What President Barack Obama says:
"Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you," the president told residents of the Garden State. "First of all, if you've got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you."
What health care legislation on Capitol Hill says:
- If you get your health insurance from a large employer, you will not be able to keep your current health insurance. After 5 years, large employers will be required to offer only government approved plans. Government approved plans will not offer treatments that the government refuses to approve because they cost too much relative to the government's determination of value.
- If you buy your own health insurance from a private insurer, you will lose your insurance if either you or your insurer changes your plan. Need a higher or lower deductible or to add or subtract a family member? Too bad. After the law passes, private insurers will not be allowed to issue any new individual plans.
- If you are covered by Medicare, your access to medical care is likely to be reduced. The government will take a much more aggressive role in eliminating services it considers "unnecessary." Cuts in Medicare spending will exacerbate the problem.
- If you are covered by Medicaid, you will be competing against many more new enrollees for a finite number of health care providers.
- Even if you can still choose your doctor, you will have to be in a plan that subscribes to managed care guidelines and reports all of your health information to the government. Your plan will likely follow government guidelines on what treatments are "necessary" and "effective."