Barack Obama Research Paper
After becoming a President, Barack Obama has been facing a lot of difficulties when managing different spheres of life in the United States. Even now, one of his obvious concerns is social life of Americans. Health care and protection have always been an important issue in the American society. Besides, health spending is a huge part of the US budget, that’s why Mr. Obama is interested in economical efficiency of it. The decision is clear: a reform in health care should take place.
The USA is the country that spends the largest sums on medical care in the world. Obama defines several ways how to spare in the health industry and provide benefits for the citizens. His actions are aimed at providing people with security and health coverage as well as saving costs at the same time. His primary plans comprise of issuing insurance to a large amount of people who have never had insurance in the past, eliminate problems with security provision, and make health care efficient (Woodward, 2010, p.261).
The outcomes that the US President forecasts include the decrease in health care expenditures, improvement in the medical services and treatment, availability of insurance for the citizens and immigrants, avoidance of fraud, and increasing of cost allocation efficiency (Amadeo, 2010).
Healthcare Economist (2009) and Samuelson (2009) observe the conditions of the reform from own economical points of view. They come up with the findings concerning Obama’s propositions in the sphere of medicine and health protection. I will try now to summarize all the opinions, which represent the possible effects of a reform.
At first, health care should prove efficient both for the citizens and the government. Currently, medical services in the US are not distributed in equal proportion and do not meet the needs of those who require help. It is known that America is about narrow specialization in all fields and industries. This means that there is a lack of specialists who are effective in several areas at the same time. The same thing concerns medical employees especially doctors. There is an overcapacity of equipment and plenty of medical stuff in specialist care. If the decrease of these amounts is possible, then the expenditures on specialist care will also decline not affecting the efficiency of the services provided.
The situation with the primary care is opposite. It is not adequate to reduce the spending and save on the implementation of new technologies. In this case, primary care will benefit only if the same price policy for the treatment is maintained.
Decrease in the price will result in the decrease of service. Still, Americans do not experience appropriate medical treatment especially when it comes to chronic diseases (Amadeo, 2010). Based on this, spending on the types of medical care that are not so popular among the medical personnel and patients should be eliminated. This may be considered as a source of saving costs.
At second, saving on health care is supposed to help saving the national budget, Obama’s team says. The cost of health care should decline by 1.5% annually (Amadeo, 2010). Some people do not agree with this because they see the dependence of money spent by citizens to their expectations. The more a regular person spends on insurance and health care, the more he or she expects to get in return. If the quality of medical service declines, then the amounts spent on insurance will also decrease. This will not include any major changes in the budget. But the insurance of 30 million of previously uninsured people will. “People with insurance use more health services than those without. If the government insures 30 million or more Americans, health spending will rise” (Samuelson, 2009). According to Amadeo (2010), only about 25% of American citizens are insured today. Adding 30 million to the number of already insured will make up one third of US population. So the number of insured people in US will still be the lowest among the developed countries, though the increase in expenditures will be significant. According to the statistics, 22,000 Americans die each year only because they do not have insurance and lack money for the medical treatment.
From the other point of view, a better price for medical treatment may be the case to spend more on special care. The result is the possibility to be more health-oriented for the citizens. At the same time, the governmental expenditures on medical treatment stay the same, so there is no cost saving from the economical point of view. Besides, many new specialists appeared in the last years that provide modest treatment for significant amounts of money.
What is estimated as a better price is actually a “smaller future increase” (Samuelson, 2009). In ten years, the total health spending in the United States may double. According to the forecasts, an average American family will spend then $2,500-2,600 more on health care and insurance than they do today. In 2030, the projected amount of spending is equal to $10,000 (Amadeo, 2010). Obama informed that the expenditures associated with the reform would not affect the interests of older people. Therefore, he commented that older people will not benefit from the changes in the health care system.
At third, Obama suggests that decreasing the costs on health care “would lower unemployment and raise employment in the short and medium runs” (Healthcare Economist, 2009). Amadeo (2010) writes that the unemployment rate will fall down 0.25% annually creating 500,000 in the next thirty years. If thirty years term defines the long run, what changes should we expect in the upcoming years? “Unemployment looks like a sine wave, displaying no strong long-term trend”, says Healthcare Economist (2009). On the contrary, it suggests that the problem of unemployment may be reduced only for the following three years, which are actually the short-term run. According to the opinion polls, writes Woorward (2010, p.261), new jobs are of high demand by the electorate. Businesses are supposed to spare on the health insurance for their employees, and this may be a stimulus to hire more personnel. The timing forecast for this tendency is three years. From the other point of view, employers can just raise the salary to their current employees, so the employment boom will not take place. Besides, statistics suggests that the rates of employment have never depended on the situation in the health care for teens of years.
As one can see, there are some limitations in the given data. Basically, all opinions are contradictory. The opponents of the reform emphasize on the impossibility to implement both tasks at the same time: provide insurance for those who lack it and reduce spending in the whole health care sector. But Obama administration suggests that both missions are manageable within the same time frames because “there’s too much waste in today’s health-care system” (Samuelson, 2009). Another contradiction is the way analysts use data: some find the numbers positive, others find them negative.
In order to start the reform, Obama had to reorganize the health care system of the United States. Last year, for example, when the debates took place, both Obama’s opponents and supporters were concerned with the “public option” choice. It represented the governmental insurance which was competitive to the private ones (Sasseen, 2009). The parties debated for the necessity of its introduction. By the way, Europe adopted similar changes in the twentieth century. The new idea is that a person does not need to have job in order to have insurance. So now the labour market can easily be in danger because there are some categories of people who have their jobs just to be insured. On contrary, they may fear to lose the health insurance and keep their jobs. If insurance can be available to a wider range of citizens, then the work force can choose the employer on the basis of more diverse characteristics. Here is how the rate of employment in the small businesses can rise (Healthcare Economist, 2009).
Some months ago, new changes to the health care legislation were required. As Healthcare Economist (2009) has previously informed, the work force could be obliged to pay more tax. “It is likely that the economic well-being of the currently insured would decrease (through higher taxes)” (Healthcare Economist, 2009). This could be done in order to implement the health care benefits for different social layers and categories, including the baby boomers, uninsured citizens and immigrants. The excise tax was introduced with the idea to charge it for the insurance benefits of the working citizens. The national union of nurses, National Nurses United (NNU), opposed the legal act: insured employees have almost no benefits of their insurance plans, that’s why requiring taxation would be corrupt (Australian Nursing Journal, 2010). Previously it was reported that only the richest layers of population are subject to this taxation.
At the end of March, 2010 The House of Representatives approved the final version of the reform for the next ten years. $940 billion were allocated for the program. The reform supposes to toughen the requirements for the insurance companies. The goal is to make insurance easily accessible for all citizens. In special insurance centers, Americans will now have a possibility to buy the insurance policies without the employers’ assistance. Now individuals are obliged to buy the policies, and the insurance companies are responsible for selling them. Sanctions are defined for those who refuse. Supposedly, the implementation of all positions in the health care reform will take up to four years.
The reform has already led to a plenty of conflicts and disagreements both in the political world and among the American citizens. The opinions on the reform are extremely different, though no one can still forecast the consequences precisely. It is thought that the rating of the US President fell down in some states because of the implementation of the reform. The Republicans now blame Barack Obama in ‘socialization’ of medicine in the United States. Samuelson (2009) summarizes that the control over the whole health care system will be impossible.
The consequences for the US are unpredictable. Some think that the funds for the reform are insufficient, others are afraid of considerable expenditures on medical insurance for businesses. Besides, the profits of medical firms will probably decline.
As an outcome, each American citizen now needs to have health coverage, either personally purchased or subsidized by the government. And the new category of people emerged – those who can buy insurance policies without being employed. Woodward (2010, p.262) quotes the recent words of John Dingell, the author of the last health care bill issued in 1957: “Yet it is historic change for an American system that has proved resistant to reform for a century”.
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