Friday, May 15, 2009

Congress begins to work on providing health care for all

This is kind of off topic, but this could dramatically effect the poor in the US. So we thought a look at what Congress is working into the new health insurance scheme would be worth it.

The bills for health care would require all Americans to have health insurance, but the government would help those making less than $88,000 a year to pay for it.

From this Associated Press article that we found at the Memphis Daily News, reporter Erica Werner obtained documents that give more details on what could be included in the bill.

A document obtained by The Associated Press provides an early look at where Democratic leaders in the House are heading as they try to meet an ambitious July 31 deadline for passing their version of the legislation. The Senate is working on a similar plan, with some key differences.

The plan by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would build on the current system in which employers, government and individuals share responsibility for health insurance.

But it would make major changes: Individuals and employers would face new obligations to help pay for coverage. Insurers would operate under stricter consumer protections. And the government would take added responsibilities for setting insurance rules and providing financial help to low- and middle-income families.

Momentum for a health care overhaul built this week after Obama obtained a pledge from medical providers to help find $2 trillion in savings over 10 years to help pay for his plan.

Even before any legislation has been officially introduced, lawmakers are grappling with dozens of thorny issues. On Thursday, senators debated behind closed doors whether their bill should include the choice of a government insurance plan for middle-income families. Insurers, hospitals and employers are trying to head off such a plan. The issue won't be resolved any time soon.

The House document also calls for a new government insurance plan to compete with private companies. It would be financed by premium payments, not taxpayer dollars.

Insurers are strongly opposed to a government-sponsored plan, saying it would drive them out of business. Democrats say a public plan would help everybody by injecting competition into a health care market that in many areas is dominated by a handful of major insurers.

No comments: