Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Guide to Understanding the Health-Care Debate

(h/t Time)
As the health care debate continues there appears to be more terms whose meaning and importance are unclear. Time put together a list of these terms discussing what and why they matters in the debate. Below are just a few:

Bending the Curve

What it is: Slowing the growth in health-care spending, which at its current rate would exceed 20% of the U.S. gross domestic product by 2018.

Why it matters: Both sides of the political aisle agree that health-care spending is growing at an unsustainable rate. A central goal of reform proposals is to "bend the curve" of spending — i.e., for citizens, insurance companies and the government to spend less money overall on medical care. One example of a reform proposal that could bend the curve is providing and funding more preventive care, which is cheaper than treating chronic diseases that develop when people don't get regular checkups.

Health-Insurance Exchange

What it is: A government-administered marketplace or portal (via a website) where private or public insurance policies are sold.

Why its important: Reform proposals would create national or state-based exchanges open to individuals and small businesses. Policies offered there would be vetted by the government to make sure they meet minimum standards and would be less expensive than those now sold on the open market.

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