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President Obama: A victory for health care?

Now that the results are in and the United States has officially elected Barack Obama as its next president, what does that mean to you and what will that mean for health care in America?

After nearly two years of campaigns, countless pages of material written about Obama’s health care plan and the possibility of reform, the U.S. has elected a Democrat as president and put Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.

What do you predict the next four years will bring?

This is your space to reflect, comment and debate. Please share your thoughts, and let’s get a vigorous discussion going.

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Peden B. McLeodfanta,rnMichael SlyderXRayjohn metsa Recent comment authors
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Peden B. McLeod
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Peden B. McLeod

I hope that President Obama will read Robert J. Samuelson’s article in the January 19, 2009 edition of Newsweek. Every point is well taken.

fanta,rn
Guest
fanta,rn

I AM UNCONFORTABLE WITH ALL THE TALK ABOUT COMPUTERIZED SHARING OF MEDICAL RECORDS. I FEEL THIS WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES TO DENY COVERAGE FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS.

Michael Slyder
Guest

Given the current economic crisis, I find it extremely difficult to believe that any health care proposal which expands coverage through government management will find consensus support in the legislative body. What I hope… no, what I pray is that Obama’s message of change reflects a true desire to find new solutions to our complex economic and social problems. I invite the readers on this site to visit my website (www.containedcapitalism.com) and review an economic theory that provides, among other things, a unique solution to the health care crisis. I am NOT selling anything; I only ask for your support.… Read more »

XRay
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XRay

ITS THE HOSPITALS, STUPID! Honestly consider the following: Most doctor visits really cost at most $120. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the doctor that often. Maybe 4 times a year. I can afford that, same as I can afford to fix my car. It is unpleasant. I’d rather spend my cash on other things, and I maintain my car so it won’t happen too often. BUT!!!! HOSPITALS SCARE THE CRAP OUT OF ME. I don’t know how they get away with charging what they do. Let me explain: As a purchaser for a medical office… Read more »

john metsa
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john metsa

Does it make sense to try and jump start an ailing economy by focusing on the implementation of a “universal healthcare plan” for every U.S. citizen? At this critical time in our great country’s history, is it time we resolve these tumultuous challenges with equally breathtaking solutions? From private industry to public education, from small businesses to giant corporations, from young to old, literally, from the cradle to the grave, a country as great as ours needs to figure out a way to ensure the wellness and security of all of its people. With the gargantuous “bailout” package waiting in… Read more »

Richard Ferreira
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Richard Ferreira

Much of what Jill presents as issues is correct, pre-existing complaints, delayed claim payment, issues surrounding group coverage and local marketing. Fraud is factored into all premiums at a rate that would astound many and this factoring includes a profit margin for the insurer. Jill calls for grass root attention to the problem, says that waiting for Washington isn’t an answer but in almost the same breath asks for congressional hearings. I would suggest that some of the results demonstrate an opportunity. I agree that the current state of affairs with healthcare being addressed through states and even local markets… Read more »

Jill
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Jill

It is imperative that all the bloggers here- obvioulsy you care enough about the issue to opine your views, contact you local doctors, hospital, town boards, county commissioners, state government and yes, your congressinal representatives to urge (better yet demand) the formation of a Healthcare Reform Coaltion that begins its work at the grassroots level. A complete fact finding commission needs to be conducted of the issues facing patient’s and providers at each state level at the very least. The isurance and pharmacy industries are well represented by lobbyists but patient’s and providers are not. Further, our healthccare system has… Read more »

debbie
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I think the problem with this whole discussion is that it assumes that insurance is necessary in the field of health care. People “insure” events that are truly accidents or freakishly happenstance incidents, like a house fire or car collisions. Health care is not a rare occurrence or unpredictable, it is needed from the moment we are in the womb. We are on a course toward death from the moment we are born, and to introduce and willingly invite a complicated entanglement like insurance and the salaries of all those additional paper pushers into every simple transaction is part of… Read more »

Nick Polimeni
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Nick Polimeni

I like to think that the “hope” that Obama talks about goes hand-in-hand with public responsibility and participation. Obama talks about listening to the people, and insists on public responsibility. If anything, the hope door that he opens should be seen as one where the public is expected to take more active participation in the process by contributing ideas, and getting involved. At least he gives us the idea that he will not ignore us, and that he does expect us to talk to him and his administration. At the same time, I can’t help harbor a gnawing feeling of… Read more »

Nick Polimeni
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Nick Polimeni

Has anyone seen a universal health care plan in the proposed stage? I think it would be rational to create such a plan, or if it does exist, review it and comment and so forth. I think popular participation and knowledge will be important in creating a system based on people’s real experiences and needs, instead of waiting for Congress to propose something and then react to theirs, with not enough time to debate issues which should have been debated earlier. What I hear from most people is that they prefer a single payer system, with proportional contribution based on… Read more »

Richard Ferreira
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Richard Ferreira

Peter, now you are completely off track. Based on my personal knowledge as an insurance executive, I can assure you that that premium costs, coverage and the entire system of control is driven by profit in the insurance industry. You are so far off base with respect to a single payer system and nothing about it would fit the American scheme or marketplace. What I suggest is competition among the insurers based on their premium, coverage and service in a free marketplace. Insurers are not providers. Insurers are payers and that is all. Let them compete on what they do,… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Richard, I think you’ll find as has been dicussed here before that insurnace profit is not what drives costs, or at least the bulk of them. I certainly think that getting rid of all insurance companies (through single-pay) would not only get rid of profits but also reduce paperwork and overhead, a better way to reduce insurance costs even for providers. You will not get competing insurance companies reducing their reimbursments to drive down costs because providers will just not use them and we will have a worse provider patchwork than we do now.

Richard Ferreira
Guest
Richard Ferreira

Peter, I agree that leaving it to Insurers alone would not produce the desired result. The fact is that they would drive down the costs of provider payout but with a constraint on their profit margin being required to show that 85% of all premium dollars would be used for provider oayout. Any surplus would offset the following year’s premium and not accepted into their profit margin. Their profit growth would be based in volume of dollars and not as a percentage of premium. In the ideal, the administrative costs of a health insurance company should be approximately 10% leaving… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Richard, trying to rely on insurers to control costs will not work. They simply pass costs on and have shown they have no desire to control costs – except their own health payout costs. If you want “risk” leveled by state I think the insurance companies will gladly do it – by raising premiums. Using taxes to pay for healthcare is something I support, but when not done through a single-pay system would not reduce costs, no matter how many insurers compete for the business the input costs will still be the main driver.

Public Health Bugle
Guest

The economic situation we are facing will have a significant impact on any likely health reform.
Here are some things that need to be addressed:
-Defining the fragmented health care industry
-Controlling the inflated health care prices
-Pass SCHIP
-Study the success of other countries’ health care delivery system, but have it tailored to the U.S. as it grows in population. Maybe consider health reform from a state level vs nationally.
-Empower individuals to set up proper health habits so to reduce chronic conditions and other preventative ‘diseases.’ This in turn will reduce the number of hospital visits.