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Barack Obama's Health Care Reform Plan - 2008 Presidential Election

Posted Jul 15th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team
The health care reform platform that Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has presented falls very much in line with the beliefs that the Democratic Party stand firmly behind. His goal focuses primarily on providing health care coverage to as many individuals as possible through spending additional savings that would occur through a discontinuing of tax cuts imposed by the Bush administration for those earning over $250,000 per year.

These funds will be allocated to guarantee that if this plan becomes law, all American's nationwide will be guaranteed health care coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions or illnesses.

To Obama, the rising number of uninsured individuals, the rapidly increasing cost of health care and prescription coverage, and the lack of spending on preventative care are all major factors that he has stated require serious reform to fix. To address these issues, the Obama plan uses the following three key points:

- Quality, affordable, and portable coverage for all
- Lower costs by modernizing the U.S. health care system
- Fight for new initiatives

Quality, affordable, and portable coverage for all

With the mindset of an immediate coverage of all American's upon the enacting of this plan into law, the previous instated barriers that prevented many who already have a condition to be refused coverage. The coverage itself would take on aspects of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) which members of Congress currently receive. The FEHBP covers all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care, which would all be mirrored in Obama's proposed plan.

The clutter, confusion, and high cost of health care in U.S. will also be addressed in this specific plan. The breakdown of the current paperwork and health care costs will be properly addressed allowing for little to no confusion. Much of the big health care costs have been shifted onto the shoulders of the government in this plan along with prevision for subsidizes that will aid those who fall not quite close enough to Medicaid eligibility.

The enrollment process will be drastically simplified, especially due to factors like the National Health Insurance Exchange (NHIE). Through the NHIE, private health care coverage will have to fall in line with the standards and practices provided by the public coverage for them to even be allowed to operate. All private insurers information would be compared and available for public review. This will give employers the ability to determine which plan they contribute to, as either way all employers will be required to pay towards the health insurance of their employees through either private or public. Small businesses would especially benefit from this plan as they would be given a large tax credit of up to 50% of the premiums that they would pay for their employees.

In comparison the plan proposed by Senator Hilary Clinton during her campaign, Obama has not opted to enforce mandatory coverage of all American's but has instead made it mandatory that anyone under the age of 25 will need to be covered through either their parents plans or other options made available.

Obama recognizes the contributions and hard work provided by the state based agency's and factors such as SCHIP and Medicaid. As such, these programs will only have the stipulation placed on them that they must at least meet the standards of quality and assistance that the nationally funded plan will provide. Obama even encourages states to continue experimenting to provide their residents with the more options focused on lowering their cost of health insurance and aid.

Lower costs by modernizing the U.S. health care system

In regard to cost, much of the plan is set to provide benefits for small to large businesses who provide coverage for their employees. The benefits take the form of tax breaks and reimbursements, many of which are only available in many cases if those funds are then used to lower the premiums of the covered employees. For example, any company that provides their employees with assistance for catastrophic illnesses will receive a portion of the costs reimbursed if they are then re-applied to lowering the overall spending.

Utilizing preventative care through any of the public or privately offered health insurance plans is another method of cost reduction that the Obama plan will take advantage of. With over 75% of health care costs, totaling over$1.7 trillion yearly, being attributed to treatments that could have been avoided through regular screenings and check-ups. By providing physicians with up to date information on their patients, the risk of these costs piling up will be greatly reduced.

Efficiency is also a large factor in the entirety of Obama's plan and directly relates to lowering the cost of health care in the U.S.. Through the implementation of several watchdog agency's, increased standards for care provided by the insurer and the physicians themselves, a reduction of maximum malpractice charges that can be brought against physicians, and providing detailed information to the public on all standards that these institutes and physicians will be held to, there will be less margin for error thus resulting in higher quality care.

Investing in health care IT systems will greatly cut costs on storing and sharing records pertinent to a physicians interaction with their patient. While a more open availability to this information is a drastic change from prior standpoints on this issue, the security insured by the Obama plan leave little to worry about.

As the cost of health insurance rises, so does the price of prescription medication. Without gaining control of the costs associated with prescription medication, neglect would enter back into the system as patients would still go without treatment due to cost. By forcing competition into this market through allowing patients to purchase their medication overseas and enforcing a cap on the profit margin allowed for the insurers and manufacturers in regard to prescription medications, the end result will be lower prices in a currently gouged market.

Fight for new initiatives

The need to provide better health care coverage requires advancements in many aspects of the industry. As such, Obama fully supports funding the biomedical research field on a national and worldwide level. The developments attained through this field of research have cut costs previously in many fields and have allowed for further prevention and early detection of numerous conditions.

Increasing awareness and providing additional funding for those with mental illness, physical disabilities, and specifically those with Autism have been the focal point for much of Obama's new initiatives. Many of these issues have continued over from his time as a U.S. Senator.

For additional information on Barack Obama's health care plan:
View the entire plan
View the plan synopsis

As a non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance to health care and prescription medication for those who can not afford to do so for themselves, we at feel that providing these services to those in need does not end at a financial level. It is our responsibility to provide you with access to news and information that will allow you to become involved in how your country's healthcare system addresses your needs.