“We now face an opportunity — and an obligation — to turn the page on the failed politics of yesterday's health care debates… My plan begins by covering every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have it after this plan becomes law. No one will be turned away because of a preexisting condition or illness.” — Barack Obama, Speech in Iowa City, IA, May 29, 2007.
Polls have shown that voters rank health care among their top concerns. Obama’s health care plan aims at health care solidarity, similar to plans in Europe and Canada. By restructuring current health care coverage, everyone would be ensured guaranteed health care access through both private and government plans.
Obama’s plan would build on existing private and public health care programs such as private individual health insurance, employer health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. Key components of the Obama plan include:
∑ Flexibility in state health reform initiatives.
∑ Establishment of a Medicare-style public program for individuals under age 65 who do not have access to an employer plan or do not qualify for existing government programs.
∑ Structuring of a “National Health Insurance Exchange,” a government organization that would sell insurance plans to those who do not have access to employer plans or public coverage.
∑ Expanding eligibility for Medicaid, SCHIP and other government programs.
A minimum comprehensive benefits package would be mandated, as would the ability to transfer health policies (portability), when purchased through the new Medicare-like public plan or the National Health Insurance Exchange.
Obama’s plan overhauls the current health care system through a step process. He would improve chronic disease management, create a reinsurance pool for catastrophic illnesses to take cost burden off of other premium payers and spend more money on strengthening electronic record-keeping and other health care technology.
His health care plan would also place a heavy emphasis on lifestyle changes and illness prevention. Estimates for his health care reform plan range between $50 and $65 billion a year when the plan is fully phased in, according to the Obama campaign.
His plan for universal coverage assumes costs for the health care reform will be paid by discontinuing the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year and from savings in the system. Obama’s health care reform plan estimates that the average family will save up to $2,500 a year.
Other quality initiatives of the plan include coordinated care, comparative effectiveness reviews, transparency about cost and quality of care, reducing disparities in health care treatments for the same illness, and improved patient safety.
For information about Acupuncture and Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500.