Obama Champions Health Care Reform

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

Costs -- that's been the key issue surrounding President Barack Obama's push for reform, with some saying the pricetag is simply too high.

"We're looking at slightly under a trillion dollars to slightly over a trillion dollars," said Wendy Block, with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

While the Obama administration stresses the House bill could actually cut costs in the long run.

Here's the breakdown of that plan:

House Bill Basics

-Medicare-like "Public Option"
-Make Health Insurance Mandatory
-Require Companies To Provide Health Insurance

-Price Tag: $1 trillion

How To Pay For It:

-New Taxes on Wealthiest Households
-Penalty Fees For Companies Not Providing Coverage
-Cost-cutting Agreements With Hospitals/Pharmaceuticals

The total savings from those measures? About $850 billion -- a bit short, in other words. And business owners say the effects of mandated coverage could be devastating -- particularly in cash strapped Michigan.

"What this proposal would do is ask individuals and businesses to dig deeper into their pockets and pull out more of their hard-earned money to pay for this proposal," Block said. "And I'm afraid that they don't have those dollars available."

But some members of the medical community say mandatory insurance is a must. William Strampel, dean of the the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, says Americans are already paying for the estimated 47 million uninsured living in the country.

"They're getting coverage. It might not be the most effective, or the most efficient coverage, but they're getting it, and everybody else is paying for it," Strampel said.

Provide a public option and mandate coverage, he adds, and both hospitals and taxpayers will be better off.

A point president Obama will be sure to stress Wednesday night.


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