Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bush Health Plan: Rich vs Poor? Washington Post Debates

Clearly, something needs to be done about the availability of health care in America. I know of a waitress (born in Germany, works in Miami), who flies home to Europe to get health care because she can't afford the cost of dental and medical care in the U.S.

It's cheaper for her to buy a plane ticket and fly home than to get treatment in the USA. Some doctors in this country won't even give her a visit because she's a cash-only (no insurance) patient.

But does the new health care plan from President Bush level the playing field between rich and poor? Or will the proposed plan lock more people out of the heath care system?

Those questions are debated today in an excellent article in the Washington Post by reporter Christopher Lee. Here is the link to the article.

Here's a snippet from the article:

' President Bush likes to say that his health-care proposal would "level the playing field" between people who get health coverage through their job and those who buy it on their own.

But experts said yesterday that it would tilt that field toward a kind of health insurance that Bush has long favored -- a high-deductible plan paired with a special tax-exempt health savings account, or HSA.

"I think it would be a big push for HSAs," said Mark B. McClellan, a health economist and former top health-policy adviser to Bush.

While McClellan thinks that would be a good thing, other experts said it would benefit the wealthy and undercut Bush's goal of bringing fairness to the private health insurance system.

In contrast with traditional health plans that typically charge $20 co-payments for visits to the doctor, high-deductible plans require consumers to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket for medications, physicians' services and hospital care before most insurance coverage kicks in. The deductibles are steep, at least $2,200 for family coverage, compared with about $220 in a traditional plan. But the special savings accounts enable people to accumulate a tax-free pool of their own money to pay the deductibles and other uncovered health bills, rolling over any unused funds to the following year. And premiums for high-deductible plans tend to be lower.' --Washington Post



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