The proposed health care bill in Congress would fundamentally change the American health care system. Although there are arguments from both sides of the political spectrum, for and against the health care bills being proposed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the majority of Americans believe that health care should be reformed. The issue of contention is, of course, not should reform happen, but how it needs to happen.

In bills presented by the Democratically controlled chambers of Congress, Democrats have offered solutions that give patients the upper hand in medical transactions and care, as well as giving underprivileged Americans the ability to have access to safe, cheap and quality medical care.

At this point, there are an estimated 45 million Americans who are not covered by health insurance. Many policies that will be the focus of reform would greatly benefit these Americans who are uninsured as well as those who are under insured.
Some drafts of the bill dictate that insurers will no longer be able to reject customers due to any pre-existing conditions. Americans with illnesses will have easy access to treatment and will be able to pay less for the treatments they need.

Along with this, insurers would be unable to put caps on the benefits its members receive, like capping benefits after a person reaches a certain age or is no longer as healthy as he or she was when the insurance policy was purchased.
These provisions take a lot of power away from insurers (who are mainly driven by profit), and give it to the consumer, who needs health insurance to gain access to the necessary medical care. The bill sets up a national health exchange that encourages an open marketplace. This will ultimately give consumers the upper hand in insurance buying.

Those who do not get an insurance plan through their place of employment will be able to decide which plan would suit them the best. Small companies will be able to cover their employees more readily.

One of the most important aspects of health care reform would expand Medicaid. Medicaid is a government run health insurance program that covers poor Americans who cannot pay to insure themselves.

Although Medicaid has been around for many years, it has never reached a large enough size or gained the adequate resources, to become a viable option for many poor Americans. By expanding the program, Medicaid can now cover even more Americans, and the threshold for eligibility has been raised so more can reap its benefits.

These are just a few of the rough reforms Congress is trying to pass. However, the health care debate is far more complex and far reaching than many Americans know or understand. Health care reform would have implications for every aspect of American society, including the social and economic facets.

If the social implications of health care reform can’t convince people to support it (imagine giving every American the opportunity to use and benefit from affordable, preventative, quality medical care), then the economic benefits will surely convince.
Economically speaking, the current health care situation cannot be sustained by theAmerican economy for more than five or 10 more years.

As noted earlier, the issue here is not whether health care should be reformed – since Democrats and Republicans alike agree that reform is necessary – but how it should be reformed. We encourage everyone to go to www.healthreform.gov for more information.

Written on behalf of College Democrats.
Schwager is a member of
the class of 2012.



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