Sebelius & Biden Discuss Healthcare Reform

“They’re either going to have to agree with us, come up with an alternative or we’re not going to have health care… and we’re going to get health care.” (NBC, “Meet the Press,” 6/14/09)

There are few areas Democrats and Republicans disagree in more than healthcare. The Obama-Biden administration has made it abundantly clear that they plan to push legislation through this year. Obama has called healthcare a “ticking time bomb,” especially as the baby boomers age. U.S. government health-related expenditures are already at more than $1.9 trillion per year, which is 44% more than what Switzerland spends on their national healthcare plan and 134% more than the median average of all the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Over the weekend, Obama and Biden proposed a plan that would: curtail fraudulent lawsuits and malpractice awards, lower the pay rate of Medicare, reduce hospital subsidies for treating uninsured patients and negotiate better prices for prescription drugs. This plan, they said, would cost about $1 trillion over 10 years — a figure which many Republicans scoff is just a starting point. Biden adds that it’s “up to Congress” to figure out how to pay for universal healthcare, but he made it clear they’re playing hardball and backing down is not an option for this administration.

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