The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes.
The idea is the latest effort by Democrats to escape the morass caused by delays in Congress, as well as voter discontent crystallized in angry town-hall meetings. Polls suggest the public is losing support for the overhaul plans, giving Republicans less incentive to go along.
Democrats hope a split-the-bill plan would speed up a vote and help President Barack Obama meet his goal of getting a final measure by year's end.
Democratic plan would be put to a separate vote in the Senate, including the requirement that Americans have health insurance. But in Massachusetts the program is a failure it has not achieved universal healthcare, although the reform has been a boon to the private insurance industry. The state has more than 200,000 without coverage, and the count can only go up with rising unemployment.
The program is not affordable for many individuals and families. For middle-income people not qualifying for state-subsidized health insurance, costs are too high for even skimpy coverage. For an
individual earning $31,213, the cheapest plan can cost $9,872 in premiums and out-of-pocket payments. Low-income residents, previously eligible for free care, have insurance policies requiring unaffordable
copayments for office visits and medications.
On April 4th 2006 The Massachusetts legislature approved a bill that would require all residents to purchase health insurance or face legal penalties, which would make this the first state to tackle the problem
of incomplete medical coverage by treating patients the same way it does cars.
The costs of the reform for the state have been formidable. Spending for the Commonwealth Care subsidized program has doubled, from $630 million in 2007 to an estimated $1.3 billion for 2009, which is not sustainable.
We must let Congress know we want improved access to affordable healthcare for all, not more expensive private health insurance we can't afford to use when we are sick. Massachusetts healthcare reform
fails on all five Institute of Medicine criteria. Congress should not make it a model for the nation.
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