What Clinton’s health plan means for you

So you say you can’t wait to graduate? Think again. Not only does the future hold unemployment and hopelessness, but what about health care?

Last week a consumer group advocating health-care presented a study to Hillary Rodham Clinton which said that 90,000 Illinoisans lose their medical insurance each month. In addition to the state group, students, who lose their insurance upon graduating, join the ranks of the 37 million that currently do not have health insurance. Maybe an extra semester isn’t a bad idea after all?

On Wednesday President Clinton will propose his health-care reform package to Congress. Time magazine describes it as, “The boldest, most expansive social initiative since the New Deal, bigger even than F.D.R.‘s institution of Social Security half a century ago.” Knowing the problems that Social Security has caused and the possibility of it being depleted by the time I am eligible, I have to question the future of Clinton’s proposal.

The proposal includes a choice of different plans. But commercials paid by insurance companies that say,”They choose we lose,” makes me question if these choices will improve or complicate an already muddled health-care system. The insurers’ motive behind the commercial against Clinton’s health plan is definitely greed, but the fact that it emphasizes lost choices scared me. Who says I have to see a certain doctor? That is a very personal choice for many Americans.

Nevertheless, when it comes to choices, millions of Americans have none because they haven’t any coverage.

Time magazine outlined the Clinton’s health-care package. The following are some points that should be of interest to you with my two cents worth, of course:) It pushes Americans away from private doctors and into health maintenance organizations, and requires all employers to contribute 80% of whatever an average plan costs.

Major companies would save millions, on this move. However, small businesses would lose. Uncle Joe’s Grocery, that now pays zilch, would encounter extra costs. With Clinton’s plan, those costs would force Joe to make some job cuts. Clinton’s theory on this is the larger companies would hire more people because of the money they would save; that gain would outweigh Uncle Joe’s grocery store’s loss. If you have an Uncle Joe, or are an Uncle Joe, look out.

2) The plan would cost $700 billion over five years. The cost will be covered through a new $1-a-pack tax on cigarettes and ‘savings’ on current federal health-care programs, with $91 billion left over to reduce the federal budget deficit.

Are you confused as I am? The only thing that I think of with these numbers are vast amounts of bureaucracy and red tape. According to Vice-President Al Gore, those two are the last things we need more of.

In an attempt to clear up some confusion, here’s one broad summary—Clinton’s health-care package includes three different insurance plans, and none of them can ‘ever’ be lost. It guaranties insurance for everyone. The plan also includes prenatal care and offers new benefits for long-term care for the elderly. Medicare spending would be cut by $124 billion and Medicaid by $114 billion. Those savings would finance the program, but the impact of those cuts are still unclear. There’s more so stay tuned to your TV and the newspapers.

This plan will either have a dangerous effect on this country (become a nightmare like Social Security-something that can never be cut), or is a possible Godsend in disguise.

My biggest fear is when the day comes where I have to take care of my parents, will this plan help or hurt them? I am not only looking into the now, I’m looking at generations from now. I’m the generation that might not reap the benefits of the old New Deal.

If this is the Newest Deal—where I can place a wager, but never win, then I’ll fold.