2009 Health Care Reform Bill

Since the election of President Obama, the issue of health care reform has been on the forefront.  There are currently 46 Million Americans that do not have health insurance either by choice or do not have the ability to get it.  In addition, health care costs across the United States have increased at an annual rate of 6.1% since 1990 and are currently at $2.2 trillion as of 2007.

The bill that has been passed by the House committee is the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.  This proposal would provide a new option for health insurance provided by the government as well as further regulation of the private insurance companies.  This bill would also create an exchange to show the cost and features of every health care provider side by side to give Americans and businesses an easy way to make a decision on which health care provider they would like to go with.

The health care bill is currently out of committee and scheduled to be voted on after Congress comes back from their recess ending in November.

Health Care Bill Highlights

- Prohibits any insurer from excluding coverage due to preexisting conditions
- Guarantees coverage to all individuals and employers and automatic renewal of coverage
- Variances in premiums will only be determined by age, area, or family enrollment
- Health Care Providers can not have an annual or lifetime coverage limit
- Limits out of pocket expenses to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for a family
- Requires all employers with business payroll over $250,000 to provide insurance to employees
- Imposes an additional tax on individuals not enrolled in a health care plan
- Expands Medicaid to cover individuals and families that make 133% of the federal poverty level
- Helps fill a gap in the Medicare Part D drug program

Opponents Clash In Town Halls Across The Country

As the debate about health care reform heats up more people are voicing their opinions. It seems that there are many sides to this issue. Not many deny that health care costs are out of control and access is limited. The point of contention seems to a question of trust. The current system of health care delivery is a cascading failure driven by the quest for profit from every hand that touches it. Insurers, Big Pharma, Corporate Health Care Providers, and Wealth-Driven Malpractice Suits ravage the system an leaves little but cost driven decisions for the patient to contend with.

Daily confrontations between opposing viewpoints echo fear and distrust. There are those would continue to let profits dictate their health care decisions and remain with the status quo. For those that are already financially locked out of the system that is not a solution. Then there are others that would turn over their health care decisions to a single-payer government bureaucracy. For those remember their last trip to the post office or drivers license bureau it is a looming nightmare

A Question Of Trust

Healthcare is not a luxury, it is a basic need that every citizen should have access to. Not all phases of our lives should be controlled by the free market and profit motives. This is one of those issues that should not. Choosing who makes our individual health care decisions is the real debate. The problem is that we cannot agree on who we should trust for this. Do we trust the corporate interests that have brought us to the breaking point? Absolutely not. Or should we trust a cold and uncaring beauacracy whose thirst for control over our daily lives seems unquenchable. Absolutely not.

There is only entity suitable for this. The one that benefits or suffers from the decisions made. There is only one organization that can and should be responsible to make life and death decisions for an individual. That is the individual themself. Only the patient guided by the informed advice of their personal physician can and should be in charge of making health care decisions. In the final analysis this is a question of trust.

The time for health care reform has come. As individuals we need to find a way to rebuild the doctor-patient relationship as the guiding organization for health care decisions. This very small group that makes the face-to-face decisions based on factors that profit cannot see is who should back be in control.

Unfortunately this will mean implementing changes that will eliminate the $25 aspirin, multi-million dollar insurance CEO salaries, and lottery-like malpactice rewards. It will also mean that everyone will be eligible regardless of their current health. Costs should be based on a national experience pool rather than state or company specific selective pools. There are many ways to control costs without turning our health decisions over to the government.

The health care reform debate that is taking place is long over due. If we take the time to carefully consider our positions rather than echo the chants of special interests on either side of this debate we can find a solution. When we finally vote on a compromise, perhaps for once congress could have a special session at night - when the lobbyists are asleep.