By IndyKids Staff

This fall expect a lot of debate in Congress over how to reform healthcare. Here is a look at three choices.

This boy attended a rally in Washington, D.C. on July 30 in support of healthcare for all people. The rally was held by Healthcare-NOW!, a national organization dedicated to gaining support for the passage of a single-payer healthcare system. Photo: Healthcare-NOW!/Flickr

This boy attended a rally in Washington, D.C. on July 30 in support of healthcare for all people. The rally was held by Healthcare-NOW!, a national organization dedicated to gaining support for the passage of a single-payer healthcare system. Photo: Healthcare-NOW!/Flickr

Option 1: Don’t Change It

Who Wants It: The health insurance companies.

How It Works: A person or her employer pays a set fee (called a premium) to a company that promises to pay the person’s medical bills, no matter how big or small. People with insurance go to a doctor or hospital. These doctors and hospitals are then paid by the insurance companies.

Who Is Covered: Anyone who can afford to pay for health insurance or who has an employer that pays.

Cost: Average of $12,000 – $13,000 per year for a family of four.

Option 2: H.R. 3200 – America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009

Who Wants It: President Obama, many other Democrats.

How It Works: Same as now, but health insurance companies would have more strict rules for how they treat people. There would also be an alternative, government-run insurance plan to compete with the private insurance companies. People and businesses would be required to purchase health insurance from either a private or public plan. The government would give money to poor people to help them buy health insurance.

Who Is Covered: Many more people than now, but not everyone.

Cost: Estimated total cost of the reform would be $1 trillion of government spending over 10 years. There would be a tax increase for the wealthy, and people and employers would still have to pay fees to either a for-profit insurance company or a government-run insurance company.

Option 3: H.R. 676 – United States National Health Insurance Act

Who Wants It: Polls show that the majority of people in the U.S. want national health insurance.

How It Works: Tax payers would put money into a national health fund. People would go to a doctor or hospital and the bill would be paid by the fund. There would be no need for most health insurance companies.

Who Is Covered: Everyone.

Cost: Estimated cost for a family of three making $40,000 would average around $2,000 per year.


HEALTHCARE QUICK FACTS

46 million: The number of people who have no health insurance in the United States
$6,000: The amount of money spent, on average, per person on health care in the United States.
$13 billion: The amount of money that the top 13 health insurance and managed care companies made in profit in 2007.

GLOSSARY

Health Insurance: A system where people pay a set fee to a health insurance company. The company is supposed to pay the doctor or hospital for a person’s medical bills.

National Health Insurance or Single-Payer:
Individuals pay taxes to the government, which then pays doctors and hospitals to provide free care to everyone in the country. This system exists in many countries around the world.