This is post 2 of 4 on Healthcare.  See the intro to this discussion here and the first of the four posts here.

This post will attempt to describe the Obama Healthcare Plan.  Most of what you read here will be taken from the Obama/Biden Healthcare Plan as described on barackobama.com   It is broken down into the following areas to which I have attached brief summaries from Mr. Obama’s plan.

LOWER COSTS TO MAKE OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WORK FOR PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES – NOT JUST INSURANCE COMPANIES – “The key is to provide information, incentives and support to help physicians and others work together to improve quality of care while reducing costs.”  “The Obama-Biden plan will improve efficiency and lower costs in the health care system by: (1) adopting state-of-the-art health information technology systems; (2) ensuring that patients receive and providers deliver the best possible care, including prevention and chronic disease management services; (3) reforming our market structure to increase competition; and offering federal reinsurance to employers to help ensure that unexpected or catastrophic illnesses do not make health insurance unaffordable or out of reach for businesses and their employees.”

AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE COVERAGE OPTIONS FOR ALL – “Barack Obama and Joe Biden will guarantee affordable, accessible health care coverage for all Americans.”  “The Obama-Biden plan provides new affordable health insurance options by: (1) guaranteeing eligibility for all health insurance plans; (2) creating a National Health Insurance Exchange to help Americans and businesses purchase private health insurance; (3) providing new tax credits to families who can’t afford health insurance and to small businesses with a new Small Business Health Tax Credit; (4) requiring all large employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees or towards the cost of the public plan; (5) requiring all children have health care coverage; (5) expanding eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs; and (6) allowing flexibility for state health reform plans.”

PROMOTING PREVENTION & STRENGTHENING PUBLIC HEALTH – “Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that protecting and promoting health and wellness in this nation is a shared responsibility among individuals and families, school systems, employers, the medical and public health workforce, and federal and state and local governments. All parties must do their part, as well as collaborate with one another, to create the conditions and opportunities that will allow and encourage Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles.”

On the surface, Mr. Obama’s plan addresses many of the 8 issues I posed in the Intro to this discussion.  I have highlighted below those areas that I think Mr. Obama’s plan addresses.  Those are:

1. Cost – Is the price of adequate healthcare too high? 

2. Healthcare Delivery  Is their a better way to distribute/deliver healthcare?

3.  Prescription Costs – Why are pharmaceuticals priced so much lower in almost every country outside of the USA?

4.  Legal Costs – Do malpractice lawsuits and the protection against lawsuits help or hinder the system?

5.  Prevention – Does our healthcare delivery model neglect prevention as a tool for national health care?  

6.  Portability – Does a system make sense that would allow a person to retain his or her healthcare coverage inspite of where he or she might work?

7.  Insurance – What part should be played by Insurance Companies in Healthcare delivery?  I appears that the Obama Plan gives a new insurance role to government.

8.  Stem cell Research/Cloning/Abortion/Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide – Should there be national policy on these issues?  This may be a mute point as it appears that he may avoid legislation on many of these items and just decree what he wants done as he did on Stem-cell research.

9.  Bonus Issue – Is healthcare a right or a privilege?  It appears that the Obama Plan assumes that Healthcare is a right.  

If I have missed a key element of the healthcare debate, please feel free to bring it to my attention.

The next post will discuss my opinions as to how Mr. Obama’s Plan will address each of the issues and will attempt to list the pros and cons of the Plan.  The final post will be all opinion (not just somewhat opinionated like the other parts of this post).  It will be my assessment of what would and would not happen under Mr. Obama’s Healthcare Plan.

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