One of the most debated topics this election is that of healthcare. There is no doubt that the state of healthcare in this country is dire, but the candidates have vastly different opinions about what it will take to fix it. Whether Obama’s Affordable Care Act stays in place or Romney takes office and makes his own changes, there will be a tremendous impact on the field of healthcare and the people who work in it.
Basics of Romney’s Platform
Mitt Romney has stated that the first thing he would do as President is to appeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act, encourage people to buy health insurance in the individual market, and provide block grants to individual states for Medicaid. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber, this could be a problem because the block grants provided states will not grow as fast as the needs for Medicaid. In addition, many people cannot afford to buy individual health insurance and will go untreated or will seek treatment at emergency rooms. These individuals often seek all their medical treatment in the ER, and many are unable to pay. This drives up costs for everyone.
Basics of Obama’s Platform
Obama’s Affordable Care Act will make sure more people are covered for healthcare. Those who do not have the opportunity to get coverage through an employer will have the chance to buy health insurance through an exchange. In addition, those unable to afford insurance will receive aid from the government. The downside of this plan is that it will cost the federal government around $1.17 trillion over the next decade. Experts believe that repealing the plan will increase healthcare costs further as increasing numbers of people continue to go uninsured.
|Coverage for young adults||Covered on parent’s policies until the age of 26||People can buy coverage across state lines; individual plans can decide how long dependents are covered|
|Coverage for pre-existing conditions||People cannot be denied coverage for illnesses or disabilities||Protects those with pre-existing conditions as long as they have maintained continuous coverage|
|Choices in coverage||Choice of private health plans through an exchange; tax breaks to cover insurance costs; employers pay premiums pretax; penalty for not choosing coverage||Choice of plans through insurance exchange; no penalty for not participating; no stated stance on tax credits|
|Premiums||Insurers may charge premiums based on age, smoking, family size, etc.||Regulate premiums by pooling high-risk people; no details on how change will be incorporated|
|Medicaid||Available to individuals under the age of 65 who have incomes of up to 138% of poverty level; children in households with incomes between 100% and 133% of poverty level will transition to Medicaid||Give states control of who receives Medicaid; funding through block grants from the federal government|
|Medicare||Reduction of payments to hospitals and Medicare providers; free coverage for preventive healthcare; closes prescription coverage gap||Senior citizens receive voucher to cover cost of low-cost health plans|
It is plain to see that each candidate has a vastly different view of how to provide the best medical care to the nation’s citizens while still keeping costs under control. This election will have a dramatic impact on everyone in the country, especially those working in healthcare. With the big day looming, now is the time to research each candidate’s platform thoroughly so you can make an informed vote.