Healthcare is Sick

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Health Care FAQs

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Will health care reform increase the national deficit?

Unclear, as estimates by the Congressional Budget Office differ from plan to plan.  For instance, the CBO projects the plan introduced in the Senate on September 16th by Finance Chairman Max Baucus would increase the deficit by $49 billion in 10 years.  Yet the House plan would increase the deficit by $239 billion in ten years, according to the CBO.

Will reform mean health care would be rationed?

Health care is rationed everyday when insurance companies refuse coverage because of a pre existing condition or exploit a loophole to unexpectedly drop coverage, or when an uninsured person forgoes seeking care due to cost, which recently caused a 22 year old to die of swine flu.  Obama says his reform proposal would not increase such rationing.  Yet his plan would cut $622 billion Medicaid and Medicare “waste” to help pay the estimated bill of $1 trillion+ over ten years.   My question is:  if there is really $622 worth of “waste” to be cut that would not decrease current quality of care, why doesn’t Obama make such cuts first, and tackle other reforms after?

Will more preventive care save money?

Yes and no.  Some preventive care, like promoting better health and wellness, would save money, as preventable causes of death related to poor diets, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol abuse, etc. result in 900,000 deaths a year, a huge bill for the health care industry.

Expansion of other preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies, would increase overall costs, as a small number of people who receive such tests actually have the disease which is being tested for.

What are all these different health reform plans I’m hearing about?

Both the Senate and House are currently working on separate plans, and if both are passed, the bodies will work together to produce a final bill for Obama to sign.  The biggest difference between the two bills will likely be regarding the public option- the House version, at the insistence of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and liberal Democrats, will likely include it, while the Senate version will not.

What are the arguments for and against a public option?

For- A government run insurance program would force private insurers to reduce their costs to remain financially competitive, something that is desperately needed, as employer- sponsored insurance premiums increased 119 percent over the last decade.

Against- Conservatives contend reforms should be made within the current system, and that government should not compete with private industry in such a crucial part of the economy as health care.  RNC Chairman Michael Steele recently said the public option “…goes counter to everything that we know about how markets work and the role that the government plays in those markets.”


[1] http://www.forbes.com/2009/09/16/obamacare-health-care-business-healthcare-baucus-faq.html

[2] http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/10/business/moneywatch/main5230656.shtml

[3] http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2009/09/27/good-thing-we-dont-ration-health-care-in-the-usa/?cxntfid=blogs_jay_bookman_blog

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/06/18/us/politics/061809-health-care-proposals.html

[5] http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/358/7/661

[6] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/sep/09/barack-obama/obama-says-preventive-care-saves-money-it-doesnt/

[7] http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/60529-dem-lawmaker-houses-health-bill-wont-depend-on-senate

[8] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/25/AR2009092503868.html?hpid=topnews

[9] http://www.nchc.org/documents/Fact%20Sheets/Fact%20Sheet%20-%20Cost%208-10-09.pdf

[10] http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/09/09/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5296598.shtml

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Written by Chris Russell

September 29, 2009 at 1:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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