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10/25/12

Health care debate heats up News The Prospector University of Texas at El Paso

Healthcaredebateheatsup
ByPamelaPrieto Published:Tuesday,September1,2009 Updated:Monday,January18,201010:01

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Inthelastcoupleofmonths,thedebatearoundthepresidentialproposalonhealthreformhas ignitedseriousdebate,creatingamostlypartisandividebetweenthosewhobelievethefederal governmentshouldprovideaffordablehealthcareoptions,andthosewhoconsiderincreased governmentspendinganunviableoption. "Healthycivicengagementinvolvesaskingquestionsandparticipatinginpublicaffairs,"said KathleenStaudt,professorofpoliticalscienceatUTEP."Peopledohavelegitimatequestions aboutthehealthcareproposals.However,someofthepolarizationappearstobeoccurringbythosewhowantnothingtosucceedin thenextfewyears." Attownhallmeetingsacrossthenation,manycitizensareurgingtheirrepresentativesnottovoteforlegislativereformthatwould severelymodifythewaypeopleaccesstheirhealthcare.TheyarguethatHousebillHR3200,America'sAffordableHealthChoicesAct of2009,wouldriskpeople'sabilitytokeeptheirprivateinsurersandthatcontroloverindividuals'medicalchoiceswouldbetakenover bythegovernment. Ontheotherside,thosewhofavorreformarguethatitwouldguaranteeaffordablequalityhealthcareforallAmericansandthatitwould helppreventbankruptciesfrommedicalexpenses. "Ourdemocracywillbestrongerwhenpeoplewhoareeconomicallymarginalizedmanyofthemuninsuredalsoexpresstheirinterests ingettinghealthinsurance,"Staudtsaid. Asummaryofthebill,preparedbytheHouseCommitteesonWaysandMeans,EnergyandCommerceandEducationandLabor, statesthatitwouldprotectcurrentcoverageandensuresthatallAmericanshaveaffordablecoverage.Accordingtothecommittees,it wouldalsohelpcontrolthecostofhealthcarebyinvestinginstrongerpreventionmeasuresandincreasingaccesstoprimarycare. AccordingtoaUSAToday/GallupPollconductedJuly2009,56percentofAmericansfavormajorhealthcarereformlegislationby Congressthisyear.Whenviewedfromapartisanstandpoint,79percentofDemocratsfavorreform,whilealmostthecompleteopposite istrueforRepublicans,with71percentopposinghealthcarelegislation. RussellBooth,aseniorhistorymajorandchairofUTEP'sCollegeRepublicans,saidhewouldnotsupportapublichealthcareoption. Hebelieveshealthcoverageresponsibilitylieswiththecitizen,notthefederalgovernment. Healsomentionstheextremefinancialburdenthatitwouldplaceonfuturegenerationsandthebill'sabilitytomandatesubstandard care. Whilecurrentlegislaturehasyettooutlineafinalplanonhowthegovernmentwouldpayforpublichealthinsurance,researchhas shownthatlackofreformcouldbejustascostly.AccordingtoresearchconductedattheUrbanInstitute,anonpartisaneconomicand socialpolicyresearchgroup,"Withoutreform,thenumberofuninsuredAmericanswillswellfromaprojected49millionin2009to62 millionin2019,accordingtotheintermediateeconomiccase." Thismeansthatifthecurrentsystemcontinuesasis,healthinsurancepremiumsforemployerscouldgofrom$430billionin2009to $847billion10yearsfromnow.Healthcarespendingforindividualsandfamiliescouldincreasefrom$326billionto$521billionin 2019.Asforgovernmentprograms,likeMedicaidandtheChildren'sHealthInsuranceProgram,UIpredictsspendingcouldincreaseby 82percent,to$458billionandthatincreasedtaxeswouldbeneededtopayforthoseservices. CongressmanSilvestreReyesrecentlydiscussedthelatesthealthcarereformbillatanElPasotownhallmeeting.Hesaidthattopay forapublicoption,thebillwouldtaxthewealthiest1.2percentofAmericansandwouldreallocatefundsthatarelostin Medicaid/Medicareadministrativewaste. Thebillalsoincludesa2.5percenttaxpenaltyforthosepeoplewhowanttooptoutofthesystemandkeeptheirownprivateinsurance services.

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10/25/12

Health care debate heats up News The Prospector University of Texas at El Paso

However,accordingtoReyes'Website,"Thehealthcaresurchargewouldhavenoeffecton98.8percentofallhouseholdsand96 percentofsmallbusinessesintheUnitedStates." Opponentsofthebillhavewidelyexpressedtheiropinionofapublicoptionasamovementtowardsocializedmedicine. "It'snotfairtojustwriteitoffandsayit'ssocialism,"saidRichardGutierrez,professorofpoliticalscience."Thereareallkindsof elementsofsocialismthatalreadyexist." GutierrezwentontonamesomeprogramstheU.S.hasinplacethatcouldbeconsideredsocialism,suchassocialsecurity,financial aidforstudents,publicschoolsystems,fireandpolicedepartmentservicesandtheU.S.military. "It'smostlyjustscaretactics,andIthinkalotofpeoplearejustmisinformed,"Gutierrezsaid."ButIthink,too,theadministrationhasnot beenrealgoodaboutclarifyingwhatexactlytheprogramisallabout." Texas,havingthehighestpercentageofuninsuredcitizensaccordingtostudieslikeCodeRed:TheCriticalConditionofHealthin TexasbytheTaskForceonAccesstoHealthCareinTexas,willbewidelyaffectedbytheoutcomeofthehealthcarereform. "ThetaskforceassertsthattheeconomicvitalityandsecurityofTexasdependsonthehealthofitspopulation.Thestrengthand productivityofitsworkforceandthecapacityforeducationalattainmentdependscriticallyuponthehealthofworkersandstudents,"the reportstates. PreventthespreadofH1N1 OnJune11,2009,theWorldHealthOrganization(WHO)raisedtheworldwidepandemicalertleveltoPhase6inresponsetothe ongoingglobalspreadofthenovelinfluenzaA(H1N1)virus.APhase6designationindicatesthataglobalpandemicisunderway. Stepstoprotectyourhealthandlessenthespreadofthisnewvirus: Coveryournoseandmouthwithatissuewhenyoucoughorsneeze.Throwthetissueinthetrashafteryouuseit. Washyourhandsoftenwithsoapandwater,especiallyafteryoucoughorsneeze.Alcoholbasedhandcleanersarealsoeffective. Avoidtouchingyoureyes,noseormouth.Germsspreadthisway. Trytoavoidclosecontactwithsickpeople. Ifyouaresickwithaflulikeillness,stayhomeforsevendaysafteryoursymptomsbeginoruntilyouhavebeensymptomfreefor24 hours,whicheverislonger.Thisistokeepfrominfectingothersandspreadingthevirusfurther. Followpublichealthadviceregardingbestpracticestominimizevirusexposures,includingavoidanceofcrowdsandothersocial distancingmeasuresduringpeakinfectionperiods. Source:UTEPhealthupdate PamelaPrietomaybereachedatprospector@utep.edu.

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