Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Friday, July 3, 2009

Senate Health Plan Could Save Taxpayers Billions

Filed under: Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 14:03

Go to fullsize imageThe United States Senate is working hard to pass a comprehensive healthcare reform bill which will provide greater healthcare access for the uninsured by allowing them the option to purchase an insurance plan subsidized by the government. The plan would actually be more of a mandate. Like government regulations mandating car insurance, the plan would require individuals to purchase either private insurance or the government subsidized plan. Those who do not purchase health insurance will be fined through the income tax system, which will then generate funds that will help pay for hospital expenditures incurred by uninsured individuals.

The government subsidized plan will be priced on a sliding scale, which will vary depending on the individual’s income. This plan has some amazingly positive implications. First, it will require Americans to take responsibility for their healthcare and make sure their health is a personal priority. Too many Americans don’t believe health insurance is an essential necessity which costs millions upon millions of dollars to our healthcare system when these individuals become sick and have to enter hospitals for care. Second, this plan will expand accessibility to the healthcare system, which will allow a greater number of people to access primary and preventative care, which will reduce the number of costly hospitalizations which are currently being subsidized by taxpayers through tax and charity write-offs. While tax dollars will be used to subsidize the government insurance plan,  individuals who opt for it will have to pay for it out-of-pocket as well. In the long-term, the millions or perhaps billions of dollars saved by allowing greater access to primary and preventative care will offset the massive expenditures currently being allocated for healthcare for the uninsured.

While the details are still in-development, it is likely the government-subsidized plan will actually end-up being administered by a private insurance company. Currently, Medicare, the largest funding source for the United States healthcare system, contracts with multiple private companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield to administer many aspects of their insurance plan. I applaud the Senate for working on this with President Obama and the Democratic leadership. As Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd said yesterday, it’s time to put the healthcare needs of individuals and families ahead of profits for health insurance companies which rates are too high for many to afford and which restrict care access to grow their bottom line.

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