Monday, June 1, 2009

Now or Never for Obama's Health Plan

Last week, we promised to keep you informed of world health issues.

This week we explore rumors of the coming USA health plan and how it can change America and the lives of Americans.

President Obama just gave the first shock to the health industry---- lower health costs by a trillion dollars a year!
Questions, questions, questions... does lowering health costs mean "lower your fees"? Does this mean insurers, or only medical professionals?
Is President Obama telling the whole medical industry that the coming health plan will not pay them what they hope it will?

Opponents of health care reform propose a "trigger" plan that could set back the public health insurance option on the back burner long enough for the whole idea to fade.
If the American economy doesn't soon enter a strong recovery phase, other grim national-survival priorities may indeed overwhelm such idealistic humanitarian impulses by our new president.

At the same time, a new CNN national poll reveals that most Americans welcome government health care. Sixty-three percent were in favor, 36 percent were opposed.
A similar percentage believe the U.S. government should guarantee health care universally for all citizens.
Obama said "if we don't get it done this year, we're not going to get it done."

Opponents of the plan tend of believe that government-run health care would bog down in red tape and inefficiency. These are often members of the Republican party, which has resisted other national health plans. They cite the government's too-frequent record of wasteful spending, and bureaucratic red tape.

Those who publicly support a public health insurance plan, stress the rising needs of the struggling American public. Also, they maintain, if the plan did not pay CEO bonuses or shareholder profits, it would cost much less.

Proponents believe that all deserve good medical treatment. Many point out that other industrialized nations have long ago taken this step, and that the USA cannot call itself a world leader when so many are unprotected by health care. It is true that insurers, pressed by competitive rates, might be forced to give better coverage for lower rates. Citizens would have the option to maintain their current insurance, or take the public plan, attractive to many who have recently lose their jobs.

Opponents call President Obama a socialist, for proposed insurance subsidies to citizens who are indigent, guaranteeing health coverage for all Americans. However, socialism has been a fact for many decades, both in the USA and worldwide. And it remains to be seen, how effectively Obama will be able to leverage new funds, from a weakened economy and lowering tax base.

One huge question--- will the USA plan force all citizens to participate and pay into the plan, or will the plan offer free choice?

But what about the medical professionals? How will they react?
Will some doctors and health pros will simply quit?
Will others will try to open private-pay practices, in hopes people with funds will come to them for more personal boutique-type care?
Will private practices draw cash-paying patients?

In the months to come we will continue to track the rush of changes, and reports on the USA plan as it evolves.

Next week, we'll focus on other national plans around the globe.
Successes or failures?

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