Senator Obama's Healthcare Plan
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
WHYY's analysis of the election-year healthcare proposals continues. Yesterday we heard from the McCain campaign. Today from the Health and Science Desk, Taunya English reports on Senator Barack Obama's plan.
More special coverage on health, science and the elections.
Taunya's report on Senator McCain's healthplan
Former U.S. Health Secretary Donna Shalala outlined the Senator's proposal to expand health insurance coverage. She says the first priority is children.
Obama's plan mandates health insurance coverage for every child.
Shalala: It's also the one place where I think you can get bipartisan consensus and get some comfortableness with phasing in and going toward universal healthcare coverage. Obviously with the economic situation everybody’s wondering: Can we afford this? My point is we can't afford not to.
Obama's health insurance expansion would establish a new public program for people who can't buy health insurance at work or don't qualify for government programs, like Medicaid.
The proposal also includes a so-called "play or pay" provision.
Shalala: Employers if they don't provide health insurance for their employees will be required to pay a small amount for each employee into a pool. That pool money will be used to provide some healthcare choices to employees and they will be able to find their own healthcare plan, that they can afford.
Small businesses would be exempt.
Shalala says the Obama plan lessens the burden on everyone by getting more people enrolled in some kind of healthcare insurance coverage. Under the Obama proposal insurance companies won't be allowed to deny coverage because a patient has a pre-existing illness.