Health Care Reform 2010 There is so little contradiction that government should be engaged in one way or another in creating a solution that gives Americans in need of medical assistance the right to life, liberty and the continued pursuit of happiness. The disagreements come in recognizing the failure of government to properly handle other socialized systems, the amount of government oversight that should be imposed, and the coverage that should be part of any comprehensive national healthcare solution.
During his campaign, President Obama argued for health care reform by saying that health care is a right. Steinhauer, J. (2008, October 8). Road to November: Where he first got going, cheering Obama on. The New York Times, p. A18. The framework for reforming health care that President Obama outlined during his campaign includes three primary elements: providing affordable health insurance for all Americans, lowering health care costs, and promoting public health. Health Care. Retrieved June, 2010 from http://www. barackobama. com/issues/healthcare/.
While all three elements are essential in reforming America’s health care system to provide higher quality care at lower cost, providing health insurance for all Americans should be prioritized given the effect the current economic crisis has on the number of uninsured Americans. Although this element of President Obama’s framework should be prioritized, it will also be the most challenging to implement, since universal health care coverage represents a dramatic shift from current health care policy and will require substantial increases in government spending.
Providing health insurance for all Americans should be President Obama’s priority in the current economic crisis because many Americans will lose their private health insurance coverage as they become unemployed. At the end of January 2009, the unemployment rate in the United States was 7. 6 percent, and some economists predict that the unemployment rate may reach as high as 12 percent before the economy begins to improve Goodman, P. S. (2010, June). Sharper downturn clouds Obama spending plans.
The New York Times, p. A1. One estimate of the relationship between the unemployment rate and the number of uninsured is that each percentage point increase in the unemployment rate leads to 1. 1 million more adults not being insured Schwartz, K. (2008). Health coverage in a period of rising unemployment. Retrieved June, 2010 from http://www. kff. org/uninsured/upload/7842. pdf. Thus, between now and the end of the economic crisis, approximately five million adults could lose their private insurance coverage.
President Obama should be concerned about the large number of uninsured Americans because of the negative health outcomes and reduced economic productivity associated with being uninsured. According to the Institute of Medicine, the uninsured tend to have poorer health quality and die prematurely compared to people with insurance, and the economy suffers due to reduced productivity from the millions of uninsured Americans who have poor health or who are prematurely disabled,Institute of Medicine (2003). Hidden costs, value lost: Uninsurance in America.
Retrieved June, 2010 from http://www. iom. edu/Object. File/Master/12/327/Uninsured5FINAL. pdf. While providing health insurance for all Americans is the most important element of President Obama’s health care reform framework, it will also be the most challenging element to implement due to political opposition and high costs. Universal health care coverage represents a fundamental shift in health care policy in the United States and does not have widespread support among Republican members of Congress.
Moreover, unlike President Obama’s health care reform element of reducing health care costs, universal health care coverage will require large increases in spending from the federal government, likely necessitating higher taxes. President Obama’s proposal to provide coverage for the 47 million Americans who were uninsured as of January 2008 is estimated to cost $102 billion per year. Gruber, J. (2008). Covering the Uninsured in the U. S. Retrieved June, 2010 from http://econ-www. mit. edu/files/2517. As the number of uninsured Americans continues to increase, so does the cost of providing universal coverage.
Some cost savings initiatives in President Obama’s health care reform framework will also be challenging to implement, since they will be strongly opposed by the health care industry and some members of Congress. President Obama’s framework for reforming health care contains many initiatives aimed at lowering health care costs, including regulating health plan loss ratios and increasing the use of generic drugs. Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all. Retrieved June, 2010 from http://www. barackobama. com/pdf/issues/