Lower Costs of the U.S. Health Care System
Reducing Costs of Catastrophic Illnesses for Employers and Employees: Catastrophic health expenditures account for a high percentage of medical expenses for private insurers. The Obama plan would reimburse employer health plans for a portion of the catastrophic costs they incur above a threshold if they guarantee such savings are used to reduce the cost of workers' premiums.
Obama will require that providers that participate in the new public plan, Medicare or the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) utilize proven disease management programs. This will improve quality of care, give doctors better information and lower costs.
Health plans will also be required to disclose the percentage of premiums that go to patient care as opposed to administrative costs.
Ensuring Providers Deliver Quality Care:
He will also challenge the medical system to eliminate inequities in health care through quality measurement and reporting, implementation of effective interventions such as patient navigation programs, and diversification of the health workforce.
Lowering Costs via Electronic Health Info Systems: Most medical records are still stored on paper, which makes it hard to coordinate care, measure quality or reduce medical errors and which costs twice as much as electronic claims.
Obama will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records, and will phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT. Obama will ensure that patients' privacy is protected.
Lowering Costs in the Insurance and Drug Markets: The insurance business today is dominated by a small group of large companies that has been gobbling up their rivals. There have been over 400 health care mergers in the last 10 years, and just two companies dominate a full third of the national market.
These changes were supposed to make the industry more efficient, but instead premiums have skyrocketed by over 87 percent.
Barack Obama will prevent companies from abusing their monopoly power through unjustified price increases. His plan will force insurers to pay out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care instead of keeping exorbitant amounts for profits and administration. His new National Health Exchange will help increase competition by insurers.
Lower prescription drug costs: The second-fastest growing type of health expenses is prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies are selling the exact same drugs in Europe and Canada but charging Americans more than double the price.
- Obama will allow Americans to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and prices are lower outside the U.S.
- Obama will also repeal the ban that prevents the government from negotiating with drug companies, which could result in savings as high as $30 billion.
- Finally, Obama will work to increase the use of generic drugs in Medicare, Medicaid, and FEHBP and prohibit big name drug companies from keeping generics out of markets.
- Barack Obama's Speech Urging Universal Health Insurance
- Sen. Barack Obama's Speech on World AIDS Day 2006
SOURCE for this article: Barack Obama '08 Website