Thursday, September 10, 2009

It finally happened. Now will it hap...

It finally happened.  Now will it happen?

That's what I'm left wondering this morning.  Obama finally came out and told Congress what he wants.  I'm sure he'll get something close to what he outlined last night.  So what did he say... going to the newspapers... oh wait, it is impossible to get a news article that talks about what Obama wants.  The New York Times? NOPE.  Chicago Tribune?  SUCKS.  Washington Post?  STINKS.  Seriously, can someone in the media tell me what Obama said last night?  Did anyone in the media listen to his speech?  This is amazing at how poorly it's being covered.  This lifeline from Politico is the best I can send you...  Hey, but at least we know they pointed out that Joe Wilson is a fucking idiot!  Oh wait, we knew that last night.

So I'll do it myself. <sighs/> Anything in italics is Obama's words from last night.  

We are the only advanced democracy on Earth – the only wealthy nation... Then there’s the problem of rising costs. We spend one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren’t any healthier for it. 

Amazing when you think about it.  Why is the GOP and some Dems against reform again? If universal coverage was so bad, then why does everyone else have it?

First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.

Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most... 

They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime... And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies – because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse... 

Now, if you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans who don’t currently have health insurance, the second part of this plan will finally offer you quality, affordable choices... We will do this by creating a new insurance exchange – a marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance at competitive prices....

That’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance – just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. Likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers...

And the insurance reforms that I've already mentioned would do just that, but an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange... I've insisted that, like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums its collects... The public option is only a means to that end, and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal....

I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I've talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs.

So let's review:
1) Insurance companies cannot deny anyone coverage.  They also cannot drop coverage when they want to.
2) There will be no maximum on coverage (I'm sure most people don't realize this, but most plans have a lifetime cap, if you hit, you're SOL).
3) There will be something called an insurance exchange were people and businesses can go to shop for health insurance.
4) Everyone in America will be forced to buy health insurance.
5) He wants a Public Option... but he doesn't have to have a public option.  Apparently, the public option is like the iPhone, it'd be cool to have but I don't have to have it.
6) Malpractice/tort reform won't solve everything, but we should probably do something about it.
7) If you have insurance, you can keep your insurance.

Okay... seven things.  Laid out nicely for us.  What to think?

Requiring everyone to buy health insurance isn't a cure all, end all... but it is a start.  This won't necessarily control costs, but it will increase the insurance pool.  And Obama's right about tort reform, it's not a silver bullet.  (What he is doing is throwing the GOP a bone.  Will they work with him?  Of course not.  Why?  Because they're fucking dickheads at the moment.  The real question is, why is the Republican party refusing health care reform?  If we don't do anything about health care, things will only get worse, and it will start to eat and destroy America from the inside out... who wants that?)

Final Thoughts:
This is a start.  Obama finally said what he wants.  It should make things a bit better.  But I'm still not sure how it controls costs. Health care—in and of itself—should improve under his plan.  However, are incentives being given for people to get preventive care?  Are their disincentives to going to the ER or the doctor for a cold?  What about end of life treatment?  And who is going to pay to keep a premature baby alive for the necessary time until it can live on his/her own?  Prescription drugs?  The insurance exchange seems... how will it work?

There are a lot of questions out there to be answered still.  This isn't the kind of health care reform that will totally change the face of America or drastically reduce costs or provide results that are as good as Cuba's, let alone Frances.  But it's a start.  And Obama telling Congress and American what he wants was necessary.  Now, let's get it done.

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