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SOCIAL: The Bush Plan For Health Care Reform

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posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 05:51 PM
One of the biggest issues facing America in the decades to come is ongoing crisis that is Health Care. The ability to care for the sick and elderly is the cornerstone of any civilization. Health care as it exists today is heading for a major breakdown. Much like social security, it is doomed to eventually collapse under the weight of increasing costs and obligations. The Bush platform not only address these problems here and now, it sets the foundation for the system to stay health for years.

During the previous four years the administration has successfully championed Health Savings Accounts, Medicare Prescription Benefit, Expanded and Opened Community Health Centers, Strengthen Medicaid, and provided a Health Insurance Tax Credit.

In order to build on these accomplishments the administration has proposed to do the following.

Medical Liability Reform. The President proposes to address the skyrocketing medical malpractice premiums through national adoption of proven minimum standards to make the medical liability system more fair, predictable, and timely. A more fair, predictable and timely medical liability process speeds compensation to patients, reduces health care costs, and improves access and quality of health care.

This is one of the most important aspects of the overall plan. The liability system has become more and more burdensome for health care corporations. As a health care professional I can see the impacts of this directly. The amount of paperwork that is generated on each patient because of the fear of liability is staggering. During a 12 hour shift in the ICU, I can generate up to 20 pieces of paper just for one patient. The bulk of which have no direct impact on patient care. However, the hospital deems them necessary to protect itself from potential liability. Another example is the composition of the hospital staff. At our facility, the number of Risk Management, Utilization Review, Management, Compliance staff actual exceed the number of Registered Nurses. Not only are the hospitals burdened with excessive litigation, the culture of paranoia is also contributing to gross levels of inefficiency. Patients who a few years ago may have gotten an ace wrap for a sprain now have to undergo MRI’s CT and the like because the Doctors are covering themselves in case they get sued. At some point, surgeons will pass on high risk surgeries out of liability fears.

Association Health Plans (AHPs). The President supports legislation that enables small employers to pool together in order to offer health insurance options to their employees by giving small businesses the same purchasing power that large employers and unions have. CBO estimates that by 2008, 7.5 million people would obtain health insurance through AHPs and 600,000 would be newly insured

This is similar to the plan that the Clinton Administration proposed in 1992. The economies of scale would allow small businesses (the backbone of our economy) the ability to offer healthcare to all of their employees. They could do this because they would not be overly burdened by the cost of purchasing individual plans. Many small businesses do not offer employees health care because of its costs. By reducing the burden, more people who work but have no coverage would come into the fold.

Refundable Tax Credit. The President proposes a refundable tax credit that will make health insurance more affordable to millions of Americans who do not have employer-provided insurance or public insurance. The Treasury Department estimates that the tax credit will extend insurance to 4.5 million Americans.

For those that do not have health care, they at least would be able to receive relief through a tax credit of their health care premiums. T

Health Information Technology. The President proposes to use modern health information technology to achieve high-quality care, reduce preventable medical errors, and reduce costs. President Bush’s FY’05 Budget request doubles the amount of funding for demonstration projects for broader adoption of health IT systems in communities and states to $100 million. The President announced a goal that most Americans have personal electronic health records within the next ten years, and is working to make sure the federal government is fostering the adoption of these technologies.

The healthcare system will benefit tremendously from the Bush administration proposals. It will allow for efficient record keeping and reduce paperwork. More importantly it would allow health care facilities up to date information on the patients health history and previous problems. This alone would improve outcomes by allowing a collation of data, allowing rapid diagnosis and put an end to procedure duplication.

By adding reforms to the system, rather that over regulating it, the Bush plan helps to fix the system without the specter of government regulation. It addresses the liability issue, it provides for an increase of coverage of the uninsured, and most importantly it helps reduce costs.

*Edited format only.

[edit on 3-8-2004 by ZeddicusZulZorander]

[edit on 3-8-2004 by FredT]

posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 08:21 PM
Where's the money coming from?

He's already taken the US from a budget surplus of over $200 billion, to a deficit of $445 billion.

! So his answer will be to drive us further into debt over programs that he has little interest in.

Here in Texas, we noticed that he didn't speak much about the health care system, and he sure didn't know what to do about it. After Mr. Bush finished with us, Texas was 49th in health care.

He blocked patient care bills (when he was in Austin, that is. Generally when a crisis or something important came up, he went out and campaigned or went to Washington DC.)

Now that it's a campaign year and polls show that people are starting to get worried about health care and social security issues, health care is suddenly an "issue" to Bush.

...and he's going to pay for it by cutting taxes??

Let's talk about some of his "successes:"

"successfully championed Health Savings Accounts"... that's interesting, because the Bill was crafted in 1997
And Bush's name certainly isn't anywhere on it.

His brother signed a bill (for Florida only) in 2004:
The health savings bill doesn't help the very poor (who need it most) because they have no money to put into a savings account in the first place.

The prescription drug card -- well, if you've seen it, you know it's no favor for any senior. The paperwork is a nightmare and the "discounts" may not be much of a savings.

(edited to fix my misremembering of numbers)

[edit on 4-8-2004 by Byrd]

posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 10:04 PM
While President Bush has a few health care skeletons, he by far is the more balance candidate in regards to reform in this area. Kerry on the other hand (when he has found time to actually vote) has consistently opposed healthcare reform, medicare funding, Medical savings accounts, tax credits to small businesses to help provide health care, aid for state medicaid programs, and medical liability reforms. The Bush plan presents a concrete reform that will build on the past efforts and produce savings by improving efficiency, reforming liability, and a concrete plan to help small businesses provide health care to all of its workers. Kerry’s proposal is basically to tweak the status quo, and raise taxes to pay for it. Some projections put the Kerry plan at “$895 Billion Over 10 Years “ and not even be able to cover everybody. (Kenneth E. Thorpe, “An Overview And Analysis Of The Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Health Care Reform Proposals”)

The Kerry Voting Record

Kerry Voted At Least Six Times In Support Of Cutting Billions From Medicare Funding. (H.R.2015, CQ Vote #209: Adopted 85-15: R 43-12; D 42-3, 7/31/97, Kerry Voted Yea; S.Con.Res.57, CQ Vote #119: Rejected 45-53: R 0-52; D 45-1, 5/16/96, Kerry Voted Yea; S.Con.Res 13, CQ Vote #215: Rejected 39-60: R 0-54; D 39-6, 5/25/95, Kerry Voted Yea; H.R. 2264, CQ Vote #247: Adopted 51-50: R 0-44; D 50-6, With Vice President Al Gore Casting A “Yea” Vote, 8/6/93, Kerry Voted Yea; S.1357, CQ Vote #523: Rejected 19-80: R 0-53; D 19-27, 10/27/95, Kerry Voted Nay; S. 1134, CQ Vote #178: Rejected 15-83: R 1-42; D 14-41, 6/24/93, Kerry Voted Nay)

Kerry Voted 4 Times Against Health/Medical Savings Accounts. (S.1028, CQ Vote #72: Adopted 52-46: R 5-46; D 47-0, 4/18/96, Kerry Voted Yea; S.1344, CQ Vote #210: Passed 53-47: R 52-2; D 0-45; I 1-0, 7/15/99, Kerry Voted Nay; H.R.1, CQ Vote #457: Motion Agreed To 70-29: R 47-3; D 22-26; I 1-0, 11/24/03, Kerry Voted Nay; H.R.1, CQ Vote #458: Motion Agreed To 61-39: R 49-2; D 11-37; I 1-0, 11/24/03, Kerry Voted Nay)

Kerry Voted Against Tax Credits For Small Businesses To Purchase Health Insurance. (H. Con. Res. 83, CQ Vote #83: Rejected 49-51: R 48-2; D 1-49, 4/5/01, Kerry Voted Nay)

Kerry Twice Voted Against Allowing Self-Employed Individuals To Fully Deduct Cost Of Their Health Insurance On Their Federal Taxes. (S. 1344, CQ Vote #202: Adopted 53-47: R 52-2; D 0-45; I 1-0, 7/13/99, Kerry Voted Nay; S.1344, CQ Vote #210: Passed 53-47: R 52-2; D 0-45; I 1-0, 7/15/99, Kerry Voted Nay)

Kerry Twice Voted Against Bill Providing $10 Billion Funding For State Medicaid Programs. (H.R.2, CQ Vote #196: Adopted 51-50: R 48-3; D 2-46; I 0-1, With Vice President Cheney Casting A “Yea” Vote, 5/23/03, Kerry Voted Nay; H.R.2, CQ Vote #179: Passed 51-49: R 48-3; D 3-45; I 0-1, 5/15/03, Kerry Voted Nay)

Kerry Opposed Or Voted To Block Medical Liability Reform At Least Ten Times. (H.R. 956, CQ Vote #137: Motion Rejected 39-61: R 10-44; D 29-17; I 0-0, 5/2/95, Kerry Voted Yea; H.R. 956, CQ Vote #140: Motion Agreed To 65-35: R 24-30; D 41-5, 5/2/95, Kerry Voted Yea; H.R. 956, CQ Vote #141: Motion Agreed To 56-44: R 13-41; D 43-3, 5/2/95, Kerry Voted Yea; H.R. 956, CQ Vote #144: Passed 53-47: R 48-6; D 5-41, 5/2/95, Kerry Voted Nay; H.R. 956, CQ Vote #151: Motion Rejected 46-53: R 44-10; D 2-43; I 0-0, 5/4/95, Kerry Voted Nay; H.R. 956, CQ Vote #152: Motion Rejected 47-52: R 45-9; D 2-43; I 0-0, 5/4/95, Kerry Voted Nay; H.R. 956, CQ Vote #160: Motion Agreed To 54-44:: R 46-7; D 8-37, 5/10/95, Kerry Voted Nay; H.R. 956, CQ Vote #161: Passed 61-37: R 46-7; D 15-30, 5/10/95, Kerry Voted Nay; S. 1052, CQ Vote #212: Motion Agreed To 52-46: R 2-45; D 49-1; I 1-0, 6/29/01, Kerry Voted Yea; S. 812, CQ Vote #197: Motion Agreed To 57-42: R 6-42; D 50-0; I 1-0, 7/30/02, Kerry Voted Yea)

[edit on 4-8-2004 by FredT]

posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 10:48 PM
It's easy to say "voted against the bill" -- but the question is, "what's in the bill?"

Nowadays, bills aren't simple things. Oh yes, they tell you that this bill is about "healthcare reform" or about "cutting pork barrel spending" but the bills also have a lot of riders attached to them. The vote may be to stop one of these sneaky coattail riders getting passed rather than to block the actual issue.

I haven't examined those bills, but I'd be willing to look at them. As I recall, the "Tax Credits For Small Businesses To Purchase Health Insurance. (H. Con. Res. 83, CQ Vote #83: Rejected 49-51: R 48-2; D 1-49, 4/5/01, Kerry Voted Nay)" was actually a disaster for the small businesses (I read this recently and I don't remember the details, though I could look it up.)

So before we dismiss a record casually, we need to look at what was being proposed and what they actually voted down and what the previous discussion was about it.

posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 11:10 PM
Fair enough, however even his public statements give pause. Kerry has flip floped on the health care issue as well. It is increasingly hard to get a handle on Kerry. Trying to pin down his position is like trying to watch a wind vane in a tornado:

In 1994, Kerry Said Democrats Push Health Care Too Much. “[Kerry] said Kennedy and Clinton’s insistence on pushing health care reform was a major cause of the Democratic Party’s problems at the polls.” (Joe Battenfeld, “Jenny Craig Hit With Sex Harassment Complaint - By Men,” Boston Herald, 11/30/94)

However, he (surprise) has changed his stance and become a Warrior for Health Care:

But Now Kerry Calls Health Care His “Passion.” “Sen. John Kerry says expanding coverage is ‘my passion.’” (Susan Page, “Health Specifics Could Backfire On Candidates,” USA Today, 6/2/03)

So which candidate are we thinking about electing? As I put forth before the Bush plan adresses some of the most pressing issues in Health Care. Liability reform and cost escallation. Kerry's plan seems to be an enhancement of the status quo (which most agree is heading for a crash) with alot of tax dollars thrown in. I would give his plan much more credability if he would address some of these fundamental issues.

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