The topic of heath care reform is a highly debatable one. Many different organizations have diverse ideas on what is essential to ensure a successful healthcare system is developed in the United Sates. After reading recommendations to advance health care reform from the Mayo Clinic’s (2008), The Wall Street Journal’s Health Care CEO Council (2008), consisting of CEO’s from multiple different medical organizations, and America’s Health Insurance Plan (AHIP)(2007), the following is a list of three recommendations considered by all to be valid ideas for healthcare reform:
1. Access: Universal Health Insurance A. A comprehensive health care reform recommendation of providing universal access to affordable, guaranteed, quality insurance plans for those not covered by employer-based programs. This plan would require individuals to buy insurance, giving them choice, accessibility, control, and peace of mind. B. This reform would require adults to purchase private health insurance for themselves and their families. Employers could continue to participate by buying insurance for their employees or giving them stipends to purchase it.
However, the individual would own the insurance. C. Appointing and independent agency to provide coordination, oversight and education for individuals choosing insurance options. 2. Quality: Reform the Payment System A. Change the reimbursement system to reward preventive care and evidence-based care, and extend government efforts to no longer reimburse inappropriate, unsafe or wasted care. Define and measure desirable outcomes for most common diseases. B. Payment to providers should be changed in order to improve health and minimize waste.
Create payment systems that provide incentives for various providers to coordinate care, improve care, and support informed patient decision-making. Models of payment should be developed based on the success of chronic care coordination, care coordination teams, shared decision-making and episode-based payment. C. Change Medicare to a pay-for-value model. Redistribute Medicare payments to favor physicians who perform well, as opposed to the current system that rewards volume not value. Paying providers based on value can help produce desired results such as: great outcomes, safety, and service at an affordable cost over time.
3. Affordability: A. Poorly coordinated care also drives up costs when individuals seeing several health care practitioners receive the same diagnostic tests and procedures multiple times because one physician did not know that the other already had conducted them. Access to information that compares the effectiveness and cost of treatments: give providers, patients and purchasers access to a trusted source where they can find up-to-date and objective information on which health care services are most effective and provide the best value. B. Provide positive personal health habit incentives.
Lifestyles characterized by smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise leading to obesity are key contributors to high health care costs in the United States. Childhood obesity significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood (CDC, 2006) and according to a study done by the Office of the US Surgeon General (2007), the complications from obesity: cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are estimated to cost $92 billion (Finkelstein, 2003) in lost productivity per year whereas estimates suggest that the health consequences of smoking may lead to more than $75 billion per year in medical expenditures.
C. Provide tax credits to individuals, families for the purchase of insurance, and to small business owners that provide medical coverage to employees. On January 24, 2007, while speaking about healthcare at Families USA, a healthcare advocacy group, then Senator Obama said “ The time has come for universal health care in America [… ] I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country. ” (Wikipedia, n.
d). Senator McCain however, proposed tax credits and open-market competition as opposed to government funding control (Wikipedia, n. d. ) In comparison, President Obama and Senator McCain, had similar plans in regards to cost and quality improvement. Both parties suggested the adoption of medical malpractice reforms, allowing drug re-importation, focusing on healthcare costs as a reflection of quality service, prevention and care of chronic conditions, and development/deployment of HIT.
In addition to similarities in cost and quality improvement, both also believed that prevention is the key to creating a healthier population. Senator McCain focused more on individual responsibility in maintaining and healthy lifestyle whereas President Obama supported increased funding to community based preventive interventions. Overall, a comparison of both parties preliminarily health reform plans reflect multiple similarities in general ideas of needed reforms to the United Sate’s current healthcare system.
Whether by adopting a universal healthcare system or implementing changes to the current system; extending coverage, lowering costs, and improving quality of care are all issues agreed upon by both parties as needing attention. References America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)(2007). Guaranteeing Access to Coverage for all Americans. Retrieved 26 January 2009, from http://www. ahipbelieves. com/media/AHIP%20Guarantee%20Access%20Plan. pdf Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006). National Center for Health Statistics.
Retrieved 26 January 2009, from http://www. cdc. gov/nchs/data/hesate/preliminarydesths05_tables. pdf. Finkelstein E. , et al. (2003). National medical spending attributable to obesity: How much and who’s paying? Health Affairs. W3: 219-226. The Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center (2008). Building Upon the Cornerstones: Recommendations, action steps and strategies to advance health care reform. Retrieved 26 January 2009, from http://www. mayoclinic. org/healthpolicycenter/recommendations. html
The Wall Street Journal (2008) CEO Council: Shaping The New Agenda, Health Care. Retrieved 24 January 2009, from http://blogs. wsj. com/ceo-council/2008/11/23/health-care/ U. S. Surgeon General (2007). Overweight and Obesity: Health Consequences. Retrieved 26 January 2009, from http://www. surgeongeneral. gov/topics/obesity/calltoaction/fact_consequences. htm. Wikipedia (n. d. ). HealthCare Reform in the United States. Retrieved 26 January 2009, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Health_care_reform_in_the_United_States#cite_note-152
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