Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson has unveiled his health care reform proposals, arguing for a mix of private and public sector changes to clamp down on the rising costs of medical care in America.
"The purpose of my plan is to bring health care access — the best possible — to every American no matter who you are, what your station in life is," Richardson says. "I do it by creating no new bureaucracies."
If Americans want to keep their current private insurance policy that would be allowed under Richardson’s plan, which also lets people buy into the government system to obtain coverage equal to the policies in force for members of congress.
Richardson, however, proposes price controls. "Out of $2.2 trillion in our health care budget, 31 percent of it goes to waste and administration and doesn’t go into direct care," Richardson says. "So I’m also putting cost controls on insurance companies saying that 85 percent of their budgets have to go to direct care of individuals rather than red tape."
In addition, Richardson would limit the amount of interest credit card companies may charge on debts related to medical expenses.
Many middle-aged Americans are finding themselves dumped by their insurers, or charged rapidly escalating premiums, and Richardson would offer everyone between the ages of 55 and 64 the option of buying into the government-run Medicare system which covers the nation’s 65-and-older citizens.
Republican presidential candidates have started accusing their Democratic rivals of pursuing "socialized medicine."
"I want as much shared responsibility between the private sector, the government, employers and employees, so I reject that charge," Richardson says.
Richardson suggests under Republican George Bush’s leadership, 4000 Americans are losing their health care coverage every day and it’s time for an alternative.
Richardson would require all Americans to have health insurance, just as all vehicle owners are required to carry insurance on their vehicle. Americans who cannot afford health insurance would get government help, based on their income.