The National Health Care System : How Should it Be Reformed?

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Czmer, Kathleen
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Interning with FlexBen, the author explores the state of health care reform in the United States. There are over 35 million Americans who are uninsured, and health care costs for employers are rising at an average of 12 percent a year. The gravity of the situation of the health care system made its reform one of the key issues in the recent presidential election. One suggestion for reform has been to model the U.S. health care system after that of Canada. However, data reveals that a system which is efficient in Canada would not necessarily be efficient in the United States. President-elect Bill Clinton, representative for the Democratic party, presented a reform plan which is based on the grounds that the government should play a major role in the reformation and operation of the health care system. The main method that Mr. Clinton has suggested for reform is the "play-or-pay" system, which consists of a 7 percent payroll tax placed on businesses to pay for health care. There are many positive effects which would occur due to Clinton's suggested reform; the most important of which is that all Americans would receive health care coverage. However, there are also some negative points to his plan. The most significant is the projected cost of his system. With the proposed 7 percent payroll tax, business' costs for health insurance would rise by an estimated $29.8 billion. Also, the approximate cost of having all Americans insured under a basic medical plan would be $36.4 billion in excess of the collected payroll tax. On the other side of the health care issue is the Republican party, who derived their plan from the proposals of George Bush during the presidential race. They believe that the system should remain in the private sector with the government having minimal involvement. The main provision for the Republican plan is a tax credit or deductions for low- to mid-income individuals and families, with which they can purchase health insurance for a basic health benefits package. The Republican proposed plan also has its positive and negative points. On the positive side is that more small businesses would be capable of affording health care as a result of their suggested small-market reform. However, on the negative side, not all people would be guaranteed health insurance through the proposed tax credit and deduction method. After studying the various proposals for the United States health care system, the author concludes that there needs to be changes made in the health care system so that health care is made available to as many Americans as possible for the lowest possible cost.
92 p.
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