Sunday, April 8, 2007

Barack on Healthcare

Although Barack Obama is still hammering out the specifics of his universal health plan through dialogue with the people, there are still some things that can be gleaned from his public meetings and speeches.

Barack believes in a single payer system but practically is hesistant to support one.

A single payer system may have been easier to implement back when only one in10 people were insured rather than the six in seven covered today. The health insurance industry is huge, owns hundreds of billions in assets and employs many people.

Dismantling in one stroke could cause major upheaval.

However, Obama doesn't seem to support the current employer-based system as it stands now either. He appears to favor, based on some of his speeches and comments, something similar to Ron Wyden's healthcare plan but with less out-of-pocket expenses.

Wyden's Healthy Americans Act would establish state-based Health Help Agencies allowing the individual rather than the employer to choose private health plans. Here is some info from Wyden's official site:

"Under The Healthy Americans Act individuals will choose from a variety of plans offered in their state providing coverage similar to what is currently available to Members of Congress. State-based Health Help Agencies (HHAs) will guide individuals through the enrollment process. HHAs will provide unbiased information about the state’s competing private health plans that will in turn empower individuals—rather than their employers—to choose the best private plans for them and their families. HHAs also will connect individuals and families with sliding scale premium reduction to ensure everyone can afford care. Most individuals and families will qualify for health care tax deductions.

"Also under the Healthy Americans Act, subscribers will not be charged co-pays for preventive services or chronic disease management. Insurers will be able to offer discounts and other incentives based on participation in wellness programs such as nutrition counseling, tobacco cessation and exercise. Primary care physicians will be reimbursed for investing time in chronic disease management and prevention. And with Health Help Agencies publishing consumer-oriented information on every plan’s success in prevention and disease management, insurance companies will ultimately be competing to keep Americans healthy."

According to Wyden, his plan would be fully-paid by restructuring the $2.2 trillion currently spent on healthcare.

Obama has also mentioned that bringing the medical transaction system online could save up to $600 million a year, money which could be used to help cover those who cannot afford to pay for their coverage. He has said that money can also be saved by emphasizing prevention more and this includes preventive care for the people now uninsured who often make expensive emergency care visits.

Refreshingly, he has not ruled out new taxes to fund his universal healthcare plan.

After all, you have to pay for the thing somehow. Republicans somehow think its better to spend using interest-bearing loans rather than upfront money (taxes). Guess who eventually pays for these loans and interest?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Obama you have turned this Country into a pile of crap. It is not my job to pay health care for all the illegals in this Country. You may have in your mind you are doing good but you are not at all. GM is going to layoff 21,000 people because you. They need to restructure and down size. What ever, Follow the news Obama you wont be there in 4 years and then somebody will have to clean up all this crap you think is just. You are wrong. Michael Savage says it best. Look him up, He speaks for America

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