Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Battle For Healthcare Reform

LATIMES: The public and employers are staggering under the cost of the present system -- rising at more than twice the rate of inflation and expected to surpass $2.2 trillion this year.

After months of spadework and consultation with the interested parties, lawmakers begin the most sweeping healthcare debate in a generation with broad agreement on the need to control costs, improve the care Americans receive and expand coverage to nearly everyone.

But shadowing the debate, which is expected to dominate Washington's summer and extend into the fall, are the same vexing controversies that have derailed almost all previous efforts to reshape the U.S. healthcare system.

In one of their most controversial proposals, Obama and many, but not all, congressional Democrats want to create an optional government insurance plan that individuals could choose instead of a private plan. Supporters argue that such a plan would curb costs and improve quality by creating competition for the handful of private insurance companies now dominating the market. Few proposals ignite hotter partisan passions. --- Click here for REST OF THIS LATIMES STORY!... ---

LATIMES: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced his version of the nations health care reform legislation on Tuesday [, which would enact Pres. Obama's optional government insurance plan.]

Senator Kennedy's bill to revamp the way Americans are insured would require all Americans to get medical insurance, establish complex new insurance exchanges to facilitate near-universal coverage, and dramatically step up government oversight of the insurance industry. Kennedy's bill was received with furious criticism [from Republicans and even some so-called moderate (blue dog) Democrats.] --- Click here for REST OF THIS LATIMES STORY!... ---

The private insurance industry, supported by congressional Republicans, are complaining that competition from a low cost "single payer" public health care program would cut into their near-monopolistic lock on the health care marketplace and significantly impact industry profits. The insurance industry is lobbying congress to scuttle the so called "single payer" optional government insurance approach to health care reform, and instead pass federal mandate legislation that requires people to purchase private health insurance, enforced with fines. Read more at Insurance Industry Pushing For "Private, For Profit" Health Care Reform.

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