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How health insurance reform will affect Florida

Armen Hareyan's picture

Expenditures for health care have more than tripled since 1990 and an estimated 46 million Americans have no health insurance at the moment. This is because some might not want to buy it. For others health insurance is not affordable and people have no means to buy it.

Obama administration has detailed a comprehensive plan with a view to the whole world within a period of several years with proper protection. Having health insurance could be mandatory as it is not required for automobiles. The House of Representatives has drafted a health care reform bill and the Senate another one, which are still being discussed in these legislative bodies. Once they have each approved the final version, it will become what is called a conference to reach agreement between the two parties and the final act will go to the president's desk.

Both Congressional and Senatorial bills provide that employers must offer their employees health insurance and help pay the premium. The Senate version would require the employer to pay 60 percent of the cost of the premium and the House of Representatives specifies a 72.5 percent premium to the individual and 65 per cent of the family premium. Small employers would be exempted from this, but it has not yet been determined what is considered "small."

In any case the cost of paying for health care reform is the problem. The Senate plan would cost about $ 615 billion in the same period, wile the congressional plan is estimated to cost about one trillion dollars. The President Obama and the Congressional Budget Office, said that the savings would be made through changes in the Medicare system, which would help to pay two thirds of the cost. The rest will come from an additional surtax imposed on wealthy Americans who have an income of $ 280,000 a year or families with more than $ 350,000. They are also considering increasing the federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages and make a federal tax on soft drinks. This is actually not too bad. Taxing anything, considered unhealthy, to pay for people's health insurance may be a base for negotiation.

Figures from the Florida

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In the state of Florida, the health insurance premiums that employers offer their employees, have increased by 72 percent since 2000. This is not commensurate with the increase of income that the individuals and families in Florida have. Indeed, the increase in health insurance premiums is more than three and half times the increase in income.

The average premium for family health insurance in Florida in 2007 amounted to $ 1,969. The average wage in Florida, that same year was $ 27,353.

Premiums for health insurance offered by employers in Florida are among the highest in the country.

The costs of Medicare beneficiaries in Florida are higher than in most states. For example, the average spending per Medicare beneficiary nationally in 2006, was $ 8,304. The average spending in Florida that year was $ 9,379.

Medicare fraud in Florida has been one of the major problems in the health care system of the state. While more fraudulent companies have been charged the cost of Medicare will remain high int he state. Much remains to be done in this regard despite many activities that the state has conducted minimizing Medicare fraud in Florida.

Considering this picture, the only thing that is certain is that there will be a change in the health care system nationwide and in Florida. Who will it affect more depends on which way the reform will go. There will be good things and bad things in the final version of the reform that will affect everyone in some way.

Written by Armen Hareyan