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President Obama's Health Care Reform Plan

Answers to Questions about Obama's Health Care Reform Plan


President Obama's Health Care Reform Plan
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
This article explains and simplifies answers to key questions about President Obama's health care reform plan provisions, ideas, and rationale, in the President's own words.

Why Does Health Care Need to Be Reformed?

"Right now, premiums for families that have health insurance have doubled over the last 10 years. They've gone up three times faster than wages.

"So what we know is that if the current trends continue, more and more families are going to lose health care, more and more families are going to be in a position where they keep their health care but it takes a bigger bite out of their budget, employers are going to put more and more of the costs on the employees, or they're just going to stop providing health care altogether."

"If somebody told you that there is a plan out there that is guaranteed to double your health-care costs over the next 10 years, that's guaranteed to result in more Americans losing their health care, and that is by far the biggest contributor to our federal deficit, I think most people would be opposed to that.

"Well, that's the status quo. That's what we have right now. So if we don't change, we can't expect a different result.

"And that's why I think this is so important -- not only for those families out there who are struggling and who need some protection from abuses in the insurance industry or need some protection from skyrocketing costs, but it's also important for our economy."

Source: July 22, 2009 Press Conference

Who Will Be Covered by Obama's Health Care Plan?

"... the plan... that I've put forward and that... we're seeing in Congress would cover, the estimates are, at least 97 to 98 percent of Americans...

"... the basic idea should be that in this country, if you want health care, you should be able to get affordable health care."

Source: July 22, 2009 Press Conference

How Will It Help Me If I Already Have Health Care Insurance?

"If you have health insurance, the reform we're proposing will provide you with more security and more stability:
  • "It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you're happy with it.
  • It'll prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick.
  • It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, if you move, or if you change your job, you'll still be able to have coverage.
  • It will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket.
  • And it will cover preventive care, like check-ups and mammograms, that save lives and money."
Source: July 22, 2009 Press Conference

Why Is a Medicare-like Public Option for Health Care Coverage Necessary?

"... part of the reason we want to have a public option is just to help keep the insurance companies honest.

"If the insurance companies are providing good care..., they're going to be more regulated so that they can't deny you care because of a pre-existing condition or because you change jobs or because they've decided you're too sick and not a good risk...

"... having a public plan out there that also shows that maybe if you take some of the profit motive out, maybe if you are reducing some of the administrative costs, that you can get an even better deal, that's going to incentivize the private sector to do even better. And that's a good thing.

"Now, you know, there have been reports just over the last couple of days of insurance companies making record profits, right now. At a time when everybody's getting hammered, they're making record profits, and premiums are going up. What's the constraint on that?"

Source: July 22, 2009 Press Conference

Will Health Care Services Be Rationed Under Obama's Plan?

"They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier... I think that's the kind of change you want.

"... right now hospitals and -- and doctors aren't coordinating enough to have you just take one test when you come in because of an illness but instead have you take one test; then you go to another specialist, you take a second test, then you go to another specialist, you take a third test; and nobody's bothering to send the first test that you took -- same test -- to the next doctors, you're wasting money...

"You may not see it, because if you have health insurance right now, it's just being sent to the insurance company, but that's raising your premiums, it's raising everybody's premiums. And that money, one way or another, is coming out of your pocket...

"Now, I want to change that. Every American should want to change that. Why would we want to pay for things that don't work, that aren't making us healthier?

"If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you well? But the system right now doesn't incentivize that.

"Those are the changes that are going to be needed...

Source: July 22, 2009 Press Conference

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