health2 - To: From: Subject: Governor Sonny Perdue Should...

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To: Governor Sonny Perdue From: Subject: Should Georgia adopt the Massachusetts Health Reform bill? Executive Summary A 2005 US Census report showed that the number of uninsured Americans rose to 15.9% of the population – about 46.6 million people- an increase of approximately 1.3 million people from the previous year (45.3 million – 2004) (Figure 1). What I don’t understand is how is it that the United States spends twice as much on per capita health expenditures than other developed nations that provide health care to all its citizens, yet still has such a large number of people uninsured and an even greater number underinsured. We cannot adopt the Massachusetts Health Reform model as it stands right now because it has certain limiting features that would work counterproductive to its goal. There is still a substantial amount of uninsured individuals who stand to be disadvantaged if we implement such a reform here in Georgia. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, as of 2005, 18.1% - 1.56 million people - of Georgia residents are uninsured, a 1.2% increase over the 2004 total of 16.9% (Figure 3). This number, and the fact that it has increased, is proof that something needs to be done and quickly. The Massachusetts Health Reform bill seems great in writing, but the success of its applicability is questionable. The gist of the bill basically proposes to expand eligibility requirements for Medicaid, provide subsidies for low income individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid to purchase their own insurance, mandates that all residents have health insurance by July 1, 2007, or face a fine. The bill also imposes penalties on employers, increases funding for Medicaid providers who meet certain ‘improved
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quality’ requirements, and implements reforms for the Insurance market that better benefit the individual. There needs to be a more specific definition for certain provisions, and the individual mandate clause needs to be eliminated. Also, the reform seems to avoid the problem of the skyrocketing cost of health insurance and the plight of the underinsured. More accountability needs to be placed on the health insurance companies. Introduction: Where do we stand? (Nationally) According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States is currently ranked 37 th in the world for overall healthcare. Life expectancy in the United States was at 77.2 years in 2002, below the OECD average. Health expenditure in the United States accounts for 15% of its GDP the highest of all the OECD countries. The United States also spends over $5,000 per capita on health expenditures. Approximately 46.6 million Americans are uninsured, of that number a vast majority is due to the unbearable cost of health insurance. This number doesn’t account for the vast millions who are underinsured; meaning the coverage provided by their insurance companies is very limited. Breaking down the 46.6 million uninsured by race translates into 32.7% of the Hispanic population, 29.9% of American Indians and Alaska
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health2 - To: From: Subject: Governor Sonny Perdue Should...

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