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Doubts Over Fine-Print in Proposed Healthcare Reforms

by Dr. Sameer Sippy on  November 20, 2009 at 3:51 PM Health Insurance News   - G J E 4
 Doubts Over Fine-Print in Proposed Healthcare Reforms
An Associated Press poll that recently conducted a survey pertaining to the proposed healthcare legislation found that Americans are worried about hidden expenses in fine-print in the proposed healthcare reforms. This survey has resulted in creating hurdles for the smooth passage of the bill pertaining to the proposed healthcare reforms even though US President, Barack Obama is trying his level best to seal the deal with some of Democrat members who seem to oppose the proposed legislation.
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Americans do agree that major reforms are needed to bring around sweeping changes in the healthcare sector. The major opposition in the Senate i.e. Democrats have tried to extend insurance coverage to the individuals who remain uninsured and curb the exorbitant medical costs, but this concept has not received an encouraging response from the public.
 
The recent survey conducted revealed that while 41% support the proposed healthcare reforms, at the same time 43% of the respondents are opposed to the legislation and 15%  respondents chose to be non-committal over the entire issue.

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Kate Kuhn, of Acworth, aged 20 years, commented that she was not interested in paying for medical expenses for some other individual or pooling in money for a common purpose. In short, she did not want somebody else to utilize her money citing the reason that she could utilize this on herself to meet her requirements.

The public mood regarding the proposed reforms in healthcare has remained more or less static ever since there was an equal division of votes i.e. 40-40 in an AP poll conducted last month. But the current poll depicts the mood of the citizens in varying intensity in which the mood of the opponents has become more resonant as compared to the supporters. Another interesting revealed that senior citizens are apprehensive as compared to the youth.

This survey was conducted by Stanford University in collaboration with NGO Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For conducting this survey, the questionnaire that was framed, incorporated a broad-term prospective. The public opinion indicated ample support for Obama's goals. When the required trade-offs were brought into the scenario there was a dramatic shift in the public opinion.

The survey indicated that there may not be many supporters amongst the public for curbing insurance practices that discriminate against those in poor state of health and there could be a meltdown of this opinion - a striking feature of this survey.

In the current healthcare debate a ban on denial of coverage on account of pre-existing diseases has been one of the most happening topics on consumer protection. According to a Pew Research Centre poll conducted in October earlier this year found that 82 percent respondents were in favor of the ban.

In the recently concluded AP poll, when it was reported that such a ban would result in people shelling out more for health insurance, it was found that 43 percent still supported the resolution to do away with pre-existing diseases, but 31 percent respondents would oppose it.

For those covered under the healthcare insurance cover, premiums would shoot up because individuals with poor health who had till now been excluded of the health policy coverage would now be included under the insurance scheme and avail the medical care which was earlier denied to them.

Antoinette Gates, a resident of Atlanta aged 57 years mentioned that they would have to bear additional burden of expenses from their own pockets as  such individuals would have to share the burden of those who have not signed up for health insurance cover. Insurance companies need to get money from somewhere to meet the desired targets and could clearly foresee the taxes on the rise.

The raging healthcare debate is full of debates and apprehensions. For instance, having a ceiling on the premium limits being charged for 50 year old individuals would result in 20 year old citizens to shell out more for the coverage.

Robert Blendon, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health emphasized that these trade-offs should be accorded utmost importance. He added that the proposed legislation contained numerous features that are popular amongst the public, but support for the legislation might fall short of the expectations as people allay fears pertaining to details wherein the maintenance cost of the families would see an upward trend.

Blendon added that if the additional costs, evenly spread over tens of millions of people across USA, turns out to a meager amount, there would not be much of a difference. But, if the cost of the premium turns out to be significantly on the higher side, Obama could well be on slippery grounds, in his over-enthusiasm to make health insurance cover accessible for majority of the American citizens.

Currently, based on the latest reports, atleast 4 out of 5 Americans have access to health insurance and their apprehensions about the costs remains a crucial factor, with Obama trying to secure his party's majority over the passage of the bill in the Senate to bring about reforms in Healthcare sector. In the House, Democrats were to united to have their version of bill pertaining to healthcare reforms passed. Democrat liberals and a smaller group of moderates in the Senate are opposed to core questions even as Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, is preparing to take the legislation to the floor of the Senate.

The recently concluded poll suggested that more awareness is being generated to the facts pertaining to healthcare and definitely details can make a difference.

In another poll survey, when a query was parried that whether every individual should avail of the health insurance cover, 67 percent respondents were in favor whereas 27 respondents disagreed.
The responses sharply varied when people were queried about making insurance coverage a compulsion or to face federal penalty for which the outcome was that 64 percent opposed it while only 28 percent voted in its favor.

With the passage of House and Senate bills, it would become mandatory for all Americans to secure insurance coverage either through an employer, a government program or purchasing the coverage on their own. A silver lining is that subsidies would be provided for both low-income individuals and middle-class households.

At the same time, a tax penalty would be enforced for failing to avail the pre-requisite healthcare coverage would dangle like a carrot over the individuals.

Eli Fuchs of Marietta, aged 26 years, criticized the regulation in its present format and expressed concern over the infringement rights of a US citizen wherein an individual is compelled to avail of the healthcare cover, even if he does not like it.

Based on the poll-survey amongst the Democrats, only 12 percent opposed the compulsion of availing healthcare insurance cover, but at the same time, 50 percent were opposed to imposition of penalties for failing to comply with the new guidelines.

Based on the poll findings, there was a similar shifting of opinion pertaining to employer requirements wherein 73 percent were in favor that it should be mandatory for all companies to provide some sort of health-insurance cover to their employees.

But, when it was queried that penalties would be imposed on large and medium-sized companies for failure to comply with the requirements, only 52 percent of the respondents supported the resolution. It was discovered that that workers who were uninsured were concentrated in small organizations.

The polling method was conducted in the form of interviews via land-line and cell phone with 1502 adults across different states in US from October 29th up to November 8th, 2009. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percent. Conduction of interviews was performed by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media. Due to a grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a non-partisan organization that conducts research on healthcare, the participation of Stanford University materialized.

Source: Medindia
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