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Obama Health Care Plan Targets Insurers, Lacks Public Option

Obama Health Care Plan Targets Insurers, Lacks Public Option

President Obama released his proposed health care reform proposal on Monday, despite Republican demands to scrap the whole thing and start over with Thursday’s “bi-partisan” health care reform summit.

The White House frames its plan as an opening bid for the summit and sticks fairly closely to the Senate bill, but eliminating the sweetheart deals with individual states and easing the tax burden on high-end (cadillac) health plans.

Key provisions include:

  • Providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today, helping over 31 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today – and makes coverage more affordable for many more.
  • Setting up a new competitive health insurance market giving tens of millions of Americans the exact same insurance choices that members of Congress will have.
  • Bringing greater accountability to health care by laying out commonsense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care.
  • Ending discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • Reducing the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years – and about $1 trillion over the second decade – by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.
  • Eliminating the Nebraska FMAP provision and providing significant additional Federal financing to all States for the expansion of Medicaid.
  • Closing the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” coverage gap.
  • The threshold for the excise tax on the most expensive health plans will be raised from $23,000 for a family plan to $27,500 and will start in 2018 for all such plans.
  • Improving insurance protections for consumers and creating a new Health Insurance Rate Authority to review and rein in unreasonable rate increases and other unfair practices of insurance plans.

There is nothing particularly surprising here. Certainly, targeting insurers with a Health Insurance Rate Authority is warranted, given the recent uproar over a 39 percent rate increase on individual plans in California and some other states.

Absent from the President’s proposal was the public option that he has supported in the past, while the individual mandate remains. He has challenged Republicans to bring their own ideas to the table for Thursday’s “bi-partisan” summit.

As for this “bi-partisan” summit, I’ll believe it when I see it. Every conciliatory measure taken in an effort to win Republican support has been met with failure, from single-payer to public option to reining in insurers. Within minutes of the White House plan being posted online, the familiar battle cry of “massive government takeover” began. It’s all too predictable.

The summit may well prove to be just another round of partisan showmanship in a winner-take-all bout. Then again, there’s always reconciliation.

The sad truth is that whatever health care reform might come to pass in the near future will fall woefully short. We will still have Americans going bankrupt or dying for lack of access to health care, and we will be forced to fight this fight all over again. Unless, of course, Washington can break the gridlock and put the country ahead of politics.

You can read the President’s 11-page proposal in its entirety at: whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting/proposal

Related reading on Care2:

White House: “Stay Tuned” for Health Care Proposal

Public Option No Longer Optional

Health Insurer Defends 39 Percent Increase

Marrying for Health Insurance: Size Does Matter

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Photo: whitehouse.gov

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50 comments

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12:01PM PDT on May 8, 2010

Katie, I was referring to single-payer, not the health bill that just passed.

9:58AM PDT on May 8, 2010

"And it DOES NOT mean that the government will be providing your health care or even having anything really to do with your healthcare at all. Doctors and nurses will still be in charge, but now they won't have to answer to insurance companies and can give you the care you actually need, personalized specifically to your needs, not what some health insurance executive thinks you should need because it will cost them less. - Judith S."

Are the doctors & nurses in charge now? You say they "will still be in charge." If the insurance companies won't be forcing healthcare mandates, then who will? It will be some committee in our government, and I can't imagine that will be any better.

I've worked in healthcare since 1981 and between insurance companies and joint commission, the screws continually tighten on everyone who provides or benefits from healthcare. This massive joke of a healthcare bill will only make more of a mess of things.

If our healthcare is so bad now, then why do so many people still want to come to America to get it?

11:03AM PST on Mar 10, 2010

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ANTI TRUST LAWS for the INSURANCE INDUSTRY NOW !!

2:16PM PST on Feb 26, 2010

thanks

1:23PM PST on Feb 25, 2010

I know this is off the subject, but if you will just take a moment to look at my Petition-I would appreciate it kindly. Thanks!

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10:20AM PST on Feb 25, 2010

Another great article on the Health care issue. However, I am still not clear what is meant by "Public Option"?

11:19AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

"The sad truth is that whatever health care reform might come to pass in the near future will fall woefully short." That is how most advocates for reform feel. We had plenty of models to guide reform, but those benefiting from the current so-called system are too strong. They obscured the issues and then yelled "too complicated!" We need to get what we can and come back later to adjust. Just don't elect more GOP obstructionists!

10:59AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

I'll bet there is not one thing in that proposal that will interfere with the Senat eand Congress reaping billions from their conflicted interests in the pharmaceutical cos., the ins. cos. and the AMA/ and related interests. Check out all their ideas. They vote for nothing that might benefit the working class and take a few bucks away from them. Then, on top of it, if they don't get something passed they can do all this over again. COLECTING FROM ALL THE CORPORATIONS LOBYISTS. Follow the money!

10:43AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

Single-payer DOES NOT mean we pay to a single insurer and, thus, they have a monopoly over health care and its cost. What it DOES mean is that we pay slightly higher taxes than we already do now, but instead of all that money going to kill innocent people in other parts of the world and padding some CEO's bank account, now some of your taxes will go to make sure that if you ever get sick and need health care you will get it, guaranteed, and it will cost you little or nothing.

And it DOES NOT mean that the government will be providing your health care or even having anything really to do with your healthcare at all. Doctors and nurses will still be in charge, but now they won't have to answer to insurance companies and can give you the care you actually need, personalized specifically to your needs, not what some health insurance executive thinks you should need because it will cost them less.

Single-payer means that you can go about your business and not have to be worried to death that something might happen to you or your loved ones and literally wipe away all your savings and maybe put you out in the street.

And for anyone who begrudges someone else getting health care because you already have insurance and you feel it is fine for you so no one else needs it, I truly feel sorry for you. There are no words for you.

9:40AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

It's surely is a shame after many many months of telling our representatives what we need in heath care reform we get this. We have many other countries of examples of what works and what does not and they come up with these weak reforms.

A movie named Sicko, a film directed by Michael Moore, exposes the problems and offers solutions, but still we get this.

It boils down to the rich corporations get richer and we the people get taken to the cleaners. The Health care system, the corporations, are in control... not us. And I personally wonder if the medicine practiced is healthy for us or just another way to take our money and our health?

Interesting to that denying someone health insurance... or charging outlandish rates... should have been illegal in the first place. Our government should have been doing its job and stopping these practices. But the system caters to the rich and that is not us. We are dealing with corruption at many levels of government... and the private sector.

Woe that we ever get sick in America... the home where I was born... raised... and live.

We need single payer... a solution that would fix many of the problems and rid ourselves of these greedy for profit health care insurance corporations.

But this is a start and without it passing... we are worst off... as people die and go bankrupt around us every day.

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