Saturday, October 17, 2009

Task 3: Describe health care reform in this context (part A)

Here we go.

"This context" is the U.S. economy: a market economy that can be considered mixed because some goods and services are provided by the state or subsidized by the state. Health care has traditionally been left to the market but has been subsidized to some extent in the cases of medicaid and medicare, for the poor and the elderly.

Why is health care reform happening?

The short answer is because most everyone agrees that it sucks.

Except maybe the Republicans, which would explain why they're not interested in putting their own plan on the table. The reforms they've hinted at would basically make it more of what it already is, with a couple concessions.

Reasons, from Obama's Op-Ed:

- 46 million uninsured.
- "provide more stability and security to every American."
- It's expensive. "Skyrocketing health care costs" (reason #2)
- "choice" (reason #1)
- the costs of medicare for the government, which right now are out of control and go straight to insurance companies. (reason #3)
- lack of consumer protections in the insurance market to ensure good coverage. (reason #4)

From the American Community Survey 2008:

- 15.1% of all (U.S. civilian non-institutionalized) people are uninsured.
- 9.9% of children.
- More than a quarter of all 18-34 year olds.
- Nearly a third of all American Indian or Alaskan Native and Hispanic or Latino people.
- Almost half of all non-U.S. citizens.
- Strong correlation between income and education level: nearly 32% of all who did not graduate high-school are uninsured, while only 6.5% of college graduates.
- Among age 18-64, 17.3% of those that are employed do not have insurance.
- Massachusetts, which reformed health care in 2006 and is a model for much of the current reforms being discussed, has only 4.1% uninsured. Besides Hawaii (6.7%), all other states have at least twice the uninsured rate, often significantly higher. 60% of states have at least triple Massachusetts' uninsured rate.

As for the costs of medicare, mm, I think I won't get into that here. Live to fight another day.

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