Monday, May 11, 2009

Presidents, Prescriptions and Physicians

"We cannot continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years, with costs that are out of control, because reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait."
-President Obama on healthcare reform (2009)

A coalition of business, healthcare and consumer groups has called for the immediate reform of the nation’s healthcare system. The coalition went on to declare that the system of employer-sponsored health benefits should continue, but that health insurance coverage should be available to everyone, and tax credits should be made available to help people buy health insurance. They also recommended that the government spend money to put these reforms into place. The coalition’s recommendations align with President Obama’s objectives for reforming the nation’s healthcare system.

The President’s plan to overhaul the healthcare system also includes proposals to reduce government spending on prescription drugs and calls for the re-importation of medications from other countries in an effort to lower drug costs. Pharmaceutical and health insurance companies are wary of reforms that would put a cap on the prices they charge consumers which may in turn lower their profits. Pharmaceutical companies say that lowering their profits will take away their incentive to create innovative new medications. Health insurance companies fear congressional legislation on healthcare reform may ultimately drive them out of business.

Some major issues still remain to be addressed like whether health reform should include the creation of a new government-run health benefit, whether people should be required to obtain their own insurance or should employers be required to provider it, and how to pay for reforms, which could cost upward of $1 trillion.

Teaching with the Constitution
Remember to click on the highlighted text to read Linda Monk's commentary!

1) Ask your students to read Article I section 8 and determine what gives Congress the power to make laws regarding healthcare.

2) Then have your students to read Article I section 10 to determine if the States can pass their own healthcare legislation.

3) Finally, ask them if the debate over healthcare could be a federalism issue.

1 comment:

  1. The current administration refuses to acknowledge that government involvement in healthcare is what got us to where we are today. 80% of all health care spending in the United States is paid for by the government. When you add up Medicare, Medicaid, federal and state spending for employees, retirees and VA, you will find out that government is the largest purchaser of health care in the United States by far.

    If Prescident Obama really wants to “fix” our health care system, he first needs to realize that they need to undo much of what the government has already done. Go back to the free market, not away from it. A free-market solution is never one, universal solution. It is the sum of millions of individual decisions.

    There is one fact that isn't discussed and that is the “R” word- rationing. One doesn’t need a law degree from Harvard to know that the most effective method of reducing total cost of an item is to reduce the amount that you are consuming. Families do it all the time as do businesses. If you want to reduce the amount of spending on entertainment, you go to the movies less often. Want to reduce your spending on fuel? Drive less. If government wants to reduce the amount being spent on healthcare then they will need to reduce the amount of healthcare that is being consumed. This must be mandated because no American is going to voluntarily sacrifice on healthcare to save Washington money. Unless the government starts rationing health care, we will never be able to get costs under control; we will just continue playing the shell game of shifting it around. When the government does decide to cut cost and starts rationing health care, we will then have the true health care revolution that we need to free medicine.