Americans are paying almost 50% more than residents of other countries on health care, and insurance premiums have doubled over the last decade. “Rapidly rising health care costs are leading our nation down a fiscally unsustainable path,” President Obama said in his weekly address Saturday.
We’re still waiting on details of how the President’s ideas would be put to work, and resistance from Congress may reshape parts of the plan. But, from what we do know, here’s how his health care improvement and cost cutting plan could affect you.
1. Drug costs could come down or level off. “If the drug makers pay their fair share, we can cut government spending on prescription drugs,” the president said. And the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to help control the rate of growth in health care spending, especially in terms of prices for prescription drugs covered by Medicare.
2. The uninsured would be given health care coverage. This coverage would replace sending government subsidies to hospitals for treating the uninsured.
3. Hospital care would be more thorough. Incentives and penalties given to health care providers aim to ensure that you receive better hospital care and improved care after hospitalizations. This is expected to save the government roughly $25 billion over 10 years, according to the President’s plan.
4. Expensive and unnecessary tests, treatments, procedures and hospital stays would be eliminated. More care doesn’t always mean better care, and some unnecessary treatments can actually harm patients. Reviewing and eliminating unnecessary treatment practices would cut costs.
5. Patient-focused information and research would help improve healthcare. Ramped-up use of health care information technology and patient-centered research, as well as incentives for health care providers who provide better care, could develop a system that works better and costs less.
What do you think of the President's proposed changes to the health care system? Tell us in comments!