Understanding US Health Care Reform

US Health Care Reform: A big deal! As we travelled from Canada to and from Boston around the first week of July, the US Supreme Court ruling on health care reform dominated all media coverage.  Hype and polarizing condemnation of the high court’s decision was rampant, with Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, vowing to undo it if elected.  This is not surprising. What was surprising was that most Americans we spoke to – Democrat or Republican – were also unhappy with the decision.  Concerns ranged from fears that the new health care reform law would result in rationing of health care, to expectations that it would result in lower quality of care, along with increased costs to individuals, small businesses and the government.  Many were skeptical about being required to buy insurance, seeing it as a curb on individual freedom and a step down a slippery slope towards socialism.

Need for reform

The US health care system is an expensive and inefficient system (see the McKinsey Global Institute report: Accounting for the cost of US health care: A new look at why Americans spend more. According to the US Census Bureau report: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010, 49.9 million people were estimated to be without health insurance (p. 23).  An overhaul of the system seems necessary, but with all the hype and political wrangling, it is difficult to sort out what is being proposed and why.

So what is being proposed?

Illustrating Health Reform: How Health Insurance Coverage Will Work

This 10-minute animated movie, written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, is an excellent, balanced summary of what is being proposed and why.

Kaiser Health Reform Gateway

Statistics, analysis and discussion from the Kaiser Family Foundation web site.

US Health Care Reform

Details on health reform from the White House governmental web site.

New York Times: Health Care Reform

Article and related discussion, debate and news links.