Presidential Candidates and Health Care
Election year means a time of change. Change can be a great thing, especially in terms of health care, health insurance and many other factors impacting the PT field. One of my professors brought this topic up, so I thought a blog forum is a great opportunity to discuss the leading candidates and their stance on health care issues. (Got a lot of free time? Flip through the book Redefining Health Care by Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted.)
Barack Obama's Plan
Obama has laid out an outline for a new national health plan, which includes: guaranteed eligibility, comprehensive benefits, simplified paperwork, easy enrollment, choice, quality and efficiency. Furthermore, Obama's plan includes a National Health Insurance Exchange for people who wish to purchase a private insurance plan.
Obama's Website says he plans to "lower costs by modernizing the U.S. Health Care System." This includes reducing costs of illnesses, helping patients (there are many details here), ensuring providers deliver quality care, lowering costs by increasing competition in the insurance and drug markets, etc.
John McCain's Plan
John McCain believes the key to health care reform is to restore control to the patients themselves, making it easier for individuals and families to obtain insurance. His reforms include the tax code to offer more choices beyond employer-based health insurance coverage and making insurance more portable (from job-to-job). John McCain encourages expanding the benefits of health savings accounts (HSAs) for families.
In terms of lowering health care costs, McCain lists these details: lowering drug prices, providing quality/cheaper care for chronic disease, promoting coordinated care, expanding access to health care, greater use of IT to reduce costs, etc.
My take on this: I like the idea of HSA in McCain's plan, something Michael Porter also supported in his book. It's interesting that Obama remarks on lowering costs by increasing competition, but he doesn't include competition between health care providers-which is where the high cost problems were initiated! (Michael Porter's book discusses competition between providers to lower costs.) Obama's national health care plan scares me a bit, because I don't want to see our country's health care plan turn into a universal health care nightmare, although I do like his plan to simplify paperwork and make enrollments easier.
What do you think? How will this change how you vote?