Right now the issue is how a country can provide universal health coverage. About millions of individuals in the U.S. are uninsured.
What might this mean in terms of future grwoth in the U.S.?
What are viable alternative to this problem?
What might be implications with respect to other individuals?
What is the government's role in health care?
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Health care has been turned into a right in this country, and I just don't see it. I do want everyone to have access to effective, affordable health care; however, access is different than a universal right. I'm not exactly sure how this thinking became policy, but it has. Now what. The government is now obligated, apparently, to coverage for everyone. What it isn't obligated to do is take measures to make sure it's reasonably priced. Without that component, providing health care for everyone who does not currently have insurance in some form is likely to be a hardship on the same group of people who are paying taxes and producing the goods an services we all need and want.
1. As far as future growth, I'm not sure what you mean--economic growth? population growth? If you mean in terms of economic growth, I don't think that anyone has touted the health care reform legislation as an economic growth package. Proponents have argued that universal health care coverage will take care of some of the fraud problems and will eventually cause more people to pay for at least part of their health care. Opponents believe that the bill will stifle economic growth because it will inherently raise taxes and will cause some medical practices to refuse certain government coverage programs.
2. Some viable alternatives that I have heard presented are to introduce health care coverage reform without universal health care. These proposals include encouraging more tax-free health savings plans, where Americans place some of each paycheck into a health savings account and use that money only for medical expenses. Another suggestion is to introduce serious tort reform which would limit seemingly frivolous lawsuits which currently cause doctors and hospitals to pay exorbitant amounts of money for malpractice insurance. The current bill brought up a lot of issues such as eliminating the fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs (that's supposed to be happening). Finally, allow insurance companies to sell their products across state lines instead of being limited to regions as they currently are. Proponents suggest that this would encourage competition and lower prices.
3. In respect to individuals and universal health care, it's unclear right now just what effect it might have on each of us. It's difficult for me to believe that we are going to be able to insure upwards of 25 million currently uninsured people without paying more in taxes. Similarly, some individuals who had purchased cheap health insurance for catastrophic medical issues are already facing a loss of coverage because their coverage will not meet the new stipulations of the health care bill. I haven't heard what options are going to be available to these newly uninsured people.
4. I do believe that the government has a role in ensuring that Americans are not being discriminated against when it comes to health care, but outside of that, it's difficult to find a clear delineation of what the government's role in health care coverage is. The debate has often gone to health care, but currently medical facilities cannot deny a person health care. The debate should really stick to what it was originally--health care coverage--does the government have a place in requiring someone to buy health care coverage or is that an individual decision? This is the general issue.
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