This is the VOA Special English Economics Report, fromhttp://voaspecialenglish.com
The United States has a new health care reform law. The main goal is to insure about thirty-two million additional people. That is about ninety-five percent of Americans who are not already covered by Medicare, the government insurance program for older people. About sixteen million people will be added to Medicaid, the government health plan for
the poor. The law will require Americans to have health insurance, with a few exceptions, or pay a fine starting in four years. Also, in four years, employers with more
than fifty workers will have to offer their employees a health insurance plan. Employers will pay a fine for each uninsured worker. Smaller businesses will receive
tax credits to help pay for
health plans. People not covered by employer plans, Medicaid or Medicare could buy health insurance in marketplaces called exchanges.
The idea is that competition among plans will drive down costs.
States will provide these exchanges by twenty fourteen. The law is the biggest change in American health care since nineteen sixty-five.
But it is not a government operated health care system like the ones in other countries. President Obama said it provides limited reform.
He said: So this is not radical reform. But it is major reform. This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system. But it moves us decisively in the right direction.
Barry Arbuckle is chief executive
of the non-profit MemorialCare Health System in
Fountain Valley, California.
He says the new law gets the
issue of health reform moving.
But he notes it is mainly health insurance reform. He says lawmakers will have to reform the way health care is provided. That means finding ways for hospitals, doctors and other providers to work together more effectively. Mister Arbuckle also would like to see more attention on prevention so
fewer people need costly
medical treatment. The law
is expected to cost about
nine hundred forty billion dollars over ten years. However, the Obama administration says the plan will cut the nations budget deficit by more than one hundred billion dollars during that period.
Last year, the United States spent two and a half trillion dollars
on health care. This was an
increase of almost six percent
from the year before.
And thats the VOA Special English Economics Report. You can comment on our reports at our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.