The Obama health care plan, changes explained

Obama’s health care plan is ready

Obama health care plan

Obama’s health care plan blends the House and Senate proposals. Image from Flickr.

The Obama health care plan, in its most recent incarnation, is now available for all to see on the White House web site. Of course, it’s a very lengthy document and some parts are a little hard to understand, so I have composed a summary focusing on the parts that have changed since the last health care bill was made public.

Obama’s health care plan contains elements from both the House and Senate versions of the bill, but the White House site says it more closely resembles the senate version. One important question people want to know up front is how the government will pay for Obama’s health care plan. People don’t want to see the feds take out another cash loan and incur more national debt.

Paying for the Obama health care plan

The White House site says the bill will make health care more affordable:

The House and Senate health insurance bills lower premiums through increased competition, oversight, and new accountability standards set by insurance exchanges.  The bills also provide tax credits and reduced cost sharing for families with modest income. The President’s Proposal improves the affordability of health care by increasing the tax credits for families.

Low- and middle-income families also will get tax breaks to help pay for health insurance. Check out a table of income levels and tax breaks.


Part of Obama’s health care plan focuses on cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse. The bill creates a comprehensive sanctions database and calls for registration and background checks of billing agencies and individuals. It expands access to the health care integrity and protection data bank.

The president’s proposal also aims to ensure that people have access to mental health care. It also provides the ability for real-time data review and increases sanctions for committing Medicare or Medicaid fraud. Read a full list of crackdown measures.

In the long run

As far as making sure the cost of Obama’s health care plan can continue to be sustainable, the web site says:

President’s Proposal creates a set of benchmark payments at different percentages of the current average fee-for-service costs in an area.  It phases these benchmarks in gradually in order to avoid disruption to beneficiaries, taking into account the relative payments to fee-for-service costs in an area.

The plan also will delay and reform the high-cost plan excise tax, broaden Medicare hospital insurance, increase fees on brand-name prescriptions and close tax loopholes to prevent unjustified tax shelters. You can read about more improvements and view a searchable copy of the Obama health care plan at

  • Wayne

    Well, I am just a simple man.. The largest problem we have with any of the problems facing this country is caused by one simple word……………..GREED. Period.

  • ryan

    i hate the plan

  • Jim

    That said, I do not know enough about the Obama plan to render judgement-but I
    know a lot of people say it is horrible and we can't afford it . We can't afford
    bogus wars either. But that seems to be the pattern. We invaded Haiti in 1915
    until 1930 for no other reason than the banks wanted us to_but I digress.
    The answer to the Healthcare system is simple enough. Stop covering illegal
    aliens, and let everyone be eligible to buy MediCare if they want it, but still
    keep private insurance as it is for people who want that.
    In my humble opinion

  • Jim

    "In my opinion"
    The current system is broken. There are many hard working Americans that are
    either uninsured or underinsured. Meanwhile if you are an illegal alien or crack
    head welfare receipient, you get better healthcare than a lot of people that
    have insurance. I have watched families have a child that gets cancer-go through
    the insurance in a year (many people are unaware that most insurance companies
    have a million dollar life time maximum). Then lose their car and home to
    medical bills, then they qualify for Medi-Cal. Meanwhile the chemo kept getting
    changed up due to insurance status. Many times, the child would away. I
    don't know about you-but that would push me over the edge.

  • Jim

    The answer to the Healthcare system is simple enough. Stop covering illegal
    aliens, and let everyone be eligible to buy MediCare if they want it, but still
    keep private insurance as it is for people who want that.
    In my humble opinion

  • Lori

    By the way, I know this was long, but these are not stories I have read. Not only have I seen them as patients, but the last 2 cases, one is current and one was just 6 months prior. Happens all the times. The doctors don't always know this, because the patients with problems don't always go to the doctors. Those of us out in the real world do.

  • Lori

    Case # 2 Patient is working hard, owns her own business, smart though, buys health insurance, pays for it every month, the best she can afford. Gets a "super bug" is almost dead, but slowly recovers with a long and length illness. Insurance maxed out. Cost above the insurance:one million, cost to the patient: everything. Lost her home, all her savings toward retirement. Gone. Thats what our current insurance does. In other countries NO ONE goes bankrupt from a medical illness NO ONE.

    • tracy

      Lori, first of all, I hate to hear about people like you just cited. I am a nurse who has spent most of her life in ER and ICU settings and now work as a flight nurse so I have seen a lot as well. I think the thing about this, is that there is a domino effect. Doctors took a hike in malpractice insurance costs because society is extremely litigious. This causes in increase in the cost of care which is always passed down to those of us who must pay for medical care. Premiums go up, cost of care goes up and therefore people avoid going to the doctor until they absolutely must and usually they are in a much more advanced stage of illness by this time which calls for an upper level of care which in turn, costs more. It may not always be the case, but it happens often. On the flip-side, I see those who come into the emergency room with complaints that are not an emergency and rather than wait to go to their doctor or clinic, they present to the ER. Now, in the USA, we cannot turn anyone away because Heaven forbid we upset someone (sarcasm) and therefore, we may have to see a paper-cut in the ER. Really?.

      • tracy

        Now here is another increase in health care cost because someone just abused what an ER is for. Now, you have another issue, plans with a cap on them such as Medicare/Medicaid..etc. These plans will only pay for a certain portion and the cost is passed onto the one who sought the care. Ok..regular insurance does that but the thing is Medicaid people will have such a minute portion whereas those of us with insurance or Medicare, must pay the balance and therefore the doc, once again, has not made his money. If a doctor cannot make money, they tend to move on to somewhere where the pickings are better which leaves less than desirable providers in some areas.

      • tracy

        Case in point: my husband in a Native American and he must use the IHS (Indian Health Services) for his care because we do not have insurance (hahahaha a nurse who does not have insurance). The thing about that is, yes, it is free BUT, the care is poor. It is very difficult for a Native person to receive the care they need because once they enter into the healthcare system, an entity called Contract Health must approve or deny referrals and treatment. Many times, requests are denied. Now this entity is government funded. Often IHS is out of money to pay for services requested and this infuriates doctors because they want to treat patients correctly but can't so they move on OR they become so immune to the issues that they begin to practice without caring anymore. My husband has a screw coming out of his knee because they will not refer him back to the orthopedic surgeon who opperated on him initially. They said it is not necessary at this time. Holy cow!

      • tracy

        I do believe that everyone should be able to get appropriate care but my question is…will it be like IHS? Will we have to constantly battle another entity to approve us for the care we need? Will the govenment not have enough money to fund this? How much more will come from the ones that work and pay into taxes that would fund this program? There are so many things that cause this cluster. I think there is more than one issue here that needs to be resolved before we will see daylight (sorry all of these had to be posted in separate posts)

  • Lori

    I am a medical professional (an Occupational Therapist) and let me tell you some of the things your insurance won't cover and you just don't know about it until it hits you. You know how many children have recently been diagnosed with Autism, when the claims for therapy started increasing, the insurance companies started to deny all claims with the diagnosis Autism. Why? It cost them too much. Only big fights have gradually started changing things, but not because of the nice insurance companies, because of laws. Let me go on, I have a patient who had health insurance which he paid for every month, he and his wife owned a hairdressing business, just the two of them. They paid their premiums every month. Then he came down with terminal cancer. Now who pays the premiums. Wife is trying to work and take care of her dying husband. Husband is unable to work. Monthly premium due: 1200 dollars. They still own a home, so they don't qualify for medicaid. Got any answers for them?

  • Kathi

    I was a social worker who cared for dying children with doctors and nurses. I am a democrat. My husband is a republican. He hates O'bama and tonight told me I am a socialist because I am a social worker. I have never asked for anything free and have worked all of my life since I was twelve. I do not have a retirement because I followed him around the world trying my best to give children a chance through adoption, foster care, caring for dying children and abused children by retraining parents who thought they had the right to bruise and beat their children to make them adhere to acceptable conditions. I am in shock that the media is crucifying the president, somewhat like the crowds turned on Jesus. Whether you believe in God or not, is it right to give voice to people who use their words in the name of the first amendment to spread lie.s and fear for their own gain. Can't we all be proud of America, what makes us great instead of what makes us fear and hate eachother? I am shocked I have been married to this man for 45 years created four children with him and tonight realized I no longer know my best friend.

  • Ashley

    I have heard that they are going to be taking out a certain additional percentage out of your paycheck. We currently have health and dental insurance. I really hope this does not happen. Why would I want to go out and work hard, to have more taxes taken out to pay for others health insurance, when my husband and I work hard to get by and make a decent life for ourselves. It's completely ridiculous. I understand everyone has a hard time, but why make others pay for this. For some reason a lot of people think this is a great idea, we need to sit back and look at who is favoring this bill. Obviously not the people who work their butts off to try to make it by everyday. There is no justice and order in our government. The economy is difficult and times are hard, but if you really want to make it you will. It's a way of survival, dont make us suffer for the majority of those who like to live down and stick their palms up. .

  • Ben

    Do you know what it takes to run a political campaign? Money. Do you know where they get that from? The "profit motivated" companies out there, who are more interested in making money than providing a service. You throw the word Socialist out there like it could ever apply to us, but we were founded on completely different principles and will always stand apart from a Socialist society.

    Health Insurance is regulated by each state… and health insurance funds the senators and governors of each state as well. HMMM! If we're talking about a balance of power here, I'd say giving a little bit of it to the Government would be a good thing. So long as it didn't expand further from there.

  • Mike

    Sorry Daisy, Universal health care (government hlth care) is and will be the worst possible choice. Why? Because it will be politically motivated and not profit motivated!!!! The fact that so many of you don't understand that is scarry. We are quasi-socialist system already, in spite of the jacka**es you listen to that the poor do not get care. Health insurance is heavily regulated by each state (making their products expensive especially in prdominantly democratic states) where government interference is already felt and proven to not work and you want more government? Mike

    • Jim

      Mike: You don't have a clue how insurance works do you? While you flaunt your lies that the problem is its not privatised enough shows how little you know. Ya its all the welfare, its never the corporate multi million dollar salaries paid to health insurance executives. You claim you love private competition yet bring up a public option and all of a sudden its not fair! Always a double standard with Repubs, what makes them fat they want to keep, what levels the playing field and makes paying out multi million dollar salaries a determent they want to protect.

  • Tanya Parrott

    My son has a disability and he was cut off of SSI. He is 19yrs. old with no work experience, and I hope this new healthcare bill would be beneficial to him until I can get him some type of health care for him, because he has a tube in his head that he has to have for the rest of his life, so I don't even see how he was denied health insurance.


    Tanya Parrott

  • Danielle

    But why increase taxes? I dont feel that I should have to pay for more peoples insurance. I work and pay for my own. The problem is that tooooo many people take advantage of the welfare system. Tooooo many people are toooo lazy to work and why would they, just sit at home and keep making more aand more babies, the gov will give you more money, pay for all the healthcare, etc. And its funny that those same people wear nicer shoes than I do, have more expensive cell phones, and can still manage to afford their ciggarettes, etc.

    • Austin

      Amen Danielle!

    • REAL

      Welfare is a terrible system… It dont do enough. Why would you give people only the basic produts to sustain life without giving the tools and skills to make a better one. People on welfare are not sent to technical schools of given child care program to allow one to fectify their financial woes. Instead our society allow the to be,exsist,or live as if that is enough and now there are people who do want them to have healthcare. I guess it would not matter let them die right thats their destiny better than us paying to give them better lives

  • KRAD

    So the price of freedom for you is $4500. They say everyone has a price. I bet when you get your jobs back you will not feel the same way.

    • peed

      And when you or someone you love becomes unemployed, maybe you will see things differently too.

      • TZ

        I'm on unemployment right now (not for much longer) and I still think this is all B.S. Obama is a young, inexperienced fool and I wish I had never voted for him.I will NEVER vote Democrat again. I promise you that much. Nancy Pelosi ought to be deported just to get rid of her dumb cackling, brainless self. She is dumb as a rock and bat-sh*t crazy to boot. God help us all.

    • Lori

      I am a medical worker with a patient right now who had a good job and health insurance she paid for herself. She had a very catastrophic illness. Her bill came to one million dollars over what her insurance covered. She lost her home and all she owned. So that is where insurance will get you. It's great for a regular hospital bill, delivering a baby, having an appendectomy. But where are you when it runs out, you are only one very major car accident or infection away. Universal would cover that. Is a million or everything you have worth that? (I can site more, I work with many who have similar issues)
      Lori, a professional in healthcare

    • REAL

      There is nothing remotly related b/w a national healthcare plan and freedom unless KRAD is pointing out the freedom one exprirence when not having to face billion dollar bussinesses alone knowing that the federal goverment will not only fight on the fronts overseas but also domestic front for those who seek a more pragmatic sense of freedom

  • Bill Craver

    Good Evening,

    I just wanted to say that my wife and I were both let go from our jobs back in December. We both have been looking for work with not much luck to pay for our new home, 2 cars and medical insurance. I surpose that we are in the same boat a many of other Americans. I can say that we are very proud Americans an believe that this bill will help millions. My wife had a heart valve replacement when she was 2 years old, so she will be on medication for the rest of her life. Her medication is over $4500 basically for a month supply. I hope that this bill and better health insurance for just not ourselves but for the rest of Americans that are in the same position.

    Thank you for your time.

    Best regards

    Bill Craver

    • Daisy

      Universal Health Care is the solution. I don't care if I have to pay more taxes for it. I pay approx. 5,000/yrs. for Health Insurance with high co-pay, and a lot of coverage limitation. I prefer to pay that amount in taxes if every US citizen will have Health care benefits with no co-pays, no limitation in medications, illness or pre-existing condition. Working or not everyone deserves health-care. Senior citizens deserve a better coverage than Medicaid, which won't cover all medications. My grandmother suffers of Parkinson. We have to help her to pay for her medication every month because of Medicaid limitation. In one occasion I took my 7yrs old daughter to emergency room with vomits, fever, and abdominal pain at 5a.m., she was very dehydrated and could not walk by herself. My insurance did not pay the hospital's bill because the illness was not an emergency. Blue Cross Blue Shield only cover accidental emergency. Another occasion I fell and sprain my ankle. I visited the emergency room because I could not resist the pain and swollen foot. My insurance paid for the hospital expenses, but not for the physician expenses because he was not a provider. Insurance Company is a game we have to play to lose all the time. Obama's reform plan will not bring a better situation for U.S. citizens unless we get universal health care.

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