Is Obama’s Health Care Socialized Medicine?

let’s look at whether Barack Obama’s health care reform is truly Socialist, or qualifies as “socialized medicine.”

I defined socialism in my previous entry. It is, in its simplest definition, a state of Government where the means of Government as publicly owned. Publicly owned medicine could be declared “socialized medicine” (in the same way that public education can be called socialized education), but that raises the question of whether or not Obama’s health care reform is socialist.

Let’s have a quick look, shall we?

Here’s a brief summary of the changes the health care reform will offer (I finally did my research):

Pre-existing conditions can no longer be used to exclude individuals from receiving insurance. (This is automatic in children, and will be effective for adults starting in 2014). Until 2014 a temporary fund will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions.

Small businesses will now receive tax credits (of up to 50% of their insurance premium) in order to allow them to afford their insurance more easily.

Senior citizens on Medicare that require more than $2700 in expenditures for medication will now receive more coverage for that medication (50% coverage instead of 0% coverage) – effective 2011.

Young adults can now stay, by Government regulation, on their parent’s insurance until age 27 (previously age 24).

“Lifetime caps” for insurance (“you can never receive more than x dollars in coverage from us”) have been banned, effective 2014.

Preventative care (without co-pays) will now be a mandatory part of all insurance plans (effective 2018).

“Recissions” are banned (in other words, insurance companies can no longer cut someone for getting sick).

A customer appeals process, allowing insurance customers St Vincent Medical Center Los Angeles a right to appeal coverage decisions, has been added.

A tax on indoor tanning (10%) will be added. The funds will be used to fund programs like subsidization for small business, cancer treatment, and so on.

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New insurance fraud procedures will be added in order to help insurance companies avoid wasted spending on fraudulent claims.

Medicare will be expanded further into rural areas that currently have little or no access to Medicare assistance.

NPO healthcare companies will have to prove that 85% or more of their spendings are going toward procedures in order to maintain NPO status.

All restaurants and fast food places will have to provide health care information (calories, fat, carbs, and so on).

A Government sponsored website will be created to help consumers find insurance more easily.

A Government sponsored credit for companies seeking new treatment in the preventative care field is being provided.

Now, let’s answer some common questions:

Is this a Government sponsored health care option?

No, actually. It provides an exchange for private insurance companies. The public plan and public option were dropped in February.

Medicare, the publicly owned and limited insurance option, will be expanded and receive more public funding.

Will insurance become mandatory?

Yes, in 2014, with some exceptions for low-income individuals. A $695 fine will be the penalty for anyone who decides not to get insurance anyway.

For businesses with under 50 employees, a subsidization option becomes available, but it’s still not mandatory to provide insurance. A still penalty for employers with more than 50 employees who choose not to provide insurance is also being put into place.

How is this likely to impact my insurance costs?

Well, since this is still going to be privately owned insurance balancing their costs, they’re likely going to increase the cost to individuals who don’t have pre-existing conditions and similar, in order to balance the costs. Those who were excluded previously were excluded to save the company money, so you’re likely to see a rate hike (you’re also saving someone from a painful death, so don’t feel too bad about it).

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Insurance companies are also likely to take advantage of mandatory insurance by increasing their rates (sad but true).

Also, preventative medicine which is being added means a reduction in overall treatment cost, and fraud prevention also means some costs are being reduced. Don’t expect this to balance out the other increase fees.

How much is this costing our Government?

Over ten years? About a trillion.

As a result, however, due to an increase in taxes that is a part of the bill (for those who make over $200,000/annual) starting in 2013, a decrease in costs for Medicare and Medicaid that is part of the bill, and a tax on high end insurance plans for high income households (insurance plans that cost $20/year or more) will “pay back” the cost of the health care by about 2030.

How much are taxes going to be increased?

Yours? Probably none. If you make more than $200k annual, or if you buy an insurance plan for your family that costs more than $20k annual, you’ll see an increase, however (either in taxes or insurance plan cost).

For those making 200k annual, a.09% hike for Medicare starts in 2013. A 3.8% unearned income tax for that same group starts in 2013 as well. The fee for the high end insurance plans starts in 2018.

Are we doing Government subsidization for abortion?

Nope.

We were going to allow Government subsidized insurance plans to cover abortions, but now we aren’t. It was one of the compromises we struck.

Who “wins” as a result of this legislation?

Your average person does. Those making more than 200k or those buying high end insurance options will pay more. Insurance companies will likely pass on costs to standard consumers, meaning you’ll pay more but get more coverage and have a greater guarantee of real coverage.

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Honestly, insurance companies “win” because of the mandatory health care clause.

What does Rob think of all this?

That’s complicated. I like a lot of it. I don’t like a lot of it. I could do another whole entry on that.

Okay, so now we have a pretty clear idea Pharmacy As A Career Essay of what the health care reform is.

Is Obama’s Health Care Socialized Medicine?

Regulations on the health care industry have already existed. These are expanding. This equates to a more liberal approach to the mixed government philosophy of the United States, but does not mean Socialism by any stretch of the imagination.

Subsidization is also not socialist (it’s a reformist, liberal sort of policy). The Government would have to provide insurance, as a part of guaranteed citizen rights (kinda like public education) for it to be socialist.

The most socialist aspects are:

The expansion of Medicare (a public option with limited use which can be seen as a non-competitive socialized option, or a socialist option which doesn’t interfere with Capitalist options).

The Government website (a low cost, publicly sponsored website that provides a public service – this can be seen as a small socialist aspect).

The Government credit to help private companies find more preventative medicine (it’s not exactly socialist, but it’s using public funds to sponsor private companies – and can be seen as a lovely mixed government stance that leans more toward the socialist aspects).

This isn’t anywhere close to being socialist. Unfortunately 🙂

There you go. A summary of the the 2010 Obama health care bill, and whether or not it’s Socialist. Enjoy!