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Obama’s health care plan has received a great deal of media attention and has attracted its share of controversy and debate. While the plan has undergone many changes from its original form, certain key elements remain that are intended to give patients additional rights when dealing with insurance companies. Some of the most important provisions of the plan include the elimination of insurance company policies discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions and prevents premiums from increasing or the loss of coverage due to illness. Obama’s plan will require insurance companies to provide necessary preventive services including mammograms, flu shots, and other tests without requiring a copayment in most cases; it also puts an upper limit on the out-of-pocket expenses for most patients, offering protection against the catastrophic financial effects of prolonged illnesses.
For those currently without health insurance, Obama’s health care plan will create a new way to obtain coverage. A new organization, known as the Exchange, will offer plans at rates comparable to current group rates even for those who have been denied coverage in the past due to pre-existing conditions or high risk factors. Individuals and small businesses would receive tax credits to help them with the cost of health care, and a public health insurance option, now eliminated from the bill currently in Congress, was intended to ensure that every American received at least a basic level of health care coverage.
Obama’s health care plan addresses overall reform of the health care industry by adding incentives for facilities that manage medical costs efficiently and for the benefit of patients, and by cutting costs across the board where possible. The plan allows for the formation of an independent commission including physicians and experts in the medical field to oversee the industry and identify key areas where reform will be most effective. Obama’s plan also requires large employers to maintain health insurance coverage for their employees, ensuring that those who already have insurance are able to retain it. While the bill is expected to undergo even more changes before its final form, it should bring much needed relief to consumers who are caught between the economic downturn and the ever-increasing cost of health insurance.