry is that while the government and the corporations are sharing the profits of this situation, the medical consumers and the publicly funded, free medical programs are losing out.

Public health is the entity with the lowest level of representation in American healthcare, with costs of healthcare not just making healthcare unaffordable for a large percentage of the population, but at the same time making up about 15% of the national GDP as a result of the same cost issues. (NCHC, 2004, p. 1) This shows that the high costs of healthcare are not because it is getting too expensive for the average American to afford. Instead, it is because insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are trying to get more profit from the American people.

Truly, this points to biggest stakeholder in the current state of American healthcare. While the U.S. economy has experienced a continuing downturn in its rate of growth between 2000 and today, the healthcare industry has grown. On the power of employer provided healthcare premiums which rose by 9.2% during that period, the healthcare industry experienced an economic trend which sharply juxtaposed a rate of inflation one-third of this rise. This would prove a far stronger rate of growth than in such typically robust sectors as technology and retail. (NCHC, 2004, p. 1)

This would contrast the continually slow growth of the overall economy. Accordingly, Levit et al. (2001) would indicate show that a 'sluggish' economy would allow for healthcare to rise prodigiously as a contributor to Americ's overall GDP. Levit et al. report that in just a decade, its .8% contribution to the national GDP would balloon to 14.1% by 2001. (p. 154) These figures show the effects on the consumer, who as a stakeholder has been excluded from a lot of the decision-making processes effecting such things as healthcare costs and the laws surrounding them. The U.S. government, as a stakeholder as well, has devoted less of the public's financial investment in promoting innovation than it has in lowering tax costs for large companies. The government characterizes this priority as a way to encourage growth of large companies so that they can improve the quality of their service. However, the effect on the average American has not been this way. Instead, Americans are finding that the healthcare industry is getting more difficult to benefit from all the time. The demand for legislation is not only a public necessity, but is a government duty for which the public has expressed a willingness to pay.

A Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll indicates that on a whole, the American public "believes that reducing the percentage of uninsured Americans is the most important healthcare issue for the government to address." (Cummings, 2006, p. 1) This points to the biggest problem that the healthcare industry must fight, which is the economic prejudice that seems to control pricing and access to decent medical attention. Unfair insurance practices like the high cost of premiums, the high cost of buying a share in an employer's company coverage program and the routine unwillingness of insurance companies to cover the costs for many necessary medical treatments have all led to a situation which in which roughly 46 million Americans are uninsured. (MSNBC News Service, 1)

The problem of a lack of insurance for many is related to the problem of the cost of healthcare. For insurance, medical procedures and prescription drugs, healthcare has been increasing in its cost for the consumer at a faster rate than any other industry, making legislation for a public option rational both in terms of assisting the needs of Americans but also in terms of intervening on rampant price collusion. One of the main reasons is the above-mentioned issue of insurance costs, which because of an unwillingness of the government to enforce regulation on monopolistic corporate practices, is a cause for the negative spiral of a rising expensiveness. That, some economic experts say, has created a negative spiral where the absence of more payers entering into the insurance market is making the cost even higher for those who remain. The consequence is that middle class Americans often struggle to deal with medical costs, especially when unexpected medical emergencies occur, even if they do have full insurance benefits.

Even in contexts where members of the middle and working classes believe themselves to be insulated from this crisis so long as they remain employed, employers facing an over-valued market has sought all many of ways to cut costs. Naturally, these are ways which have come at the expense of employees. In the 1980s, as the insurance market approached its current state of out-and-out private dominance over America's healthcare policy, "in companies without unions, employees were force to pay higher deductibles and co-payments and share the cost of premiums. Some employers resorted to 'churning,' switching policies just as the waiting period for employees with large medical expenses expired. They also reduced benefits for expensive diseases such as cancer and AIDS or eliminate coverage for these conditions altogether." (Quadagno, 145) Even for those who have been gainfully employed in white collar jobs, the failure of the United States to bring rising costs into check is resulting in a condition where such employees are increasingly carrying the burden.

The presidency of Illinois Senator Barack Obama offers some cause for optimism in regard to the situation facing many American employees who are carrying too much of the burden for a company insurance plan or those who are quite simply denied a coverage plan by employers. According to a journal article published by the CATO Institute, the president insisted during the election campaign that he would create a 'play or pay' system, which would demand that employers choose between a fair and equitable insurance coverage program for employees or the expense of a government payroll tax. (Tanner, p. 37) This represents an illuminating path for resolution that would use public legislation to foster a burden-sharing provision of healthcare to Americans.

That said, the current Healthcare package is in peril due to partisan bickering. Evidence provided here above and after denotes that there is a pressing demand to produce a healthcare plan which legislates coverage through public funding for uninsured Americans. This has been mischaracterized by opponents on the Republican side of the Congressional aisle as an attempt to socialize healthcare. Referred to as the 'public option,' it is so named because it would not preclude the opportunity to choose one's own coverage. (MSNBC News Service, 1) To the contrary, it would create a greater competitive environment for insurance provision, with the public option creating a more attractive coverage avenue for countless other Americans who, though not uninsured, are paying too… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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