Thursday, September 10, 2009

Health Care Reform for Dummies

OK so today I am going to talk about the big health care issue that has over run our media and our congress.

A lot of Americans are confused and to be honest with you I was one of them. After President Obama's speech yesterday day I decided to dig a little deeper and try to find out exactly what hell is going on. I didn't understand most of what was being said so therefore most of this health care talk has gone in one ear and out the other. Today I will be breaking down some of the terminology that has been used when discussing health care reform. These definitions alone have made the entire health care debate and heck of a lot easier to comprehend.

Now, to be absolutely clear, with my current career I will most likely never have to deal with the issue of my own health care options but that doesn't mean that I am not concerned for the future of my husband's or future children's health care options.

I encourage each and every one of you to do your own research and educate yourself on this extremely important issue. Even if it may not apply to you, it may apply to your family and friends. So, as you go on your quest to unravel this crazy web called heath care reform you can use my mini dictionary to help clear up some of the confusion surrounding it. (Thank you for most of these terms and definitions)

Co-op: A non-profit health cooperative, or "co-op," is a member-owned group that assembles a network of salaried medical providers and negotiates payment rates with them. Membership is voluntary; consumers decide whether a co-op's costs, coverage, provider networks and other features are superior to those of private plans.

Defensive medicine: the practice by a physician of ordering many tests or consultations as a means of self-protection against charges of malpractice in the event of an unfavorable outcome of treatment.

Doughnut hole: A gap in coverage for seniors within the defined standard benefit under the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. The doughnut hole requires seniors to pay full cost for drug prescriptions after they reach a pre-set spending limit.

Electronic records: The Obama administration has called for all records to be computerized within the next five years as a way to modernize the health care system and lower costs.

Health insurance exchange: A phrase used to describe a "marketplace" for various health care options -- including a government plan -- that will increase competition.

Malpractice: failure of a professional person, as a physician or lawyer,to render proper services through reprehensible ignorance or negligence or through criminal intent, esp. when injury or loss follows.

Medicaid: a government-backed health option for low-income individuals and families.

Medicare: a government-backed program for seniors 65 years or older.

Private insurance: Health coverage provided by companies like BlueCross Blue Shield, GHI, and United Health care.

Public option: A public option, or "nationalized plan," is a government-run, government-funded health insurance option offered as an alternative to private insurance companies

"Rationing" care: Critics charge that a government-run health insurance system would lead to health care "rationing" -- meaning that care would be given according to need.

Reform: the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt,unsatisfactory

Self-sufficient: able to supply one's own or its own needs without external assistance

"Socialized" medicine: some have called the idea of a public option"socialist" -- meaning the option would drive private insurers out of business and create a government-regulated system that provides health care for all. Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines "socialism" as"any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods."

Single payer: A term used to describe a system that would collect all health care fees and pay out all health care costs. This type of financing system has been proposed to eliminate administrative waste,because it would force doctors and hospitals to bill one entity for services -- rather than several private insurance companies that have different billing procedures.

Tort (as in tort reform): a wrongful act, not including a breach of contract or trust, that results in injury to another's person, property,reputation, or the like, and for which the injured party is entitled to compensation.

Trigger: An idea that proposes a so-called "trigger" in the health care reform legislation, which would keep a government plan on reserve in case private insurers don't meet certain standards.

Now that you are armed with these terms and definitions, get out there and do your own research, watch Obama's speech again, come up with your own opinion and then contact your state representatives. Make sure you express to them your want for a good resolution to this very pressing issue!


  1. Thank you for clearing a few things up. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Your very welcome! Be sure to come back often and tell your friends!

  3. Hi there, I like to read the opinions of people with different view points and saw that you are also on blogspot.

    Might i suggest a revision to you definition under public option. Under the proposed plan the public option is not government funded. It is ran similar to any private insurance in that it is funded through collected premiums. It is not for profit, but that doesn't mean that it is government funded. Good, and most of all simple definitions that I wish some of my friends understood :P

  4. At some point it will be government funded. The numbers for the public option just don't add up. President Obama himself said that less then 5% of Americans would enroll in the public option. The collected premiums from those 5% would not be enough to sustain a government run program. Or if that example dosen't suit you, how do you think they will get a public option off the ground, I will tell you how... billions of dollars of tax payer money.

    Thank you so much for all of the comments and I look forward to more of your suggestions and opinions!