Health Care Reform: Postelection Possibilities

By Gorin, Stephen H.; Flint, Samuel S. | Health and Social Work, November 2008 | Go to article overview

Health Care Reform: Postelection Possibilities


Gorin, Stephen H., Flint, Samuel S., Health and Social Work


Previously we examined the health care system reform proposals of the major candidates in the 2008 Presidential Primaries (Flint & Gorin, 2008). Whatever the outcome of the 2008 election, pressure for reform is not likely to dissipate. In this article we assess the current climate for and possibility of reform. We also identify and discuss four current approaches--conservative reform, a single-payer system; private--public models; and state reform.

BACKGROUND

Readers of this journal are well aware of the problems facing our health care system, particularly in the areas of access and cost. More than 47 million Americans are completely uninsured, and the number of underinsured people (that is, individuals with inadequate coverage) has reached 25 million, having grown 60 percent between 2003 and 2007 (Schoen, Collins, & Kriss, & Doty, 2008). According to the Urban Institute, 22,000 adults (ages 25 to 64) a year die because of a lack of health insurance (Dorn, 2008). Although health care inflation has slowed in recent years, this modest respite is likely temporary (Ginsburg, 2008). Despite the recent moderation in medical care inflation, nearly a fifth of the population went without or delayed receiving "needed" care (Cunningham & Felland, 2008). Although problems with access were particularly intense for individuals without coverage and those in poorer health, "insured people also faced large increases in unmet need" (Cunningham & Felland, 2008, p. 1). The central reason cited for problems with access was concern about cost.

Health care costs are spreading beyond impeded access to care. The Government Accountability Office recently warned that health care inflation poses a serious threat to the long-term fiscal stability of the nation ("Long-Term Fiscal Outlook," 2008). Given these circumstances, the pressure for health reform is not likely to dissipate any time soon.

Prospects for Reform

Prognosticating is fraught with risk, particularly because at the time of this writing we do not know which party will win the White House or control the Congress. Nonetheless, on the basis of the information we have, this is our best estimate of the current climate and prospects for reform.

Wyden and Bennett (2008) argued that we have entered a period during which it may be possible to "break 60 years of gridlock" and enact meaningful health care reform. They point to bipartisan support for Senate Bill 334, the Healthy Americans Act (2007), which guarantees universal coverage though "market-driven health care choices like those that members of Congress have today" (Wyden & Bennett, 2008, p. 690). They cite "an ideological truce" between Republicans and Democrats, and recognition by business and labor groups that they must work together to modernize our employer-based system to "meet the needs of both workers and employers" (Wyden & Bennett, 2008, p. 690). Democratic pollsters assert that "fundamental" reform may be possible, but warn that "the opportunity could easily dissipate" (Lake, Crittenden, & Mermin, 2008).Voters believe that health care should be a right and recognize reform as an investment in the future. They also want the security and "peace of mind" universal coverage would bring. Despite this, opponents will actively work "to sow confusion, doubt, and fear about major change" (Lake et al., 2008, p. 698).

Immigration is a particular "wild card." Opponents of reform are likely to attack any universal proposal as benefiting "illegal immigrants," a charge that is "potentially a greater liability than any of the usual attacks on taxes, government control, and so on" (Lake et al., 2008, p. 697). Although reform is a "real possibility," advocates cannot take it for granted but must work "strategically as well as passionately for the changes they seek" (Lake et al., 2008, p. 698). McInturff and Weigel (2008), prominent Republican pollsters, argue that the situation we face today is similar to that in the early 1990s. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Health Care Reform: Postelection Possibilities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.