Health care debate

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Health care debate

Post by myi on Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:24 pm

There is SO much hype about it these days and I must confess that I do not understand it very well. Help, please?

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Re: Health care debate

Post by stechen on Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:23 pm

It is a rather complicated issue that's hard to summarize... basically, various different angles you can start from.

From what I've gathered though, it appears that one of the big things is the "public option", which is essentially an alternative to private health insurance companies that shouldn't be mandatory in any way. There's been much criticism of this as government run healthcare, but after examining the situation a bit more closely I think that's a little bit off the base.

The extent of new government involvement in the health care system is the existence of two key provisions of several of the health bills that are under consideration. (or at this point in time may have been already considered - I'm a little behind on American news right now) The first one would require larger corporations (ex: Wal-Mart) to provide health insurance options for full-time employees. The second is the "public option" I mentioned before. To be more precise, it's proposed as a government run insurance company that would compete with existing insurance companies. They'd be limited in the sense that they wouldn't be able to exclude people for pre-existing conditions (which is currently a big issue) but on the other hand as it's non-profit, in theory that would allow for lower cost of insurance. Basically, it would provide competition, ideally forcing existing insurance ompanies to lower their own costs.

The major appeal seems to be that the public option would provide a market for insurance in places where there currently isn't any, giving citizens greater choice. There are some other proposals going around as well, but this is as far as I know, the big one.
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Re: Health care debate

Post by myi on Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:23 am

Thanks Steven. Focus on the Family and other Christian sources deplore the health reform bill(s) because of its alleged support for abortion and euthanasia, etc. Where and how can one get to the facts about how the new policy might deal with these topics?

It seems like the reforms will really help the poor, but create little impact on the middle and upper classes. I do like helping the poor, and personally all this debate about side effects, though valid, seems to escape the crux of the matter. But, I could be convinced otherwise.

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Re: Health care debate

Post by stechen on Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:24 am

Well, I think one of the key things about the situation is that currently, we don't have a universal health care system in America. Which is to say, if you are poor enough (and it's not unlikely), it's possible that the only doctor you can get would be one in the emergency room, which at the very least from an economic level is not cost efficient.

I wouldn't be surprised if abortion or euthanasia are mentioned in a bill regarding the complete overhaul of the health insurance system, as realistically, those two things are quite related to cost, which is unfortunately a big deal. Still, overall I see it is a red herring, within this particular debate, that is.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/07/the_house_releases_its_health-.html

Klein summarizes the House's bill - he also provides the links, if you are so inclined. I think this is good starting point.

Overall, you're correct in that expanding health insurance (and by extension, health care) to more people this would benefit the poor more than the rich, since the latter presumably can already afford health care. I'm fairly certain that most people don't disagree that everyone deserves access to health care of some form, though they certainly disagree about the methods to achieve that. The most basic type of disagreement I think, would be "private insurance" vs "single-payer".

Just as food for thought, even when you do have the government laying a role in health care, there are distinctions. For example, if we examine Canada and the UK - the former is "single-payer", where the government pays for health care, and the latter is "national health care" (which I suppose some would refer to as socialized medicine) in which the government provides health care aka it pays the doctors and other things, there are major differences in implementation. Canada's a bit complicated in that the health insurance is paid for via taxes to the central government, which then dispenses funding to each province... but each province can decide how much it wants to spend. Things get even more interesting when under the UK's system, you still *are* free to buy private health insurance instead if you want.

In either case, it's significantly different from what we currently have in the US. To clarify, we do have similar programs. Medicare is an example of single-payer health *insurance*, while the VA actually provides health *care*. But not anything on a national scale - Medicare is as far as I know exclusively for seniors, while the VA is for veterans.
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