Health care in America
Consumers are still using payday loans to fund their health care expenses. Health costs remain high and they are a major reason why people file bankruptcy. While people continue to struggle, the health care debate is in full swing.
President Obama has a plan to extend coverage to about 31 million uninsured Americans, police insurance company practices that deny benefits and curb the huge growth of spending on medical care. Last week Democrats pushed to move health care legislation through the senate. The final vote was 60 to 39 and it opened the door for a showdown to be held later this month.
“Doing nothing is not an option”
The debate is creating sharp opposition from both republicans and democrats. Democrat Harry Reid accused republicans of trying to thwart the public debate over national health care. He said, “Imagine if, instead of debating whether to abolish slavery, instead of debating whether giving women and minorities the right to vote, those who disagreed had muted discussion and killed any vote.” On the other hand, republican Senator Mitch McConnell said that the vote was anything but standard. The bill, he said, would “raise taxes, cut Medicare and create massive and unsustainable debt.” The only unified thought running through both parties was voiced by Senator Mary Landrieu who said, “It is clear to me that doing nothing is not an option.”
What to do is up for debate
Much of the debate over health care centers on specific legislation that requires most Americans to carry insurance and provides subsidies to those who won’t be able to afford it. Corporations could potentially be fined if they don’t provide coverage to employees. The industry as a whole would be regulated under the new bill and no longer allowed to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Budget analysts are projecting that the bill would cost $979 billion over the next ten years but it would reduce deficits over the same period of time and adequately cover 94% of the insurable population.
The health care bill would create insurance exchanges that begin in 2014 and mostly affect lower-income and uninsured citizens. No longer would either group need to use family loans, payday loans or credit cards to fund huge deductibles either. The bill includes billions of dollars in tax credits for those who meet specific income criteria.
House divided over health care
The House approved a version of a health care bill earlier this year in a vote of 220 to 215. All democrats voted to move the bill forward, as did two independents. All opposing votes were cast by republicans. The house is sharply divided on the issue and arguments are expected to continue for quite some time.
Obama’s health care plan in motion
Only time will tell where the health care plan will end up, but the words of Senator Landrieu are correct: “Doing nothing is not an option.” President Obama is currently working to push through a plan that brings affordable insurance options to the voting public. The sooner a bill is passed, the sooner low- to mid-income-level citizens can stop using payday loans, family help, and retirement funds to pay huge, uninsured medical expenses.