Congress Trying To Choose The Best Health Care Reform Proposal

By Leigh Ann Caldwell, NEWS JUNKIE POST Contributor

Numerous health reform proposals have been drafted by members of Congress, but their task is to eventually pick the one that will work to decrease the number of Americans that are uninsured.

A Senate panel proposes a “Health Insurance Gateway” to allow consumers one stop shopping for health insurance. People would be able to choose between a private insurer or a public option, likely to be administered by the Government. Some analysts, however, say that the public option, which is highly touted by President Obama and leading Democrats tasked with writing health reform, could cost moderate income earners high dollars for their health coverage.

There is also a draft proposal by the Senate Finance Committees which offers no assistance for health consumers making 300 percent of the poverty level. A single person making just over $32,000 per year might have to pay up to $3600 per year, or 12 percent of her income, to buy health insurance.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has drafted a plan that is more liberal, providing some assistance for people making up to 400 percent of the poverty line, earning $43,000 per year.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate HELP Committee proposal would allow 26 million more Americans to be insured. But many of the remaining uninsured would be low-income, earning too much to qualify for Medicaid and earning too little to afford insurance, even with a government subsidy.

To help low income Americans, the House Education and Labor Committee’s proposal would expand Medicaid eligibility to those earning 133 percent above the poverty line, or a family of four earning about $29,000 per year.

Although President Barack Obama says a public option would generate more competition among health insurance companies and result in lower cost for the consumer, some analysts doubt that scenario under the current proposals.

The Congressional Budget Office believes the Senate HELP committee’s proposal would offer similar reimbursement rates for doctors as private insurance plans, leveling the playing field for competition. Therefore, consumer premiums under a public option would be comparable to private insurance premiums.

Another effort to quash any unfair advantage of the public option is to make it more difficult for employees to opt out of their employer-provided insurance. An employee could buy a personal plan if their employer provided insurance is too expensive. But the legislation defines affordable – anything up to 12 percent of income.

With so many options and plans to choose from, health care advocates want to see their elected officials act quickly. Families USA, the SEIU and others organizations are planning a “call-in day,” which they hope will generate enough calls to the offices of members of Congress to demand health care reform.

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4 Responses to Congress Trying To Choose The Best Health Care Reform Proposal

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1jacksmith
    July 6, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    AMERICA’S NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY!

    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.

    STAND READY AMERICA TO SEIZE CONTROL OF YOUR NATIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats the Tri-Caucus and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and request that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    If President Obama has to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY to rescue the American people from our healthcare crisis, he will need all the sustained support you can give him. STICK WITH HIM! He’s doing a brilliant job.

    THIS IS THE BIG ONE!

    THE BATTLE OF GOOD Vs EVIL!

    Join the fight.

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1hsr0601
    July 6, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    The independently-funded healthcare policy research organization, The Commonwealth Fund, compared possible savings ‘a health insurance exchange’ could bring under three different scenarios. One would include a Medicare-like plan along with private insurance. Another would instead offer only a government-run plan with rates somewhat higher than Medicare. The final one would be private insurance with no government plan at all.
    Commonwealth’s study found cumulative health system savings between 2010 and 2020, compared with projected trends for that period, would range from $3.0 trillion under a Medicare-like plan along with private insurance paying providers at Medicare rates in competition with private plans, to $2.0 trillion for a public plan paying providers at rates between Medicare and private plan rates, to $1.2 trillion in the private plan-only scenario. All three options would help insure nearly all Americans, it said, with the number of uninsured dropping to about 4 million people by 2012. ‘Such an exchange’ would offer a central point for consumers to shop for and compare health plans.

    Under the Medicare-like plan along with private insurance, all U.S. residents would be required to obtain health coverage. The plan would establish a new government-sponsored health program for people younger than age 65 who are not eligible for Medicare. More than 40 million people would be expected to enroll in the program, according to Cathy Schoen of the Commonwealth Fund.

    The government-operated insurance exchange would be similar to an existing program in Massachusetts and would allow people to compare coverage offered by private insurers and the new public program. In addition, the plan supports wide adoption of health information technology, better disease prevention efforts and ‘changes to the insurance payment system’ that promote efficiency. Health spending would continue to increase under the plan, but at a slower rate than current projections over the next 10 years. The Commonwealth Fund said the plan would reduce annual health care spending growth from a projected 6.7% to 5.5% and save a cumulative total of about ‘$3 trillion’ by 2020, adding a national health insurance exchange program that includes a federally managed health insurance option could potentially save $1.8 trillion more than a plan consisting only of private plans.
    The group’s analysis assumed other changes would also be made to the U.S. healthcare market. These include an expansion of existing government coverage and new regulations that would require insurers to cover a wider range of consumers. Hospitals and doctors would also see their revenues grow with any of the three exchanges but at a slower rate, the report said.

    The proposal’s advocates have argued that a government-sponsored insurance plan would offer the 46 million uninsured Americans an affordable alternative to costly private insurance, adding that It would provide a strong incentive for private plans to strealine, innovate and compete.

    Thank You !

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1John D. Froelich
    July 6, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    One neglected aspect, this bill may be the chance to end the evil of Abortion.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Maura
    July 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    This is a key issue for American workers right now. Additionally, encouraging a workplace health program is a great way to lower overall health care costs and to improve employee health. Companies of all sizes can incorporate wellness and prevention into the workplace. Find out how and sign a petition at http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/issues/index.cfm?ID=52