USA Federal Government Taking on More Responsibility for its Citizens’ Health Care

October 10th, 2011
USA Federal Government Taking on More Responsibility for its Citizens’ Health Care

Despite the arguments and legal battles currently ongoing in the USA over president Obama’s health care bill, the federal administration is designing a basic health package for most Americans.

A report published by the Institute of Medicine has laid down guidelines for deciding what the new benefits package should include. The organisation is also looking at how to use funds wisely, particularly since the US Republican Party is implacably opposed to any form of socialised medicine.

The Institute of Medicine hasn’t spelled out so far what health care measures should be included in the new system, but it has devised a plan on how it will be implemented. It seems it believes something called mid-tier health plans, which are offered by employers, should be the framework to build the new system. The actual Act is not due to be enforced till 2014, which gives the country time to adjust and plans to be implemented.

Speaking with reporters, Stephen Finan, a top policy expert for the American Cancer Society said: “The federal government has never before attempted to define what constitutes essential medical benefits for Americans with private insurance.”

However, what does constitute essential medical benefits will be decided after a so-called listening exercise. Kathleen Sebelius, the federal government Health and Human Services Secretary said: “Before we put forward a proposal, it is critical that we hear from the American people.”

While the US government is trying to devise a suitable medical care system that is in part socialised, the British government according to its critics is moving in the opposite direction. Many people in the UK fear that the Health & Social Care Bill, which is about to go to the House of Lords this week for its second reading, could spell the end of the National Health Service as we know it – in England at least. Some argue that what the bill does is slowly turn the system into a fully open market system, subject to competition law as laid down by the European Union.

Currently national insurance contributions go some way to funding the NHS in Britain, with the rest made up from general taxation, but it is said that health insurance companies are already gearing up to entice people to take out health insurance.

Dental health plans have been around for a few years now since many dentists opted out of the NHS in protest over the previous government’s approach.

 

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