Conservative vs. Liberal Healthcare Viewpoints
By Kathy Wood, Ph.D., FHFMA, Dean of Health Sciences
We’re celebrating the 225th birthday of the U.S. Constitution with a week-long blog series covering topics related to American freedom and democracy. In our second post, Dr. Wood looks at both sides of the current healthcare debate.
Healthcare, its access and costs, has been discussed and debated in presidential elections for decades. As November 6th quickly approaches, it remains at the forefront of political dialogue. The total and per capita spending on healthcare continues to rise each year as does the national healthcare expenditures, reaching in excess of trillions of dollars. Although many minor modifications have been made over the years, Obama has been the first President to make significant changes. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Its passing signified the most transformative changes to healthcare since Medicare in the mid-1960s.
Democrats and Republicans agree that an alternative healthcare plan is needed to help improve affordability and coverage options for all Americans. How it is implemented however, is highly debated by candidates on both sides of the isle. Some question whether Obama’s plan is constitutional. Others ask if it should it be driven at the federal or state level? How much will it save in healthcare costs and will these savings be transferred to the operational aspect of the new regulations?
Below is a summary of the healthcare reform issues being discussed by the Presidential candidates for election year 2012 broken down into three main topics.
1. Government Involvement
- Conservative view: Government involvement should be minimal. Healthcare should be operated like a business in a free market-based system.
- Liberal view: Everyone has a fundamental right to have access to healthcare. It should not be run like a business.
2. Healthcare Entitlement
- Conservative view: Everyone is entitled to healthcare coverage. Those who can afford to pay should. No free healthcare handouts if you can afford it.
- Liberal view: Everyone is entitled to healthcare coverage. No one should become bankrupt because they can’t afford to pay.
3. Federally Mandated Insurance
- Conservative view: Believe insurance should be mandated on a state by state basis. Federal funds should be diverted to states. Against financial penalties if individuals fail to comply with mandate.
- Liberal view: Support federal insurance mandates. Believe individuals should face penalties if not compliant.
Continue to question and review the stances of each candidate as we head into the heart of election season. In the words of Joseph Joubert, “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”
It’s your turn to weigh in. Where do you stand on the topic of healthcare reform? Is ACA a step in the right direction or are we moving backwards?
Image credit: Health-Care-Debate-Congress by Jennifer Kohnke
Kathy Wood, Ph.D., FHFMA is the University Dean of Health Sciences at Colorado Technical University. A fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA) with over 30 years industry experience, she also serves as director of Chapter Services on the board of the North Carolina Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (NCHFMA) and is a member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
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