You know it's going to be a bad day in the healthcare industry when the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bernard S. Bernanke, is predicting a massive rise in the cost of healthcare in the
With the primaries over, and the presidential elections just round the corner, Barack Obama and John McCain are going to have to convince the voting public that they will be able to address the current healthcare crisis, and it may not be as easy as you think. Both these candidates know that their ability to offer a suitable solution may be the difference between winning and loosing a state. With that in mind we're going to give you a brief rundown of the options and what they could mean if implemented.
The two main options on the table are:
Barack Obama's Proposal
1. A move to a paperless healthcare system where all patient records and health insurance documents would exist only in electronic form. This would be implemented along with quality disease prevention (as opposed to disease management), and ensuring portability of health insurance should a policyholder loose their job, and consequently their coverage.
John McCain's Proposal
2. Create tax breaks of up to $2,500 for individuals, and $5000 for families, who have purchased private health insurance. These tax breaks will occur each year, and while this would have a relatively limited impact on the number of uninsured individuals in the
These two proposals aim to solve the current healthcare and insurance crisis in radically different ways. By removing paper from the healthcare industry Obama aims to eliminate one of the major sources of spending (namely paper) by moving everything to an electronic format. It's easy to see how this simple proposal would save quite a bit of money, but there is a problem.
Electronic conversion is moving at a snails place in the
By far the most promising part of this proposal, at least in the eyes of the American public, is the issue of health insurance portability should an individual loose his job, and subsequently their employment backed insurance. However, it is important to note that with the HIPPA and COBRA legislations the
Citing immediate results may get Obama votes on this issue, but analysts are warning that even if these proposals are accepted by the government, the earliest changes to the system will happen approximately 5 years after the institution of the plan. This means that the
In terms of immediate impact the winner is clearly the tax break initiative proposed by John McCain. Creating a system whereby individuals would receive tax credit for any health insurance policy that they have purchased could be instituted immediately, which could give strength to the proposal in the eyes of the voting public. In addition to this McCain is not planning on upsetting the current free market system of healthcare in the
Critics of the McCain plan claim that this proposal would seriously undermine the American public's ability to access healthcare as the policy would involve the removal of employer backed health insurance coverage. However, this is not the case at all. Under the tax break system suggested by McCain employees would still be entitled to job-sponsored insurance and this initiative would simply give a dollar for dollar tax rebate to any individual who had purchased medical insurance.
This would, in McCain's eyes, give the American public an incentive to go out and buy health insurance, which would in turn reduce corporate spending, and improve the overall quality of health insurance plans which in turn would increase the availability of healthcare. If there truly was a free and open market for health insurance established in the
Both arguments have their critics and supporters, and both proposals recognize that there is a fundamental problem in the American healthcare system. With rapid medical inflation, millions of uninsured and underinsured citizens and pharmaceutical prices skyrocketing this is an issue that may play a very important role in the upcoming elections. But it's up to the voting public to inform themselves and understand the subject. Is one of these plans the way forwards for healthcare and insurance in the