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On March 21st 2010, the Health care reform bill was passed by the House of Representatives, amidst disapproval from the republicans. Since the establishment of Medicare in 1965, the health care reform bill is viewed as one of the most comprehensive reforms to be enacted in the health care system of the U.S. The passage of this bill is viewed by the Democrats as a remarkable move aimed at improving the care system; the bill carries stringent rules for the insurance sector. President Obama has affirmed that the bill is people friendly and aims at promoting the health of all. Nevertheless, there is still a crucial debate on this bill. With all the mudslinging and posturing from both Democrats and Republicans, it is not easy to identify facts from fiction in health care matters. This research paper aims at discussing the main issues relating to the bill, particularly its pros and cons.
The pros and cons of the Health care reform bill
The most significant advantage of this bill is that it will increase the insurance coverage for the uninsured Americans. It estimated that approximately 32 million Americans who are uninsured will get coverage; this translates to about 95% of all legal residents who are covered by health insurance. The bill has provisions that will facilitate low income earners in maintaining and purchasing coverage, in addition the bill proposes an enlarged Medicaid system to cater for residents who are not in a position to afford insurance (Nye 1).
For those who are affected by diseases now, the bill will provide immediate help. 90 days after the bill is enacted, immediate access to health insurance for the uninsured will be available through the high-risk pool.
For the lower class families and individuals who are categorized within 133% to 400% limit of the federal poverty level, will be able to access health coverage by purchasing policies at a rate that is subsidized from special exchanges that are state-based. For the working class in small companies, they will be able to receive insurance coverage from their employers who will get subsidized rates. These small companies will receive tax credits of up to 35% of the aggregate employee premium paid beginning in 2010. Additionally, it is predicted that these tax credits will increase to 50% by 2014.
For those with pre-existing conditions, there are two ways through which they will benefit. For children with pre-existing conditions, the bill forbids the insurance companies from disallowing them coverage. The bill also proposes that insurance should be provided for individuals who have pre-existing ailments and have been uninsured for more than 6 months. For patients with cancer or other diseases, they will be required to pay the standard rates in their personal insurance market. In addition to the transformation in the availability of care, new regulations by the government will authorize the methods used by insurance companies to take care of occasions where people loose jobs due to injury or illness and other policies considered as risky. Under the new system, the insurance companies will be banned from dropping coverage of employees who stop working due to some illness (Trumbull 1).
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The Republicans are strongly opposed to the health reforms bill; they have come up with numerous arguments against the bill. To begin with, they state that the bill is bound to affect the economy of the United States adversely. The reform is estimated to cost approximately $940 billion; this figure is actually very high considering the state the economy is currently in at the moment. The democrats have argued that the health reforms will reduce the deficit in the budget according to the budget office. Nevertheless, no body knows the actual sources of these funds. This may lead to an increase in the premiums’ cost if the benefits from increased competition and efficiency do not match up to the costs associated with the additional benefits to the public. Numerous insurance companies have stated that they won’t be in a position to carry the financial burden from the 0bill; they argue that they might be forced to bear high-payout, high-risk policies that are not worth the effort (Nye 2).
The Health reforms bill also introduces a number of taxes that are aimed at financing the cost of this reform. Under the individual mandate, citizens will be required to maintain their health insurance. This provision will lead to a 2.5% raise on the income tax which is a charge for failing to buy insurance. Democrats however propose that with time insurance will become subsidized, but there is no assurance the subsidy will be adequate for each individual’s unique situation. Other tax increases include the tax imposed on upper class people, for individuals making over half a million the tax increase will be approximately 1%. In addition, higher income families will have to pay a 3.8% tax imposed on their investment income. For industries such as indoor tanning, the tax increase is estimated at approximately 3.8%. Many citizens assert that the policy will be unfair because it is viewed as an attempt to rob the rich so as to feed the poor, moreover the policy will discourage wealthy investors from investing in the economy that is already in serious problems (Phelps 54)
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Critics of the bill argue that the new health reforms is defective, not only will its policies be a relegation of the present system of health care, but it will adversely affect the struggling economy of the United States. In the long-run the reforms will not reduce the cost because of the existing health care costs inflation, and also the involvement of government will result to increase in spending. There are reports that propose that the smaller companies might opt to pay penalties as opposed to offering their employees with health care. This could lead to an increase in the number of individuals seeking the assistance of the government (Trumbull 1).
All in all, the new heath care reform has its fair share of both bad and good provisions and only time will tell how efficient the new system will be. Whereas more citizens will access health care that is affordable to them, it is still early to predict if the increased control by government will translate to increased benefits to all Americans. The administration of president Obama state that the policy will not raise the existing deficit, but the unpredictable profit projections and the worry by many insurance companies may in the end lead to an increased cost instead of reduction of these costs.
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