He has said that he plans to reform the American healthcare system, which sees approximately 57 million people without any health insurance, and very limited healthcare for people who cannot afford to pay for private insurance policies.
“President Barack Obama has defended his plans for health reform in a news conference broadcast live in the US. Mr Obama pledged to push through a reform package by the end of the year that would reduce health costs, increase choice and widen coverage.” Source: BBC News
The Health Care Reform Bill
The new American Health Care Reform Bill was passed in 2014 after months of debates. The key points of the bill are that it aims to provide cover to the many millions of Americans who have until now been unable to afford private health insurance.
The new bill provides discounts and rebates on prescription drugs, which puts more money back into the pockets of the most vulnerable.
It sets strict rules for insurance companies, most notably that insurance companies cannot deny coverage to those who become unwell. Consumers now also have more protection through the Patients’ Bill Of Rights. Insurance companies also need to disclose their accounts online so that customers can make informed choices.
Children can now remain covered by their parent’s plan until they are 26 years old, which means children who enter full time education or struggle to find well paid employment can still receive healthcare.
Free preventative care is also provided to all people. According to Healthcare.gov this includes alcohol misuse counselling, blood pressure screening, depression and some cancer screenings, diet counselling and diabetes screening and advice, plus many other services. As we know, type 2 diabetes and poor diet go hand in hand and are becoming a major burden on health care services in the West.
The second phase of the bill sets many new goals. Some do seem very radical, such as the ruling that all Americans must carry health insurance or face a fine. However, it also rules that companies must provide affordable cover workers.
Before the bill was passed, around 32 million Americans were not covered; they had no guarantee to receive healthcare. The bill provides subsidies for these people, with an average of $6000 per person to pay for premiums and medical fees. The new Obama care system is finally giving millions of Americans the healthcare that they deserve.
This change raises the question of what other countries do to provide their citizens with affordable healthcare. Let’s look at the example set in Great Britain, where healthcare is free for all people at point of use and financed entirely through taxation.
The British system, the National Health Service (NHS), provide free healthcare to all British citizens regardless of current or previous income, employment or age.
In the UK private healthcare is really for wealthier people who wish to have a more personalised and often quicker service. However, the NHS otherwise caters for everyone’s needs, from Accident and Emergency services to dealing with mental health, maternity and general complaints.
It also provides up to date information on health issues and alerts. For example, in the UK antivirals for swine flu to high risk patients free of charge. See also their Health A-Z – Conditions and treatments pages.
America, as a world economic leader, really should have a health service that is world class, and the state should provide healthcare for the people. Hopefully Obama can bring about the required changes during his presidency.