Column: The lowdown on health care reform

By Gus Bode

Health care reform is one of the most important issues facing the United States; it is also one of the most discussed.

Talking heads on TV, political bloggers, newspaper columnists (myself included) and all their brothers and sisters, all have something to say about health care reform.

I feel most of the ‘information’ our news media has to offer on health care reform is gross misinformation meant to scare people and then report, or bash, on the person(s) who said such gross misinformation.


Although I personally don’t disagree with the bashing, it doesn’t exactly educate people on the proposed legislation that is the source of said discussion.

So, for my first column, I would like to outline the main points in the bills that Congress is considering so health care reform might be a little less confusing.

There are two main bills, which are the driving force behind the health care debate. They are America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (Health Choices) and The United States National Healthcare Act (National Healthcare).

National health care is what you might have heard called ‘single-payer’ or ‘socialized healthcare.’

This means the U.S. Government is the sole provider of health care; therefore health insurance would cease to exist. But, because the Health Choices Act seems to have the most support, and because President Obama does not support national health care, I will discuss health choices in this article.

Health choices seeks to refine and put limits on the current system. The major points of the bill are:

1.’ ‘ ‘ You cannot be denied health insurance for any pre-existing conditions you have.


2.’ ‘ ‘ Your premiums will only change based on your age and if you need insurance for yourself or a family.’ ‘

3.’ ‘ ‘ Coverage can only be canceled if you have been found to somehow be abusing the system.

4.’ ‘ ‘ Out of pocket expenses will be limited to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families.

5.’ ‘ ‘ A public option for insurance will be created. This is to provide competition among private insurers in order to keep premiums low and also to provide an option for areas where there aren’t many choices.

6.’ ‘ ‘ Those who do not have insurance (provided they are not below the poverty level) will be taxed.’ Companies who do not provide insurance to their employees will be taxed.Those who have an adjustable income above $350,000 will see a tax increase.

One of major controversies you may have heard about is the cost. It will cost $239 billion over nine years.

If you heard it would cost $1 trillion, this is also true. However, with the money that will be made from the above taxes, and also by taking spending changes in that nine-year period into account, the resulting cost is $239 billion. Doesn’t seem that crazy does it?

Nothing about ‘death panels’ (not even worth mentioning) or turning into European ‘socialists.’ I really don’t understand the big deal; it truly will do nothing but help the average American.

Bucklin is a junior studying political science.