Thursday, August 13, 2009

FAQ: Obama's health care reform plan

I know that the new health care reform is controversial. I am all for attempting to fix a very broken system. This article gave me some specific details about what it is and what it isn't.

Taken from the Baltimore Sun, Aug. 12

This summer the top conversational piece on the tip of everyone's tongue revolves around health care reform. The debate rages on through a series of Town Hall-style meetings taking place around the country with President Obama.

When cutting to the heart of all the hoopla, specific questions emerge. Here's a quick glance at Obama's answers to the most common inquiries voiced by folks just like you:
•What if I already have health insurance and am satisfied with my coverage?
Simply put, things won't change much for those content with their existing, employer-provided health insurance coverage. Obama guarantees that you will be able to keep your doctor and your plan. Read the full transcript of Obama's town hall meeting in Washington.

•What if I don't have health insurance?
For the staggering 46 million Americans lacking healthcare coverage, the uninsured will have the opportunity to select a plan from a menu of private and public options --similar to the way members of Congress choose their coverage. Obama's team is working on the creation of the Health Insurance Exchange, which will give people a one-stop shop for a health care plan where they can compare benefits and prices and choose the plan best suited for them. Every plan would include an affordable, benefits package. Obama also promises to provide assistance to those unable to afford one of the plans. Read the full transcript of Obama's town hall meeting in Wisconsin.

•Can I still obtain health insurance with a preexisting medical condition?
Yes! Obama often recounts his mother fighting with insurance companies over medical bills after her cancer diagnosis when they suggested it was a preexisting medical condition. Obama vows to put an end to this practice in addition to stopping insurance companies from dropping people if they "get too sick." Read the full transcript of Obama's town hall meeting in Washington.

•How will my Medicare benefits be affected?
Obama denies any reduction in Medicare benefits. What will change is the wasteful spending associated with Medicare such as the $100 billion in subsidies that go to insurance companies without improving care for seniors. In addition, Obama says the pharmaceutical industry agreed to $80 billion in spending reductions to help close the "doughnut hole" for seniors falling under Medicaid's prescription drug plan. The "doughnut hole" refers to the gap in drug reimbursement seniors face that can accrue into thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses. Read the full transcript from Obama's town hall meeting in Ohio.

•How will we pay for this sweeping health care reform?
Obama says his plan will cost $950 billion over a ten-year period. Two-thirds of the cost of reform will come from reallocating money, paid for by taxpayers, already in the system that isn't being spent wisely. One-third of that price-tag will be covered by increased revenues, such as capping itemized deductions the wealthiest Americans use on their income tax returns. Read the full transcript of Obama's town hall meeting in Virginia.


NYC Educator said...

I'm sold. If this passes, Obama will have accomplished something truly great, despite his pathetic and discouraging education positions.

philosopete said...

There would be no trouble funding a national health care system if
Congress had not stolen ("borrowed")the medicare trust fund.

From the KPBS website "The trust funds — which exist in paper form in a filing cabinet in Parkersburg, W.Va. — are bonds that are backed by the government's "full faith and credit" but not by any actual assets. That money has been spent over the years to fund other parts of government. To redeem the trust fund bonds, the government would have to borrow in public debt markets or raise taxes."

They then camouflaged this fact by keeping it 'off budget.' So how much of the cost of medicare is actually spent on financing the debt used to pay for it?