Sunday, March 15, 2009

Many Businesses Calling For Health Insurance Reform

A Reuters article by Donna Smith reports that businesses throughout America are in favor of some type of health insurance reform. Employers claim that they are at a disadvantage globally; they typically have to provide health insurance to their employees (while not legally required, it's a generally accepted inevitability for most large employers), as opposed to most industrialized nations that provide government-subsidized health care. Major economic competitors (United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, France, and Germany) were found to spend 63 cents for every $1 America spends on health care, while fast-developing economies like China, India, and Brazil spend only 15 cents per dollar.

The Business Roundtable, a consortium of the largest U.S. companies, worries that American companies will be less able to survive the recession as a result of these disparities in health care costs. They also point to evidence that employees in the United States are less healthy than those in other nations! Unhealthier employees could end up being less efficient.

Recommendations by the group are similar some proposed by the Barack Obama administration, including health insurance mandates and the use of technology to increase efficiency and decrease the cost of care. The Business Roundtable opposes dominant government-run health insurance plans, but supports some public aid for those unable to afford insurance.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Daschle Out For Obama Administration's Health Care Reform Position

Recently, Tom Daschle took himself out of consideration as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration. Tthe president’s plans to overhaul the country’s health care system could lose momentum and be significantly delayed.  Daschle was a clear health care expert and carried quite a bit of political influence as a former Senate majority leader.  The current health care reform plan was built around Daschle steering the ship.

Many supports say that the sudden change will not derail the efforts for health care reform, but Daschle is widely recognized as being an authority regarding health and health reform issues.

The leading candidates to fill the position are:

  • Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius;
  • U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut;
  • Mark McClellan, former head of the Food and Drug Administration;
  • and former Democratic Party chief and Doctor Howard Dean.
It seems like a good list, but which one would do the best job? Maybe Obama will choose someone else entirely.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Obama Wants to Provide Federal Health Insurance Assistant to Laid-Off Workers

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan proposed by President-Elect Barack Obama includes as an economic jump-start includes a possible two-year expansion of Medicaid, as well as subsidies for employers who provide continued coverage for retired and laid off workers. These proposed measures were outlined in the Insurance and Financial Advisor.

Obama, along with Congressional Democrats, wants to expand federal insurance assistance by opening Medicaid enrollment to individuals laid off from jobs that didn't provide health insurance coverage.

In addition, they are proposing that employers be subsidized for the mandated COBRA coverage they must provide to former employees and their dependents.

These policies are intended solely as a temporary fix to get the U.S. out of the current recession, and would expire in two years if enacted. Obama is currently in talks with congressional leaders regarding his economic stimulus plan, prior to his inaguration on January 20th.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Daschle: Obama's Learned From Clinton's Mistakes

Kevin Freking from the Associated Press recently wrote that newly appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services (and leader of the Transition's Health Policy Team) Tom Daschle is certain that President-Elect Barack Obama will be more successful in enacting health care reform than Bill Clinton was 15 years ago. Clinton's infamous failure in ensuring affordable health insurance for all Americans has been blamed on procrastination that wasted momentum and allowed other issues to distract from health care issues.

According to Kevin and Daschle, another flaw of the Clinton attempt at universal coverage was its secrecy. This time around, the Obama administration is asking for the American public's experiences with their health insurance. The transition team is encouraging people to hold health care community discussions throughout the country later this month to gather opinions.

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