Congress tries to thrash out health-care proposals

Every time you turn on CNN or Fox News, you can’t watch for more than five minutes without hearing the phrase “health care.” It’s usually accompanied by a storm of outrage, but many don’t really know what is being proposed and who is proposing it.

President Barack Obama has pledged to work with the House and Senate to get a health care reform bill passed by the end of his first year in his office. However, the deadline is coming up faster than the President’s plan can push its way through Congress.

The president urges Congress to pass a healthcare reform bill that will do the following:

  • lessen the long-term growth of health care costs for both the government and businesses;
  • protect the right of the people to choose their own doctors and health plans;
  • provide protection for families facing bankruptcy or large debt because of health care costs;
  • invest in wellness and prevention;
  • ensure better patient safety and quality of care; and
  • offer affordable and good health coverage for every American (even those with pre-existing conditions).

The House of Representatives has largely gone along with many of the president’s suggestions. America’s Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009 is the principal health care reform bill dominating the floor of the 111th Congress. Its main purpose is to cover the approximately 40 million Americans currently without health insurance by lessening the costs associated with health care and improving the efficiency of the current health care system.

Along with including a new government-managed health insurance plan that would serve as a competitor to the private sector, the bill also includes:

  • a stipulation that everyone has health insurance;
  • a plan to enact novel requirements for employers to provide coverage for their employees;
  • a prohibition on the practice of denying people coverage because of pre-existing conditions; and
  • a surtax on households with an income of more than $350,000.

U.S. Senators are also frantically debating and discussing the health-care situation. The biggest accomplishment for supporters of implementing a universal health-care plan came when the president’s push to overhaul the U.S.’s $2.3 trillion health care system passed the Senate’s health committee. This was the first time a congressional committee has supported health-care coverage for all in fifteen years.

This story is still developing. Stay tuned to that favorite news channel to keep up on all the new developments.