Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Relief in Health Care

By Shu Zheng

The stimulus plan that is working through Congress is not only a package of tax cut, but also a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured, and the unemployed. The government plans to create a temporary new entitlement allowing workers getting unemployment checks to qualify for Medicaid, the health program for low-income people. In addition, the government would offer a subsidy to help laid-off workers retain the same health plans they had from their former employers. The economic recovery bill, as known, would expedite $127 billion over the next two and a half years to individuals and states for health care alone. It seems like a tremendous health assistant for the public, and it is undoubted that this plan will boost the economy for a short period of time, but it won’t eventually solve the problems that exist in the pool of health insurance.

The stimulus program is designated to assist the laid-offs and low-income population, however, the uprising costs of health cares and medications will eventually bring us to a deeper concern. Due to the downfall of sale affected by the current economy, small business owners have now been struggling to keep on paying high insurance premiums for themselves and their employees. As the economy turns worse, the proportion of small businesses that do not offer health insurance to workers has now increased significantly from 74% in 2007 to 85%. According to recent news, health insurance premiums will most likely double by 2016, and the average costs of employer-paid health insurance will jump from $11,381 to $24,291 in the future seven years. Facing the skyrocketing insurance prices, small business owners are looking to see what else they can cut in order to keep their businesses going. And often, they cut the costly health insurance.

So looking back on the stimulus package, even it seems to be a great relief for the public, especially the jobless, the rising costs of health care and medication will eventually come in the way. Providing the jobless population with insurance coverage will result in a positive outcome, however, in the long run, more actions are required in order to boost the insurance market.





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