For decades now, Americans have been hearing about health care reform but haven’t seen a comprehensive bill passed that will guarantee insurance for all citizens. We’ve seen Medicare and Medicaid introduced, know prescription options have been added and understand that VA care for veterans as well as special health care for members of Congress already exists.
But, most Americans remain in the dark when it comes to the health care legislation being proposed right now, which is understandable as the bill is some 1017 pages long and our legislators haven’t even read it!
Reform Needed? Absolutely!
Clearly, reform of the current system is desperately needed, but getting to that point is where things get complicated. No matter how reform is enacted it will be costly perhaps the most expensive piece of legislation ever passed, easily dwarfing plans from Franklin D. Roosevelt which brought about Social Security and Lyndon B. Johnson which led to the Great Society initiative.
It isn’t possible to tackle every issue with the legislation winding its way through the House and the Senate, but this we know: the basic bill will cost one trillion dollars which is on top of the $787 billion bail out pushed through Congress in February and quickly made law. You may have heard certain information about parts of the bill, but remain mystified as to what is really being proposed. Let’s take a look at some important facts related to what is being discussed, keeping in mind that some portions of the bill may be removed, amended or new information included:
Fact – Only one third of uninsured people will be covered. Yes, that’s right – only about fifteen of the forty-seven million people currently uninsured will get covered. And what will that cost Americans? At least one trillion dollars! That means that if the plan is to cover all uninsured people then the cost would rise to at least three trillion dollars.
Fact – National health care would fund abortions. Yes, it is true – depending on the wording of the bill and which portion of the bill read, there is a provision in it to fund abortions. Exactly what this means isn’t quite clear but pro-life advocates have been scouring the bill and have found strong evidence that abortion funding will be included.
Fact – The elderly would be required to obtain “end of life counseling.” Oh, yeah this is one provision that has a lot of people upset. Starting at age 65, seniors will be counseled on end of life options, whatever that means. If you’re healthy, then this should be just a routine. If you’re sick, especially chronically ill, then a government representative will talk with you about your dying options.
Fact – Health care will be rationed. Absolutely! There is no way that the government can provide the same level of care to everyone. If you’re elderly or if you’re very sick, there will be a limit to just how much the government will do to preserve your life. President Obama has alluded to this when he spoke at a town meeting where a woman told him about her mother getting a pacemaker at the age of 99 (see the video). The president, who is often long winded and circuitous in his answers, mentioned that taking a pain pill may be what Americans will have to get used to under a national plan.
Some Thoughts In Closing
There are a number of things which Congress must consider when tackling health care legislation. This includes the cost of the plan and how it will be paid; who will oversee health care and have final say on how patients are treated; will patients be able to visit the doctor of their choice; can people opt out of the plan if they have their own plan or choose to be self insured; etc.
Medicare, Medicaid and care for our veterans and active military personnel shows that government care is already in place, but what it doesn’t show is that these arrangements are cost effective nor are they free from abuse. Americans want health care reform but in order to expand the system, plenty of people want the language rewritten and certain provisions removed.
Above all, cleaning up existing plans would go a long way toward bringing about national health care, as Americans are rightfully worried that the plans being proposed are too costly and infringe upon personal freedoms.
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