20 Nov 2018

What is Healthcare Reform?

What is Healthcare Reform?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Some Democrats will tell you that it is Medicare for All. Republicans will tell you that it is Obamacare repealed and replaced, although there was never a Republican proposal for replacement. Libertarians will tell you that healthcare reform is the elimination of all government and insurance company involvement. Socialists will tell you that the only solution is for government to take over the entire healthcare system.

Why So Much Interest in Reform?

Despite the passage of the Affordable Care (“Obamacare”), more than 27.6 million people remained uninsured at the end of 2017. This is more than the population of Florida and just a bit less than the population of Texas. If all of the uninsured were concentrated in one state, howls for immediate reform would be loud and long.

Healthcare expenses are still the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. 42% of all bankruptcies are due to healthcare costs. Healthcare in the US cost $10,345 per person per year in 2016. This is about double that of Germany. The U.S. is the only highly developed country without some form of universal healthcare. Even India has just adopted it.

What Is the U.S. Such an Outlier?

There are a lot of reasons. Presidents Truman, Nixon, and Clinton made at least token efforts toward universal healthcare. Obama succeeded in greatly reducing the uninsured population, but Obamacare left a large group of people too rich to get subsidies but too poor to pay for insurance on their own.

Despite the evidence from Canada, Britain, France, and Germany that a universal healthcare system can work, Americans are still trapped by the fear that universal care means less quality of care. The facts militate against this; each of these countries has better overall health than the U.S. by many measures and life expectancy in the U.S is continuously declining. The best answer to the U.S.’s outlier status is that we have a lot of worries about healthcare that are simply not borne out by the facts.

So, What Does the Next Stage of Reform Look Like?

With a divided government and a President who is hostile to healthcare expansions (regardless of what he says), progress – or even change – in the near future is very unlikely. One obvious step that may be taken after 2020 is allowing anyone to “buy in” to Medicare at a reasonable cost. Because Medicare’s administrative expenses are so low, it can afford to be cheaper than commercial health insurance. Another obvious answer is to expand the pool of people eligible for Obamacare subsidies by raising the income limits. Neither of these steps would take us to universal coverage; they would just move us closer.

What About Quality of Care?

Despite the belief that the U.S. healthcare system is the best in the world, medical errors are the third-highest cause of death. Part of the problem is overtreatment, not undertreatment. Efforts to improve quality, regardless of what is done to expand coverage, are needed.

What’s the Bottom Line for Me?

If you are not on Medicare or Medicaid and not eligible for the Obamacare subsidies, your only option is to find a health insurance plan you can afford. The professionals at HealthQuoteInfo.com can help you do just that. Call 855-614-5057 to begin the process of finding a plan today.

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