Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare plan’

“Give ‘Em Hell Harry” Tried to Give Americans National Healthcare

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Harry Truman had been Vice President for just 82 days when Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s death catapulted him into the presidency and the spotlight.  One of his earliest initiatives was to propose a new national healthcare program in a November 19, 1945 message to Congress.

Truman argued that the federal government should be a major player in the healthcare arena.  “The health of American children, like their education, should be recognized as a definite public responsibility.”  The most jb_modern_fairdeal_1_econtroversial aspect of Truman’s plan was an optional national health insurance fund, which would be run by the federal government and open to all Americans.  Participants would pay a monthly fee, which would cover all of their medical expenses.  The government would pay physicians who joined the program for services rendered, and reimburse the policy holder for lost wages due to illness or injury.

The legislation introduced into the Senate and House of Representatives ran headlong into the American Medical Association’s (AMA) strong opposition.  “The AMA characterized the bill as ‘socialized medicine’, and in a forerunner to the rhetoric of the McCarthy era, called Truman White House staffers ‘followers of the Moscow party line'”.

Once the Korean War started, Truman was forced to abandon his healthcare bill.  Despite his failure, he successfully brought the issue of healthcare in America to the forefront.  When Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law at the Harry S. Truman library, he said it “all started really with the man from Independence.”

Charles Krauthammer Gives ObamaCare Two Thumbs Down

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer thinks ObamaCare is a fantasy that the president will not be able to deliver.

According to Krauthammer, President Obama promised healthcare reform claiming that medical costs are ruining the economy.  Now, the Congressional Budget Office has said that the Democrats’ healthcare plan will increase costs by more than $1 trillion.

“In response, the president retreated to a demand that any bill he sign be revenue neutral,” Krauthammer said.  “But that’s a classic misdirection:  If the fierce urgency of healthcare reform is to radically reduce costs that are producing bobama-care-tlnudget-destroying deficits, revenue neutrality (by definition) leaves us on precisely the same path to insolvency that Obama himself declares unsustainable.”

Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the president was “unhelpful” for ruling out taxing employer-provided insurance plans to help pay for coverage.  The House’s conservative Blue Dog Democrats are wincing at what they see as skyrocketing healthcare reform costs.

Krauthammer contends that “The president is therefore understandably eager to make this a contest between progressive Democrats and reactionary Republicans.  He seized on Republican Senator Jim DeMint’s comment that stopping Obama on healthcare would break his presidency to protest, with perfect disingenuousness, that ‘this isn’t about me.  This isn’t about politics.'”

Considering that the Clinton administration is considered successful by many despite its inability to pass healthcare reform, Krauthammer’s opinion may be overly negative if current efforts fail.  Plus, characterizing a cause that 74 percent of Americans support as a personal whim of the president seems unfair.  Also, 30 states have the same form of a public option for health insurance and studies show that residents support it overwhelmingly.  The issue is really about how to pay for it and here, the president will have to level with the American people about the real cost.

Congress and its Dueling Healthcare Plans

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

There are so many healthcare reform trial balloons being launched in Washington, D.C., that it’s difficult to keep up with who wants what.  Following is a rundown of what the current proposals say.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s proposal would require most people to have qualifying healthcare coverage, though with some exceptions.  People who do not participate face a tax penalty of at least 50 percent of the average yearly premium cost of the basic plan.  Employers would have to offer healthcare coverage and pay a minimum of 60 percent of the premium, or $750 for every full-time employee.  Individual and small business coverage would be managed through state-based “gateways” that provide consumers with information to help them decide on the right plan.  This is likely to cost $1 trillion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The House Tri-Committee bill would require individuals to carry “acceptable health coverage”. People who opt out would pay a penalty of 2.5 percent of their modified adjusted gross income to the cost of the average national premium for individual or family coverage.  Employers must offer healthcare coverage and pay a minimum of 72.5 percent for single coverage and 65 percent for family coverage into the cheapest qualifying plan.  Alternatively, employers would pay eight percent of payroll into a health insurance trust fund.  The CBO estimates that this plan will cost $1 trillion over 10 years.  Medicare and Medicaid savings would pay for this, with the remainder covered by a surcharge on high-income individuals and families.


Several other proposals are under consideration.  The Senate Finance committee is debating allowing people aged 55 – 64 to buy in to Medicare, as well as taxing insurance companies to fund the healthcare plan.  Conservative Democrats on the Energy and Commerce committee want the government to pay rural healthcare providers at a higher rate to assure better access to quality care.

With no vote expected prior to Congress’ annual August recess, we may see even more evolution in the proposals currently on the table.