Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama's Healthcare Plan Falls Far Short

An excellent NY Times opinion piece titled Clinton, Obama, Insurance shows quite well that his concept of making insurance affordable and not requiring everyone to have health insurance, in fact, is far worse than the proposal by Senator Clinton.

An analysis found that a plan without mandates, similar to the Obama plan, would cover about half of the 47 million uninsured and cost taxpayers $102 billion per year. An identical plan with mandates, similar to the Clinton plan, would cover 45 million of the uninsured — essentially everyone — at a taxpayer cost of $124 billion. Obama-type plan cost $4,400 per newly insured person. Clinton-type plan only $2,700.

Obama's claim that people will buy health insurance when affordable is plain wrong and naive. Without an individual mandate, that is a mandatory requirement to buy health insurance, those who will buy it will be those who need it. those who are ill or the sickest. Naturally, this will drive costs to be astronomical and make insurance even more unaffordable. Although I'm sure Senator Obama has plenty of healthcare advisors, They have conveniently ignored the basic concept of shared responsibility, which is taught in introductory insurance classes.

As the opinion piece notes:

Mr. Obama claims that people will buy insurance if it becomes affordable. Unfortunately, the evidence says otherwise.

After all, we already have programs that make health insurance free or very cheap to many low-income Americans, without requiring that they sign up. And many of those eligible fail, for whatever reason, to enroll.

An Obama-type plan would also face the problem of healthy people who decide to take their chances or don’t sign up until they develop medical problems, thereby raising premiums for everyone else. Mr. Obama, contradicting his earlier assertions that affordability is the only bar to coverage, is now talking about penalizing those who delay signing up — but it’s not clear how this would work.

Out of all the presidental nominees, Senator Clinton has the most carefully constructed and comprehensive healthcare reform plan. Don't let the 30 second soundbites and poison words from the 1990s fool you. This is not the same plan. See for yourself at which is setup by the Kaiser Family Foundation.


Anonymous said...

short of what? d u know politics and the forces that actually hinder universal health care, obama's plan is the only one that can pass into law and if he gets a working coalition majority, then he can truly push for a true universal health care not going after peoples wages, with high insurance costs that amounts to daylight robbery.thats why Clinton believes lobbies represent Americans.

Davis Liu, MD said...

There is no question it will take real leadership to make universal health care a reality. Note that Senator Obama's plan does mandate that all children have health insurance even though his plan doesn't ask their parents or for that matter anyone else to do so. The bigger question is why doesn't Senator Obama make the great goal of universal health care a reality rather than settling for millions still uninsured? He certainly has inspired the public to imagine a better America, yet his proposal falls short.

America has had attempts to overhaul its health care system many times and often it has been piecemeal. Real change will require a complete and grand overhaul. This is something that Governor Schwarzeneggar of California is looking for. With about 6 million Californians uninsured, he has not settled for the patchy legislation that covers just a few more, but rather is trying hard to pass a plan that could be a model for the nation.

Imagine if the civil rights movement was satisfied in accepting what it could get rather than working on getting the major changes needed to give all of us the opportunities we have today. Americans deserve a health care system that provides universal coverage. To do so, it will require big ideas and strong leadership for it to occur. The good news for Senator Obama is that although it is not as comprehensive as Senator Clinton's, it is far better than those offered by the Republicans.


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