December 17, 2011- The Obama Administration surprised many on Friday as it announced it would not define a uniform set of health benefits that would be required to be provided by health insurers to millions of Americans.
The White House has instead said it would give each state the opportunity to specify what benefits were needed within a broad range of categories. This move by the Obama administration will allow for a significant variation in benefits between states. It compares to the current differences between state’s Medicaid programs and the Children’s Health Care Program.
By opening this up to the discretion of each state, the White House attempted to end one of the biggest arguments against the heath care overhaul – imposing a health care system that was rigid and bureaucratically controlled on the people of the U.S. and therefore threatening the overall quality of healthcare.
Opponents of the new health care system have said all along that the federal government was forcing Americans to except a system of “one size fits all” and taking away the authority states had in regulating the industry.
The new health care law has become an important issue in the presidential race of 2012. Candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are being evaluated as to their opposition to the law.
Under the new plan, each state would select one insurance plan as its benchmark. Benefits provided by that benchmark would then be considered essential and must be provided by insurers at the same or greater value. The new plan would allow plans to be modified but only if the benefits were not reduced.