Monday, May 17, 2010

Health Care Costs and Health Care Reform.

Here is a short descriptive paper one of the students wrote about health care costs and the health care reform of 2010.

Frightening statistics surrounding the healthcare field appear to be released every day. In 2008, it was projected that 16.2% of our nation’s economy is spent on healthcare. New reports have that number increasing again for 2009. Early estimates report that Americans spent $2.5 trillion on healthcare, giving the overall percentage a gain to about 17.3% of our nation’s budgetary allowance. This symbolizes the biggest one-year expansion of healthcare’s share in our nation’s economy on record. Justifications for such dramatic increase are accredited to the recession. As millions of Americans have lost their jobs and consequently their health insurance, Medicaid has seen a record increase involving those individuals that qualify. Roughly 45 million people remain uninsured, translating into sky rocketing costs for current insurance holders.

The United States government may or may not have finally come up with a solution. Following decades of failed attempts by Democrats, the United States House of Representatives made history when they passed health care reform in a 219 to 212 vote on March 21st, 2010. Two days later, President Obama signed the bill it into law. So far, Democrats vow that the new law will yield great changes for the American public. Beginning with the reduction of premium costs and providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, 32 million Americans are expected to be able to afford healthcare who otherwise would go uninsured. It sets the stage for a new competitive health insurance market, allowing millions of citizens to choose from the same pool that members of Congress do. By overseeing insurance companies, the government boasts that there will come an end to the discrimination of people with pre-existing conditions. Perhaps at a greater sell, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the healthcare reform will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years. Yet, the reality of healthcare reform has not been met without criticism.

Just as one argues that the reform will greatly reduce our nation’s budget, those that oppose argue that the $938 billion price tag for this bill (over the next ten years) outweighs its advantages. Lack of funding to support the massive bill would, in turn, lead to rationed care, longer waits, and delays. Furthermore, the bill neglects a secondary source of negligent spending, the pharmaceutical industry. In 2009, spending increased a whopping 5.2% to $246.3 billion dollars. Researchers hold the growth of brand name drugs, the demand for H1N1 vaccines, and the increased per-person use of drugs as responsible. Some concerned insurance holders fear that the quality of medical care will nose dive as the demand for care steadily increases.

Regardless of what the supporters and those that oppose the bill say, the outcomes of the healthcare reform have yet to be tallied. What faces the American public now is a lengthy waiting game.

The following websites were used as references:

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