June 2021
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How Many Benefit?

The year long fight over whether to pass a bill reforming the healthcare industry has just come to an end. President Obama has signed it into law. Now all we have to do is sit back and wait to see whether it will deliver a better and fairer service to more of the population. At this point, a little honesty is in order. The US healthcare service has been broken for some time and anything that improves it is to be welcomed. The GOP do, however, have legitimate concerns about cost. We are just starting to recover from a deep recession. Unemployment is still at a record high. Public debt is mounting as big government tries to keep the banks afloat and encourage business to start hiring again. So, if this reform pushes up debt, the cost may come to outweigh the benefits. The various supposedly independent government agencies claim the reforms will actually reduce public debt. Unfortunately, guessing what will happen in the future never produces reliable results. All we can do is wait and see.

One of the key selling points for reform has been the number of people without insurance. The Democrats have been standing up for social justice — the idea that the state should provide health care for the maximum number of people. Various numbers have been thrown around. There are apparently some 45 million uninsured adults. About 31 or 32 million of these people may now get some kind of coverage. Where do all these numbers come from and how reliable are they? We start of with the census. That is supposed to tell us how many people there are in the US so the government can make sensible plans to provide all the services and amenities they need. Unfortunately, the census data is now old and not completely reliable. Not everyone wants to be counted or, if cornered, not everyone tells the truth. But it does give us a starting point. We exclude children and seniors already in Medicare. This is the number of adults who could have health plans. The insurance companies report the number of policy holders and of those enrolled in employers’ plans. A subtraction sum gives us an estimate of the uninsured. So who will be entitled to coverage? Well, big government is expecting some 24 million people to buy coverage through the new insurance exchanges. A further 16 million are expected to join Medicaid. More children whose parents do not qualify for aid will join CHIP. Except no one actually knows for certain who these people are. The only clear cut assurance that has been given is to ensure illegal adult immigrants will not be allowed into the health market.

Put simply, none of the numbers you see in the news media can really be explained or justified. Everyone who wants access to affordable health insurance coverage will just have to stand up and agree to be counted. If they meet the criteria on income and do not have insurance provided by their employer, they are potentially eligible for assistance. If the healthcare costs can be controlled, more people will no doubt be brought into cheap health insurance plans. It will still be short of universal coverage but, in a capitalist country, we do not want anything so socialist. There must always be losers so the rest of us count as winners.

About Author
With over 10 years working as a professional journalist Irma Sanchez has contributed many interesting materials to that many users around the globe regard as a benchmark for professional writing.

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