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An Analysis of the Obama Health Care Proposal

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Document date: September 22, 2008
Released online: September 22, 2008

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full analysis or a summary of both candidates' plans in PDF format.


Abstract

The Obama health care plan would greatly increase health insurance coverage, substantially increase access to affordable and adequate coverage for those with the highest health care needs, significantly increase the affordability of care for the low-income, and reduce the growth in health spending through a broad array of strategies. Despite the overall positive assessment, a few concerns remain. The plan would leave about 6 percent uninsured, necessitating the maintenance of the current inefficient safety net system; the employer mandate may engender significant political opposition; and the cost estimate may be low depending upon how several plan details are resolved.


Overall Assessment

Our general assessment of the Obama plan is that it would

  • greatly increase health insurance coverage but would still leave about 6 percent of the non-elderly population uninsured, compared to 17 percent today.
  • substantially increase access to affordable and adequate coverage for those with the highest health care needs, including those with chronic illnesses, by spreading health care risk broadly;
  • significantly increase the affordability of care for low-income individuals; and
  • reduce the growth in health spending through a broad array of strategies.

In short, Obama’s proposal contains the basic components necessary for effectively addressing the most important shortcomings of the current health care system, that is, limited coverage, inadequate risk pooling, and high-cost growth.

(End of excerpt. The entire analysis or a summary of both candidates' plans are available in PDF format.)



Topics/Tags: | Economy/Taxes | Employment | Health/Healthcare


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