Health Care Reform and Debt Relief are Connected
In the midst of the health care reform, many Americans are worried about debt relief. High medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the nation and many see it as the biggest “ignored necessity.” Housewife Brandy Giant of Littleton Pennsylvania stated, “When my husband lost his job, we had no choice but to cut corners…when he remained out of work for a year, we had to cut health insurance out of our budget. It’s easier now because we’re both healthy, but once we have children, that won’t be an option.”
Many Americans are seeing high health insurance premiums as a burden and cutting them out of their budgets. President Obama is calling for health care reform, declaring the issue a “ticking time bomb” and claiming that without some serious revamping it could cause America to “go the way of GM.” The president spoke at the American Medical Association’s annual meeting, looking for supporters who will help reshape the industry. His goal is to bring health care costs down and to bring coverage to the millions of uninsured Americans who are doing without.
Criticism of Health Care Reform
Mitt Romney is a direct opponent of Obama’s plans, stating that government-dictated insurance plans are a “Trojan horse.” GOP Rep. Tom Price stated that Obama is setting the nation up for a “government takeover” of health care. He believes that Obama’s proposed committee to police the effectiveness of medical treatments would open the door for a “rationing board” to veto doctor’s treatments and deny patient’s the healthcare they need.
Also garnering criticism is the proposed funding needed for health care reform. The president said that the cost of providing coverage to 50 million uninsured Americans would be approximately $1 trillion over the next decade. Obama wants to fund the health care cost by cutting federal payments to hospitals, cutting money from Medicare and Medicaid, and increasing in taxes and spending cuts to the health care industry.
Critics are condemning Obama’s proposed tax increases, citing that immediately after the recession is the least favorable time to introduce more financial strain on a country trying desperately to find debt relief.
The AMA Annual Meeting
The president tried to garner support from the 250,000 physicians at the AMA meeting. His purpose was to free physicians of the role of “bean-counters and paper-pushers” and do a proper assessment of procedures to find the optimum ways to handle health care. Obama called out for physicians to assist him in informing lawmakers of the importance of reform. “To most Americans, you are the health care system. Americans do what you recommend. That is why I will listen to you and work with you to pursue reform that works for you,” said the president.
One key issue with garnering medical community support is malpractice. Doctors have long been complaining about the high costs of malpractice insurance, and would like some limit on malpractice lawsuits to be instituted. Obama addressed the issue stating, he sympathizes with doctors “who feel like they are constantly looking over their shoulder for fear of lawsuits and with the desire to curb them.” He firmly denied wanting to support capping malpractice lawsuits, however stating that doing so would be unfair to truly injured patients.
The future of health care
The future of health care is an unknown. With huge numbers of Americans going without coverage, something has to be done to help them. Many Americans are waiting with bated breath for a solution that fits into their budgets and debt relief plans. Without some careful planning, more and more consumers will find themselves facing outrageous medical bills and no viable option of paying them.