Sunday, June 25, 2017

On the Health Care Debate in the U.S.

  • Last week, as the U.S. Senate released its version of an alternative to the “Affordable Care Act”, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said, "The Senate health care bill will help to stabilize crumbling insurance markets caused by the Affordable Care Act, work to curb runaway premium increases, and jettison ill-conceived Washington mandates and taxes that have weighed heavily on our economy. This is an extremely important step in putting doctors and patients ahead of politicians when it comes to American health care.” 
  • AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond released a statement that said, “This new Senate bill was crafted in secrecy behind closed doors without a single hearing or open debate—and it shows. The Senate bill would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them. AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable … 
  • AARP is also deeply concerned that the Senate bill cuts Medicaid funding that would strip health coverage from millions of low-income and vulnerable Americans who depend on the coverage, including 17 million poor seniors and children and adults with disabilities … 
  • The Senate bill also cuts funding for Medicare which weakens the programs ability to pay benefits and leaves the door wide open to benefit cuts and Medicare vouchers. AARP has long opposed proposals that cut benefits or weaken Medicare."
  • Note: Numerous studies suggest that the U.S. health care system is one of the least effective among developed countries and that implementing a Universal Health Care system may be part of the solution.
  • Countries with some form of universal health care include Austria, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, People's Republic of China, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

MY TAKE
  • Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (representing corporate interests)  and the AARP (representing Americans 50 and older) are powerful lobbying organizations.
  • While the bill's supporters suggest that they are aligned with the views of most U.S. citizenssurveys suggest that this is not the case.
  • Regardless of the outcome of current U.S. Congressional actions - health care in the U.S. will remain a contentious topic and its quality will likely continue to lag behind many other nations..  

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