Healthcare Reform pt I
During a chat on twitter (with Cedric @nativenotes – who you should follow if you are on twitter) about Obama’s Healthcare Reform Proposal, I realized how few people felt comfortable participating in this debate that has our politicians’ and political commentators’ panties in a bunch. I see a need to break down Obama’s Healthcare Reform Proposal to its barest elements to make the discussion on its pros and cons accessible to everyone. So for those who are blindly supporting Obama because he is “their” president, let’s drop the ignorance and get to the issues.
First things first, here is the actual text of President Obama’s proposal. I would urge everyone to read it. Simply put, President Obama’s goal is to make healthcare more affordable by decreasing costs for those who already have insurance, and providing affordable options for those who currently do not have health insurance.
How does he propose to do this?
- Stop the Paper Trail – instead of medical records on paper, store them electronically. This could save $77 billion per year upon implementation, however getting electronic health information will cost $10 billion per year over the next 5 years.
- Prevention Care and Management – By supporting people’s efforts to avoid getting sick in the first place through preventative care such as breast cancer screenings, colorectoral cancer screening, Americans can live longer. Not a cost-effective portion of Obama’s Health plan, and no actual implementation set forth in the proposal, however the point is to extend and save the lives of Americans, not save/make money.
- Disease Management for Chronic Illnesses: along the lines of saving lives, totally necessary. Despite what President Obama says, not likely to save money
- Integrate Care for Chronic Illnesses: when elderly and poor people have chronic illnesses, they are usually going straight to the hospital (which costs more and leads to inconsistencies in treatment) and are being treated there, although they should really be treated in their home. Obama’s plan seeks to integrate care in such a way that people who should be staying home can do so and get the treatment they need rather than piling up hospital bills.
- Transparency in Quality and Costs: people never know how much their treatment will cost until they’ve already been treated. Asking price is never the same as the insurance company’s Contract price – meaning whatever “price” they negotiated with the doctor. If people know how much their care will cost, they can shop around for cheaper insurance, or even see if their doctor will give them a discount for paying cash. So in Obama’s plan, more transparency in Healthcare costs will be implemented with the hopes of giving patients more options.