Health and Human Services

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Worth noting is that the general consensus among the above interest groups is the desire for all matters health to be accorded central focus in the Administration’s agenda. However, there has been growing concern over rumors abounding that Obama might not seek funding to further the health cause in his budget, mainly as regards its legislation, citing a huge political risk, not to mention the tremendous cost outlay associated with such a move.

On the brighter side though, sources close to the president have brushed aside these fears, stating that indeed, health matters will be accorded due significance in the budget proposal, regardless of the recent wake of events, whereby the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, resigned from the administration following the controversies revolving around his ties to the Health Industry and the issue of his tax payment records. Coalitions;

A national lobbying campaign has seen the alliance of large business conglomerates and multi-national organizations, in liaison with trade and/ or labor unions across the United States, pool resources together with the main objective of influencing Congress and the President’s administration to prioritize reforms in the health sector. These include liberal groups and trade unions, whose focal agenda is the provision of universal medical care to all citizens. For instance, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) aims to accord the ordinary citizen near-similar health benefits to those enjoyed by federal employees (Garret, 2008).

Also, the Divided-We-Fail coalition, composed of the American Association of Retired People (AARP), the Fortune 500 and the Service Workers Union, amongst other representative groups, calls for accessible, efficient and affordable health coverage to all citizens, although differences arise regarding exactly how the government and private institutions should go about shouldering this responsibility. The stronghold of this coalition is that it has a unique membership, encompassing major players from both sides of the political divide; democrats and republicans alike.

This ensures it is better placed to take on the reform initiative to which it is dedicated, free from disparities that may come up due to ideological disparities. Another key player in this scenario is the business Roundtable, made up of the Health Insurance heavyweights, Humana, Aetna and Cigna, advocates for the laying of significance on private health insurance. This body is allied with the National Federation of Independent Business, which opposes the new requirements for employers. Public Opinion;

After the resignation of one Tom Daschle, the former Senator who was in charge of the Health docket as mentioned earlier, the general public, along with various stakeholders, were of the opinion that health reforms would now be shelved and not be prioritized in the budget as had been planned before. Another fear is that, just as the Clinton Administration had endeavored to institute reforms in 1993/4 , after being rhetorically supported by a majority of the then stakeholders and influential players, the Obama administration might face the same fate and outcome this year around.

Skepticism also waylays the willingness of large insurance companies allowing the government dominion over their operations, achievable through the introduction of a Government Insurance program, which might directly translate to their making fewer, if any, profits as a result (Oberlander, 2006). Worth noting is that there lack concrete proposals for reforming the health care industry as regards spending, and emphasis appears to be laid on ways of preventing the diseases in the first place, as well as coming up with other cost-effective control measures that are politically-safe.

Given the current economic crisis, most of the populace is worried that they may end up suffering due to lack of adequate health insurance, exacerbated by the sky-rocketing unemployment levels (Obama, 2008). However, this could be viewed as a potential stepping stone on the journey to implement the necessary reforms, if only to lighten the load off businesses and other organizations that may not be economically-empowered to cover healthcare costs for their workers, especially since their deflated budgets may not warrant such moves. Strategy;

The healthcare reforms have been introduced through the economic stimulus bill, under the guise of an emergency economic legislation, a move bent on capitalizing on goodwill that accrues to an incoming administration, especially considering the fate that has been known to befall previous regimes and/ or attempts to reform this sector. Also, some institutions have gone the extra mile and tabled proposals as to how this end can be achieved, specifically outlining the measures that can be put in place to reform the health sector (Collins, 2008).

A case in point is the white paper proposal by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, which posits that, indeed, it is possible to attain increased healthcare coverage to the uninsured population without having to resort to measures of increasing healthcare costs to the masses, a feat that can be achieved through instituting a variety of strategies, inclusive of the promotion of the growth of organized systems of care, closely tied to the establishment of a federal physician workforce policy that would be geared towards achievement of the goals of organized care.

In addition, it should be made a prerequisite to facilitate informed choices on the side of the patients, coupled with a collective responsibility as relates to making of relevant medical decisions. At the same time, the government can venture into funding a federal policy that aims at enhancing cost-effectiveness through research into scientific realms of healthcare. Such a move would aid in harnessing improved clinical breakthroughs on a real-time basis, continuously focusing on emerging theories and/ or technologies in this arena (Obama, 2008).

Thus, in a nutshell, the Obama administration ought to borrow a leaf from former president Clinton’s attempts earlier on in the 1990s, and proceed to move in haste and not lose heart and sight of the goal of reforms, no matter the pitfalls and setbacks that may come up along the way. Implications for Health care reforms; Obama is in support of the notion that there does lie the need to introduce policies that work towards improving the delivery of healthcare, especially along the lines of enhancing savings; this can be done by reducing medical errors that eventually prove costly, or additionally, preventing the accrual of unnecessary costs.

Such reduced reliance on new economic routes and/ or incentives would translate into savings, not only for the patients themselves, but also for the federal government, which may then channel those funds towards other vital ends in the country (Oberlander, 2006). A drawback to the reforms in question is that they predominantly tend to be reliant on the adherence to certain conditionality or other; for instance, adoption of new health plans by the patients, or the utilization of new technologies by doctors.

Obama’s health plan aims to improve quality in the health sector by aligning better technology with a revised payment system for the care providers, as opposed to demanding higher payments for more services, an action that is bound to cause a stir with the major stakeholders in the industry. As regards the health insurance industry , Obama will need to address the prevailing issues of costs; decisions will have to be made as to whether to restructure the Food and Drug administration (FDA), or offer grants to specific organizations/ institutions, such as Medicaid.

Subsequently, higher taxes will have to be imposed on higher-income households so as to mitigate the inevitable rise in expenditure. However, given the current economic recession period, this might prove to be a tall order, and serve to lengthen the entire period of legislation and implementation of the laid-out proposals (Garret, 2008). As relates to the pharmaceutical industry, there lies a distinction between generic drug makers and those more inclined towards innovation; the latter will be under constant pressure to meet various stipulations, such as efficacy and pricing.

For the former, there exists the potential for growth in the sector, especially after pending court cases related to the quality of the same are ironed out. Collaboration looms between the drug makers and the newly-established publicly-financed system, to work towards the provision of widely accessible and affordable medication, thus facilitating a more transparent and accountable healthcare system across the country. Bibliography; http://www. Barackobama. com/issues/healthcare

Collins, R. (2008). Envisioning the future: the 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Health Reform Proposals. Boston: Beacon Press. Garret, H. (2008). Medicaid, SCHIP and the economic Downturn: Policy Challenges and Policy Responses. Washington, DC: Routledge Publishers. Obama, B. (2008). Modern Health Care for all Americans. New England Journal of Medicine. 359:1537-42, (doi: 10. 1056/NEJMp0807677). Oberlander, S. (2007). Learning from Failure in Health Care Reform. New York: Harper & Row.

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