Human rights are often forgotten when it comes to the health care debate. This article is questions America’s true view on human rights. Although the author seems to forget that almost all countries at one point have had a human rights violation but when it comes to health care he does put forth an interesting argument.
With all the political rhetoric heating up before the November elections, I find many people ill-informed about exactly what the new health care law would do. Also I find that many people seem to forget that Mitt Romney enacted a similar law when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Let us briefly look at the similarities and differences between the two plans.
Finding reliable and credible sources on both health care plans was a bigger challenge than I had thought. It seemed to me that every source had a political agenda behind it, and I get that but I just wanted the raw facts. After finding good sources I found that the two plans had many similarities. First off, both of the plans have individual mandates and both imposed penalties for not having insurance. Under Romneycare an individual who does not have insurance pays a penalty that is income based. Obamacare is similar, an individual who does not have insurance pays either $695 per year or 2.5% of their annual income, which ever is bigger.
Both plans create what is called an exchange where citizens can browse different healthcare plans and find the one that meets their own needs. Also, both plans subsidize people who cannot afford to pay for their own health insurance. Under Romneycare individuals who are earning up to 300% of the poverty line get government subsidies. Under Obamacare, individuals who are earning up to 400% of the poverty line get subsidies. I also found that Obamacare and Romneycare both have employer mandates as well. Romneycare has an employer mandate that states that every small business with 11 or more employees must provide healthcare to its staff or face a $295 penalty per employee. To be fair to Governor Romney, this was not in the original bill that he proposed to the state legislature, it was added in. Romney later vetoed this section but was overruled by the state legislature and the bill was passed with this section in the final bill. Obamacare has an employer mandate as well, under it employers with 50 or more employees must provide healthcare or face a $2000 per employee penalty (for every employee after the first 30).
One of the differences between the two bills is how they are each paid for. The state of Massachusetts had a fund set up called the Uncompensated Care Pool Fund. What this fund did was provide hospitals and care centers with funds if they provided care without receiving payment from uninsured patients. The fund in 2005 was at an estimated $600 million. The money and assets in this fund was used as a primary source of funding for the state healthcare reform. Insuring more people in the state could largely reduce the amount of money needed in this account and could then be used for subsidizing low-income citizens for health insurance. The Uncompensated Care Pool Fund itself cannot pay for health care reform, so the rest is covered using both state and federal tax dollars. Obamacare is funded much differently. Obamacare gets a majority of its funding from broadening the tax base of high income earners. It gets additional funding from taxing very high cost insurance plans and imposing higher taxes on health insurance providers, just to name a few.
They both allow children to stay on their parent’s plans until they are 26 years old and both do not allow insurers not to insure someone who has preexisting medical conditions. Romneycare accomplished its main goal, which was insuring more citizens in Massachusetts. Over 98% of people in the state are insured and its relatively popular with 65-68% approval (depending on the poll) from residents within the state.
After reviewing all the evidence, it seems as if the two plans are more alike than they are different. They both use the same main ideas and in the end have the same goal. Health care reform in Massachusetts is something that Mitt Romney should be proud of, however he seems to be distancing himself from it. This type of health care reform is very unpopular among the Republican voters and in order to better connect with the base of the party Romney will continue to distance himself from his big accomplishment in health care reform.
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