Magazine article Newsweek

Cures for the Health-Care Headache: Obama

Magazine article Newsweek

Cures for the Health-Care Headache: Obama

Article excerpt

The Democrat's plan would mean more government programs and between 26 million and 34 million more people with health insurance. Opponents say it would also mean higher health-care costs.

'Now is the time to keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care.'

--Barack Obama

INSURANCE

* Bare minimums: Private insurance would mostly stay the same, but for one thing: it'd be available through a national "exchange" that would set a minimum level of benefits. Some subsidies would be available for low-income buyers.

* A new deal: In addition to current plans, there would be a new one offered by the government. It might look a bit like what members of Congress get now, but everyone would be welcome to buy it.

* If you're sick already: Insurers would be required to sell to everyone--even those with pre-existing conditions. Critics of the Obama plan say companies would respond by raising premiums to protect their bottom lines.

ENTITLEMENTS

* What's up, Doc? Obama's plan calls for Medicare to implement a model that uses primarycare docs as coordinators for patients' basic health-care needs. He would also let Medicare negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma.

* Medicaid aid: Eligibility for the program would expand--but states could continue to try to hold down costs on their own.

* What about the kids? Parents would have to insure their children. To make sure that happens, Obama would lower the threshold needed to qualify for SCHIP, increasing the program's reach; he'd also expand kids' eligibility on their parents' plans until age 25. …

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