Definition: Defining the Meaning of Health Care Reform
Health care reform is a general rubric used for discussing major health policy creation or changes, for the most part, governmental policy that affects health care delivery in a given place.
Health care reform typically attempts to:
- Give more care to citizens.
- Improve the quality of health care.
- Decrease the cost of health care.
- Improve the access to health care specialists.
- Expand the array of health care providers consumers may choose among.
- Broaden the population that receives health care coverage through either public sector insurance programs or private sector insurance companies.
Latest news articles and information regarding the United States Health Care Reform Legislation. The health-care industry incorporates several sectors that are dedicated to providing services and products dedicated to improving the health of individuals.
The social and political issue of access to healthcare in the US has led to public debate and confusing use of terms such as "health care" (medical management of illness or disease), health insurance (reimbursement of health care costs), and the public health (the collective state and range of health in a population).
Health care reform is a major issue agenda in the United States aside economic recovery.
President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders of Congress are keen to overhaul the current health care system, calling it inefficient and health care available under it unaffordable for many Americans. They seek to replace it with a comprehensive national system of health insurance. Republican leaders seek to achieve similar goals by promoting what they term "free market" solutions.
In 2009, the overhaul of the health care system in the United States was approved and the Senate passed an $871 billion bill.
This was a major step towards U.S. health care reform. By the end of March 2009, the chairmen of five Congressional committees had reached a consensus on the main ingredients of legislation, and insurance industry representatives had made some major concessions. The chairmen, all Democrats, agreed that all American citizens by law must pay for their own health insurance or face financial penalties up to $695 annually and that employers should be required to help pay for it. They also agreed that the government should offer a public health insurance plan as an alternative to private insurance.
However, the matter started to become complicated when the Democratic Party lost its Senate seat in Massachusetts to Republicans losing its 60th vote which gave it an advantage over the Republicans. A health care reform was further dealt a blow with the announcement that Billy Tauzin, a top lobbyist who positioned the pharmaceutical industry firmly behind health-care reform, would resign. A meeting held between Democrat and Republican lawmakers on February 25, 2010, resulted in an impasse.
After a historic vote on March 21, 2010, the House of Representatives passed the original Senate reform bill H.R. 3590 with a 219-212 vote, along with the Reconciliation Act of 2010 H.R. 4872 with a 220-211 vote.
- No Republicans voted Aye for either the Senate reform bill, or the Reconciliation Act of 2010.
- President Barack Obama signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub. L. No. 111-148) into law in the United States on March 23, 2010.
- The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 passed the Senate by a vote of 56-43 on March 25, 2010.
- President Obama signed the health care reconciliation bill into law on Tuesday, March 30th, at Northern Virginia Community College.
Quick Facts: U.S. Health Care Reform
In the United States, the debate regarding healthcare reform includes questions of a right to health care, access, fairness, sustainability, quality and amounts spent by government. The mixed public-private health care system in the United States is the most expensive in the world, with health care costing more per person than in any other nation, and a greater portion of gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on it than in any other United Nations member state except for East Timor (Timor-Leste).