President-elect Barack Obama has proposed an ambitious plan to reform U.S. health care and get insurance for at least some of the 46 million Americans who now lack it.
Following are some facts about his health care proposals:
- A National Health Insurance Exchange to help people buy private insurance, act as a watchdog and create standards, supplemented in part by a tax on employers who do not provide coverage.
- Offer small businesses a tax credit to help pay for employee health insurance.
- Require health care for all children, and expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance plan for the poor and disabled, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program or SCHIP.
- Allow children to stay on parents' health insurance through age 25.
- $50 billion to be spent creating a cohesive system for electronic health records.
- Stop insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
- Require coverage of preventive services such as cancer screenings, and increase state and local preparedness for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
- Obama's health advisers have studied the idea of a "medical home"—a primary care doctor who would help coordinate and oversee care—as well as the possibility of paying doctors to spend time with patients on preventing disease and rewarding them for better outcomes.
- Obama says he can reduce health care spending by 8 percent and save each taxpayer $2,500.
- The Lewin Group, a consulting firm, forecasts that the Obama proposal would raise federal spending by $1.17 trillion from 2010 through 2019.