Obama's Final Push for Health Insurance Reform May Work After All
President Obama’s push for health insurance reform is heading into its final stretches. Obama is currently in Philadelphia in a last ditch effort to garner more public support for the bill. Thus far, public opinion remains less than positive about the proposed bill. Moreover, few on the Republican side support health care reform as it exists now. They propose to start over again in creating a new bill.
On the GOP side, the bill for health insurance reform is something of a redheaded step-child. Democrats have little choice but to bypass a Republican vote, which would most likely be turned down on the Senate floor.
Instead, Democrats have opted for a simple majority vote, that would allow them to pass the bill crafted in December with the promise of changing the more controversial parts of the bill afterwards. Language regarding costs and abortion have made many Republicans and Democrats alike hesitant about supporting the bill.
The President’s goal is to have the bill signed by March 18 before he leaves on a trip to Australia and Indonesia. The bill would provide a tremendous step forward toward health care reform.
Among other initiatives, the bill would include a clause banning the screening for pre-existing conditions. It would give those in need access to affordable health insurance, and it would give small businesses much needed tax credits.
Obama has struggled for months over getting health care changed. The system in place is a powerful one with plenty of lobbyists who don’t appreciate change. The push has actually spurred health insurance companies to ramp up price hikes.
In states like California and Indiana, costumers are facing hikes on individual health insurance polices by as much as 60 percent. Anthem Blue Cross of California is particularly notorious for raising premiums.
The problem with such rate hikes is that fewer people will be able to afford the cost of health care and will opt on. This leaves only a pool of unhealthy older people who need health insurance to help offset the cost of care and medicine. Health insuance providers are forced to pay the cost of fewer customers and more medical costs.
The response to such rate hikes has been enormous. Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held talks with the heads of several of the heads of the major health insurance providers and chided them for their rate hikes.
For now, the health insurance providers have stopped rate hike and are waiting in the sidelines to see what happens with health care reform. There remains many obstacles before real change can happen, however it appears change is indeed on its way.