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Health Care Debate: The Latest News, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 776

Essay

The latest news in the healthcare debate is President Obama’s national tour of triumph of the recent health care reform law. His victory lap, as it were, began almost as he out the pen down at the signing ceremony. Enthusiastically, he toured the country saying the legislation passed by Congress and signed into law is richly deserved for the American people. Obama is not satisfied, however. He is already stumping for future health care initiatives that will take accessible health care to all Americans.

This week in Congress, there is already talk about future legislation, one that would create a physician-led board, augmented by qualified representatives from various fields, to create a future partnership between public and private to regulate health care in the United States. Things will surely change, for the new law allows coverage for more than 32 million new people (Grover, 2010). Taking the existing model from other national issues, this board, if passed into law, would be federal in its scope, yet possess independent qualities in order to oversee best practices. This, ostensibly, is the Democratic majority’s way of saying that the new law still allows too much wiggle room for powerful insurance companies to continue their decision-making powers with health care (Burdick, 2010). Congressional feeling is that doctors, not companies, should make and enforce medical practice rules, make judgments on deviations from those rules, and could work with much more transparency than can insurance conglomerates.

Making headlines for his opposition to Obama’s new legislative achievement is former (and current) presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who has launched, through his PAC web site, a fundraiser to begin efforts to repeal the brand new law. Saying that the new bill “raises taxes, slashes the more private side of Medicare, installs price controls, and puts a new federal bureaucracy in charge of health care” (Romney, 2010),  Romney’s defiance seems more of a political debating point for future campaigns than it does a sincere attempt to correct health care woes in America.

His specific proposals include creating incentives for people to get insured, just as he did when he was Governor of Massachusetts. He estimates that some form of medical insurance covered 98% of Massachusetts’ citizens while he was the leader of his state. Romney also advocates a subsidy for those who cannot afford coverage, based on a sliding scale commensurate with their income. He points out that the Massachusetts plan costs less than 2% of the state’s income to run.

A recent, scholarly research article (Crane, Davis, Reinhardt, & Saltman, 2010) on healthcare reform lists quality, access, efficiency, equity, and health outcomes as the top five domains by which healthcare should be graded. In the article, the authors compare domestic health care with that of five other, industrialized nations: Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Almost 70 indicators fell within those five domains. Consistently, the United States, in the pre-Obama healthcare law period, came out in fifth or sixth place when compared to these countries. I do not believe that this sort of comparison does much to propel us into much needed improvements. I believe it is impossible to compare the needs of the United States with other countries. Of course, there are going to be differences in health care. There are going to be differences in most any issue and the ways in which those issues can be measured.

In another article, Health and Human Services Cabinet Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urges Americans to look at the underlying causes for our most costly medical issues, like obesity and smoking. Precautionary programs could save billions of dollars, not only in the long run, but in the short haul too (Traynor, 2010). I agree with her ideas, because public health should be toward the top of our national agenda issues. It affects our pocketbooks and us.

References

Burdick, J. (2010). The next step for reform. The Baltimore Sun, Apr 4. Retrieved April 4, 2010 from http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.reform0404,0,3186123.story

Crane, R., Davis, K., Reinhardt, U., & Saltman, R. (2010). Health care reform: What the United States can learn from the experience of other developed nations. Health Services Research, 45(2), 588-601.

Grover, A. (2010). So many new patients; Are there enough doctors? National Public Radio, 28 Mar 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2010 from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125274322&ft=1&f=1003

Jones, B. (2010). What Obamacare can learn from Romneycare: Massachusetts’ plan makes far more sense. New York Daily News, 21 Mar. Retrieved April 5, 2010 from http://www.freestrongamerica.com/press/item

Romney, M. (2010). Press Release: On House passage of healthcare bill. Mitt Romney Free & Strong America PAC, 22 Mar. Retrieved April 5, 2010 from http://www.freestrongamerica.com/press/item/statement

Traynor, K. (2010). With or without health reform, officials eye improved care. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 15 Mar 2010, 67(6), 418-421.

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