Obama seeks health insurance for all

by Lesley Politi on November 11, 2008

Obama seeks health insurance for all E-mail
Written by Sola Ogundipe   
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
The concept of expanding eligibility for Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Programme (SCHIP) to cover more families and workers is probably the highlight of the Obama health package.
Essentially, Barack Obama’s health plan is centered on provision of health insurance coverage to every American.The aim is to make it mandatory for  every American child to have health care coverage while adults would obtain coverage either privately or through the government. Obama also plans to create a new public insurance programme that would make it improbable for any American to be denied medicare because of joblessness, illness or pre-existing conditions.

Estimated annual costs for this programme is about $50-$65 billion. The means of financing this programme would be done from tax cuts imposed by the Bush administration for people making more than $250,000.

The Obama government would establish a “National Health Insurance Exchange” for private insurance. It would act as a watchdog group to create rules and standards and make coverage more affordable to those who want private insurance.  

Every employer would be required to contribute to their workers’ health care insurance.  Provision is available for a small businesses  refundable tax credit of up to 50 per cent on premiums paid by business for employees.

Obama plans to reduce catastrophic illness costs by reimbursing employer health plans for expenses above a certain threshold, as long as employers  use the savings to reduce their employees’ health insurance premiums.

There would be improved  access to programmes managing chronic conditions as well as enhanced cancer screenings, full transparency by hospitals revealing quality, safety, and cost of care.

Also on top of the Obama agenda is the use of federal government bulk purchasing power to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs while boosting competition in drug and insurance markets.

On public health issues, the goal is to strengthen efforts both for protection from disasters and disease prevention. Combating obesity, especially in children and eliminate junk food as well as fighting  AIDS worldwide are priority.


Source: www.vanguardngr.com

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