Hopefully I can deconstruct this issue for people because my semester project last year for Medical Sociology was a look at health care reform and my suggestions as far as implementing policy.
As it stands, the first revision of the bill dictated a few different things. Here is a breakdown of some of the major points:
1. The bill originally provided that Medicaid be available for all individuals up to 133% of the poverty line (where things stand now are is that Medicaid is only offered to those below the poverty line; the lower-income households just above the poverty line
have no access to preventative care if they cannot afford care because they cannot afford the outrageous cost of care in the US. This is a huge issue that was strongly opposed by both physicians and pharmaceutical interests because something like this passing
would cut down on profits majorly. Ultimately, this facet of the bill was thrown out in negotiations because it faced a lot of opposition.
2. The public option - this was very much so a necessary component of the bill. If insurance was to enforced under a public mandate, an affordable price as well as breaks for those in lower income brackets must be guaranteed; otherwise, all the public mandate
does is ensure the market for the sellers and insurance companies would be able to run the show. This was strongly opposed by Republicans in the House and Senate and the insurance companies flipped a brick about it because they feared the public option would
come at the cost of profit. I am not sure where things are at with this in the bill right now but without the public option, an individual mandate for health insurance is ridiculous and will not be cheap. Can anyone say forced market?
3. Another facet of the bill that caused a general outcry is the employer mandate, for companies to receive tax credit for provision of insurance to employees. This has been strongly supported by most of the senate and house, the only thing that has caused
a stir is whether or not CURRENT employer provided insurance packages will be affected. Rest assured, the guarantee is that they will not be affected; in reality, the government is just going to give a break to the employers who already shoulder this burden.
This is just a summary of the major issues at hand. The US has the highest cost of health care out of any of the developed nations and no universal health care. The major issue is preventative care (which could be addressed by this bill) but access is also
important, and it is lacking in the poorest areas across the nation. This isn't addressed in this bill, and I think it should be.
Problematically, the issue is that there was so much dispute over this bill that it has been cut down time and time again by the lobbyists of the interest groups who want things to stay the way they are. The bill won votes, but Massachusetts Congressman got
bought out and changed his vote, sending the bill back to the negotiation process. Currently, the new version of the bill was just signed by Obama, and I believe it just made it through the Senate. It is scheduled to be implemented within 4 years, but many
of the details of the bill have not been released.
My fear: that this is merely the extension of an olive branch, a mere gesture. I am frustrated with this whole system of checks and balances and the lack of initiative of the majority of the US' politicians. It is just a fucking game to them but with the health
of the majority of the nation hanging in the balance, I feel they are screwing the pooch big time.
The bill also called for a mandate within 14 years and that violations are punishable. The biggest ruckus now is that 10 states are outraged and calling this provision "unconstitutional"; that is where things are at now. I hope this is informative. This issue
is so complex that you really have to break it down and look at the different components