Health Care Reform: Successful? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 8, 2010
Rising in notoriety and controversy, the subject of health care reform has caught the nation’s attention. Talk show hosts, politicians, columnists, news anchors, and doctors have warned Americans against health care reform, debating that the proposed bill will fail to improve the current system and cost the nation more than it’s worth. Similarly, supporters of the bill contradict their opponents’ protests. Among their arguments, they state that health care reform will provide health insurance for the vast number of uninsured and supply a better alternative to the current system. Although their case appears promising, studies reveal that health care reform will only expand coverage to a small fraction of the uninsured and degrade the degree of care distributed by the health care system.
Health care reform supporters fight for an improved health care system; however, will the proposed bill improve medical care? In October 2009 Fox News aired a special television program entitled Obamacare: A Second Opinion. A team of forty doctors and medical students – some in support of the proposed bill, and some against – met on the show to debate the issue of health care reform. Although the doctors agreed unanimously that the “current system is unsustainable,” the majority agreed that “the quality of care will go down” with the proposed health care reform. Frank Alberta, M.D. stated, “There’s nothing really that’s set out to help people improve the care that they’re already getting or what we’re giving. The care that we as doctors are giving is not the problem. The problem is that it costs too much, and patients aren’t aware of how much it costs to provide this care.”
Additionally, health care reform will increase the number of people insured by Medicaid, weakening the health care system. Medicaid patients only pay an average of nine dollars per doctor’s visit. Because of this and other complications in the Medicaid system, over 50% of doctors have already withdrawn from receiving Medicaid patients. Doctors Barry Belgorod, M.D. and Bhupesh Vasisht, M.D. stated that they stopped receiving Medicaid because, “the paperwork version was too much, the rules and regulations were obscure, [and] it was very difficult to constantly comply with their regulations.” By increasing the amount of Medicaid patients to an estimated 10 million, the proposed bill will not improve the health care system. Doctors will continue to reject Medicaid until Medicaid patients have nowhere to go.
Health care reform supporters fight for uninsured Americans. They proclaim the need for a nation-wide health care system that will expand coverage. New York Times Editor, Gerald Marzorati, restates this idea in his editorial The Uninsured, stating, “One of the major goals of health care reform is to cover the vast numbers of uninsured.” Columnist Nicholas B. Kristof supports health care reform, stating in his article Dad’s Life or Yours? You Choose, “Lack of insurance increases a working-age person’s risk of dying in any given year by 40 percent... [and] is linked to nearly 45,000 unnecessary deaths a year.” While their intentions are just, their claim that the proposed bill will cover the “vast numbers of uninsured” is improbable. Studies show that the proposed bill will only cover one-third of uninsured Americans. According to AARP, approximately 30.8 million Americans will remain uninsured even with the extended coverage that the health care bill will provide. A guest doctor on the special television program, Obamacare: A Second Opinion, stated, “Insurance is the problem not the solution. The myth here that’s been perpetuated on the American public is that we have a problem with health insurance [so] let’s fix health insurance. But doctors know that the issue is that’s going to threaten technology because people are overusing insurance. So if we extend the overuse model to more and more people, our best treatments are going to be in danger and our best doctors will be in danger.” While health care reform will reduce the number of uninsured Americans, it will not provide the nation-wide health care expansion that supporters presume or eliminate the unnecessary deaths influenced by lack of insurance.
So what’s the solution? If the current health care system is truly “unsustainable” and the proposed health care reform will neither cover uninsured Americans nor improve the current system, what’s a realistic solution to the issue? Instead of relying on Americans to supply trillions of dollars to establish a new system, the American government should restructure the current health care system. In this way we could strengthen the successful programs, eliminate the unproductive programs, and make the system more accessible to uninsured Americans for a fraction of the cost.

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