Problems of Illness and Health Care 4. Federal Health Care Reform a. Since 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt first proposed a national health insurance plan, the idea of health care for all Americans has been advocated by the Truman, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton administrations. b. In a 2007 poll, more than two-thirds (64 percent) of U.S. adults said that the federal government should guarantee health care coverage for all Americans, and nearly half (49 percent) said they would be willing to pay $500 or more per year in taxes so that all Americans could have health insurance. c. The proposed National Health Insurance Act which would expand Medicare to every U.S. resident. (1) This would create a single payer system in which a single tax-financed public insurance program replaces private insurance companies. (2) Under this plan, every U.S. resident would be issued a national health insurance card, would receive all medically necessary services (including prescription drugs and longterm care), would have no copayments or deductibles, and would see the doctor of his or her choice. (3) If this plan is adopted, it is estimated to save enough on administrative costs to provide coverage for all the uninsured and to substantially help the underinsured. d. The insurance industry, not surprisingly, opposes the adoption of such a system because the private health insurance industry would be virtually eliminated. e. At the federal level, Representative Pete Stark (D-California) proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to guarantee health care as a right for every American. 5. State-Level Health Care Reform a. Massachusetts passed landmark legislation requiring residents to be insured, similar to the requirement that all automobiles must be insured. (1) The remaining Massachusetts population must buy private insurance (using pretax dollars) through their employers or through a new state agencyâ€”the Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Connector. (2) The uninsured face tax penalties (a) They lose their personal exemption. (b) By 2008, they pay a penalty equal to half of what health insurance premiums would have cost. (3) Employers who donâ€™t provide health insurance face annual penalties: $295 per worker. b. Other states, including Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Hawaii, and California, have also taken steps to increase health insurance coverage of their residents. c. Some states have increased benefits to Medicaid clients who demonstrate healthy behavior, such as showing up for doctorâ€™s appointments, getting their children immunized, or following disease management programs. d. Arizona, Kansas, Montana and West Virginia offer tax credits to small businesses that offer insurance to their employees. e. Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma offer small businesses and the uninsured discounted coverage through the state. F. Strategies to Improve Mental Health Care 1. Most mental disorders can be successfully treated with medications and/or psychotherapy or counseling, yet nearly half of all Americans who have a severe mental illness do not seek treatment.
Published on Jan 13, 2017
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