At town halls across the country people are rallying against President Obama's healthcare proposal. 54% of Americans feel that America is on the wrong track and 69% believe that a government plan would decrease their quality of care. This does not necessarily mean that Americans are against healthcare reform, though, because 66% of Americans feel that they would eventually lose their healthcare without some reform to the current system. So the issue basically breaks down to one major question: how to expand coverage and reduce cost while maintaining the flexibility to choose our own insurance and practitioner.
To average Americans, healthcare reform is a necessary step in order to avert an impending crisis. While most Americans are in favor of healthcare reform, many Americans fear that the Obama proposal will increase their taxes, reduce their choices, and lower their quality of care. Americans are rallying in some form against practically all possible options for reform and are going to town hall meetings across the country to proclaim their displeasure with their elected officials. "Obamacare" is not winning support and it seems as though the more the American public finds out about the new proposal the more they are saying, "NO."
What if there was another way? There is. Over the past two years, Senator Ronald Wyden (OR) and Senator Bob Bennett (UT) have been working on a plan called the Healthy Americans Act. The plan, unlike Obama's, promises an expansion in coverage and a reduction in costs, all while remaining budget neutral. The plan would:
1. Create an alternative exchange where people can purchase health insurance plans based on quality, coverage, and price.
2. Give Americans tax credits of up to 18,000 dollars to purchase health insurance, which would allow greater portability and create greater competition in the market. (Yes, even our elected officials would have to subscribe to this plan.)
3. Prevent insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions. The insurers would be given access to effective data analysis, forcing increased transparency in the market place.
One of the great failures of the Obama plan is cost. Over the next ten years the plan will cost taxpayers another 1.3 trillion dollars and most likely increase exponentially after that ten-year period. The Healthy Americans Act, unlike Obama's plan, will be budget neutral by 2014 and will start earning money after that.
Obama's plan also has stepped on the toes of one of the largest voting blocs, senior citizens. These seniors have many concerns with the current healthcare reform that are reasonable, such as cuts to Medicare, and others that are not, such as government sponsored euthanasia. But Wyden's proposal does not intended to nor need to touch Medicare and plans to allow seniors to use it in tandem with their own private health coverage.
America needs a new start and Senator Wyden has stated for all people, "Americans don't need a replay of that dismal failure," referring to 1993's proposed health care reform. "Americans deserve better and so do the many responsible people who work in your profession. Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate want to work with you to get health care right in 2009. I ask you this morning to work with us to fix American health care in a way that makes sense for our people."
I agree with Senator Wyden. Too long has America suffered from crippling health care costs. Granted, Senator Wyden's bill is revolutionary, but to achieve sufficient reform that doesn't cost the American tax payer trillions of dollars we need this bill. Americans want a plan that is affordable yet doesn't put them into boxes. Wyden's creates the kind of reform America needs and it's time to support his true reform, not Obama's.