President Obama’s Healthcare Reform: The Pros and Cons

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on September 12, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH

There has been much debate about President Obama’s controversial proposal to reform the health care system in the United States. There are a few simple facts that are important: firstly, the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not offer some type of Universal Health Care; secondly, each year thousands of Americans lose their health care coverage due to circumstances beyond their control; and thirdly, the main reason that Americans file bankruptcy is due to outstanding medical expenses. No one will dispute that reform is desperately needed.

The most talked about proposal is the Public Insurance option that President Obama is presenting.

Pro 1: Insurance for Everyone

The Public Health Care option is there to help each and every person in the country get insurance that they can afford and that will cover expenses. President Obama stated that this is simply an option. If you currently have insurance that you are satisfied with you can keep it without penalty. If your employer currently offers insurance they will not be penalized.

Pro 2: Pre-existing Conditions to be Covered

Often medical coverage gets changed through an employer, or a company downsizes and an employee is left without insurance. The employee/individual has to go about finding coverage on their own. In most cases if this person has already been diagnosed with a condition, such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart conditions, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, the new insurance has grounds to refuse coverage to that person, or offer them insurance that does not cover any treatment related to pre-existing conditions.

Pro 3: Lower Prescription Costs

One of the highest costs in health care is medications. Even with insurance the co pays on medications can set patients back quite a bit, especially middle to lower income families and the elderly. The cost of medication often forces them to make the choice between buying groceries and getting their prescriptions.

Pro 4: Equal Coverage for All

With everyone having insurance the cost of health care for everyone will decrease. An insured person will no longer carry the burden of higher costs to cover the uninsured. Treatment options that are necessary will be available to everyone that needs them instead of to only those that can afford them or whose insurance will cover them.

Pro 5: No financial Burden on Our Children

In President Obama’s speech on September 9, 2009 he stated that while the cost of the health care reform was $900 billion, it would be covered by money that was already in the budget that was being misused. He stated that the bill would not add one dime to the current deficit, it would actually decrease it by 1/10 of 1% each year.

Pro 6: Care for the Elderly

Obama’s health care reform policy insures that Medicare is a treasure that must and will be protected for generations to come. He proposes to decrease wasteful spending in Medicare by tackling false claims and other Medicare abuses.

Pro 7: Medical Malpractice Reform

President Obama’s plan includes a reform of the medical malpractice act. The reform will make fraudulent lawsuits stop, and they will help allow doctors to practice responsible medicine to make sure that patients are getting the care they need, and not care that protects the doctor.

As with everything in life, there are also cons to the Health Care proposal that is currently being presented.

Con 1: The cost

Many worry about the actual cost of the reform. It has been stated that the reform will cost $900 billion, and the President states that will be covered by money that is already in the budget that is being used wastefully. However there have not been any clear cut explanations of what wasteful spending is, and where it will be coming from.

Con 2: Possibility of Health Care Providers Increasing Coverage Rates

In an effort to still make the same income, health care providers may increase their fees. Without a policy that defines how health care providers can charge, the patient may still have to pay more in the end. Just as today a cash paying patient will pay a different amount than a patient with insurance, and each insurance company has negotiated rates with the providers already.

Con 3: Providers May Refuse to Accept Public Insurance

This issue has not even been covered in any information that is currently available. Not all health care providers accept all insurance carriers. Will providers be able to refuse Public Insurance?

These are just a few of the pros and cons of the current Health Care Reform proposal as we know it. As more information is released the positives and negatives will probably change. The bottom line remains that the United States needs health care reform.

Photo Credit: egadapparel

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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