The Obama health care plan, changes explained

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 By

Obama’s health care plan is ready

Obama health care plan

Obama's health care plan blends the House and Senate proposals. Image from Flickr.

The Obama health care plan, in its most recent incarnation, is now available for all to see on the White House web site. Of course, it’s a very lengthy document and some parts are a little hard to understand, so I have composed a summary focusing on the parts that have changed since the last health care bill was made public.

Obama’s health care plan contains elements from both the House and Senate versions of the bill, but the White House site says it more closely resembles the senate version. One important question people want to know up front is how the government will pay for Obama’s health care plan. People don’t want to see the feds take out another cash loan and incur more national debt.

Paying for the Obama health care plan

The White House site says the bill will make health care more affordable:

The House and Senate health insurance bills lower premiums through increased competition, oversight, and new accountability standards set by insurance exchanges.  The bills also provide tax credits and reduced cost sharing for families with modest income. The President’s Proposal improves the affordability of health care by increasing the tax credits for families.

Low- and middle-income families also will get tax breaks to help pay for health insurance. Check out a table of income levels and tax breaks.

Crackdown

Part of Obama’s health care plan focuses on cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse. The bill creates a comprehensive sanctions database and calls for registration and background checks of billing agencies and individuals. It expands access to the health care integrity and protection data bank.

The president’s proposal also aims to ensure that people have access to mental health care. It also provides the ability for real-time data review and increases sanctions for committing Medicare or Medicaid fraud. Read a full list of crackdown measures.

In the long run

As far as making sure the cost of Obama’s health care plan can continue to be sustainable, the web site says:

President’s Proposal creates a set of benchmark payments at different percentages of the current average fee-for-service costs in an area.  It phases these benchmarks in gradually in order to avoid disruption to beneficiaries, taking into account the relative payments to fee-for-service costs in an area.

The plan also will delay and reform the high-cost plan excise tax, broaden Medicare hospital insurance, increase fees on brand-name prescriptions and close tax loopholes to prevent unjustified tax shelters. You can read about more improvements and view a searchable copy of the Obama health care plan at WhiteHouse.gov.

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