Health care reform is a term used to talk about the alteration or creation of health policy that will, in the end, affect the delivery of health care services to a given population. This reform aims to increase the number of health specialists serving consumers, decrease costs for accessing health care services, quality improvement in the health sector, use of insurance programs in both private and public sectors in order to broaden the coverage of people receiving health care services. The United States’
Health care reform has been a known debate revolving on issues over whether every citizen should have right to access health care, the people who need to be responsible for covering the costs of the provision of these services to the public, the rapid rising of expenditure and its sustainability, governmental function in the introduction of change and the uneasiness raised due to liabilities that are unfounded. President Obama, the Senate and the House of Representatives have delivered proposals concerning the health care reform. These proposals have similarities, differences and controversial issues that the members of the public and the leaders either agree or disagree with. Therefore, this essay will analyze the issues raised in these health care reform proposals and cover the areas outlined below:
Health Care Reform Proposals by President Obama, the Senate and the House of Representatives
President Obama unveiled a plan that was divided into three parts that addresses the affordability of the health coverage to all citizens of the United States, containment of the costs of health care through modernization of health care services and improving on the care offered to patients, working towards the prevention of diseases and protecting the public against disasters that occur naturally and those that are man-made. The intentions of this proposal is to enable all Americans to gain access to the health care services and in the long run, it “will save a typical American family up to $2,500 every year on medical expenditures” ( “Barack Obama’s Plan” 2). The proposal addressed the first part of the proposal dealing with affordability, quality and the coverage of American citizens by collaborating with federal governments, non- governmental health plans, employers and various states around America. Since a majority of Americans have enrolled on the insurance program, Obama’s plan intends to improve and stabilize this program by making it available to those who have not qualified for it and start-up businesses wanting their employees to gain access to the program. In addition to that, the plan intends to enable all citizens and business enterprises that are interested in carrying out a direct purchase of health insurance through creation of “a National Health Insurance Exchange” (“Barack Obama’s Plan” 2). Obama also proposes that employers should enable all employees to gain coverage through participating in contributions and as an order; all children will be required to acquire coverage. Furthermore, the plan will encourage flexibility especially in the plans for health reforms and broaden eligibility for programs such as Medicaid. The Obama proposal in general terms, “basically tracks the reform legislation…tries to bridge key differences between the Senate and House reform…” (“President Obama Releases Health Care Reform par.2).
The Senate has also made a proposal that has some similarities with that of Obama’s proposal in that it has touched on the areas of accessibility of health coverage that is affordable to all citizens of the United States “by creating a nationwide insurance pool, called the Health Insurance Exchange” (Baucus 7). On the issue of value and quality, the plan has centered itself towards primary and chronic care management by stating that in order for practitioners to be more available to the patients that need primary care, more value should be imposed on the tasks they perform by increase of payment and use of incentives. It has also touched on the improvement of technology in the system of health care in order to govern value and quality. Other areas of interest mentioned in the proposal are the sustainability of financing and efficiency and use of employers in availing coverage to employees.
The House of Representatives’ proposal aims to promote affordability of health services to all Americans, accessibility to quality services, and ensure that the increasing rise in costs of health care be toned down. It has also addressed the current insurance system and its effect on health care by ensuring responsibility in the leaders of government, employers and employees.
Primary Similarities and Differences between Each Proposal
The common similarities between the Obama, Senate and the House proposals is they are all interested in providing affordable health services to all American citizens and the issue of providing insurance cover to the citizens has also been addressed. All these proposals have also linked on the accessibility of health care for employees to their employers.
Self employed individuals and small businesses have also been encouraged to gain access to insurance cover for their employees in these proposals. In addition to that, all proposals have spoken of the broadening of Medicaid to all citizens of the United States and the use of improved information technology and modernization in storage of records.
The primary differences in these proposals is that for the House version, “employers with 25 or fewer workers and average wages of $40,000 or less would qualify for tax credits for up to two years” (Hossain and Tse par.1) while the Senate proposes that such employees would get tax credits of six years if they earn more. The same article goes on to state that under the exchange, the benefit plans in the House version will cover a big percentage as compared to the Senate proposal, which covers a much smaller percentage. The Obama proposal imposes a mandate, especially on children failure to which a tax penalty will be placed. On the contrary, the Senate proposal has imposed a mandate specifically on all Americans, which on failure, there will be a punishment by use of a tax code.
Most Agreed Upon Issues In the Proposals
It is evident that all these proposals have agreed on providing an affordable health care service to all citizens of America. The other most agreed upon issue is the provision of insurance cover to all citizens especially through the employers for the people who are employed. On the other hand, for individuals who may not be able to qualify for insurance cover, insurance companies have been asked not to deny them. All proposals have also agreed on the right of citizens to receive efficient and excellent quality services and individual mandate has also been agreed upon.
Controversial Issues in the Proposals
Individual mandate and the penalties that follow on failure to acquire health insurance seems to be the most controversial issue since no guarantee for subsidy surrounds this subject. The proposals have raised the issue of a possible rise in the cost of acquiring health insurance since the insurance companies may have to adjust their costs. Furthermore, the tax increase on high-income earners has also been a controversial issue and the fact that large employers will be forced to give health insurance to a large number of their employees.
Definition of “reconciliation” and its use by the Senate
Reconciliation is “the process by which budget – related bills can be approved without threat of a filibuster (and thus without winning the support of at least 60 senators” (Lambert par.2). I do not think the Senate should use reconciliation to pass the proposal because this will interfere with its constitutional roles that involve ensuring the president and the House of Representatives approve legislation.
Health Care Reform and the Legislative Term
The health care reform may pass this legislative term since it has strong support in all sides. By doing so, it may gunner 60 votes in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Support of Health Care Reform
In conclusion, I fully support the health care reform because it will mean an access of the most essential need s of American citizens; and that is, an access to affordable health care that is not only efficient but also of good quality. Moreover, it has reached a time whereby even the vulnerable group of society and those not qualified to access these services will finally be able to do so.
“Barrack Obama’s Plan for a Healthy America.” Obama ’2007. Web.
Baucus, Max. “Ensuring Health Coverage for all Americans.” Call to Action Health Reform 2009. Web.
Hossain, Farhana and Tse, Archie. “Comparing the House and The Senate Health Care Proposals.” New York Times. New York Times, 2010. Web.
Lambert, Thom. “Health Care Reform, Reconciliation and the Role Of The Senate: Some Wise Counsel on Key Democrats.” Truth On The Market, 2010. Web.
“President Obama Releases Health Care Reform Proposal.” Medicare Update, 2010. Web.