Blogging from Phoenix—President Barack Obama expressed confidence senate efforts to reform the Nations health care system seem on track toward producing a bill he can sign before Christmass if not his State of the Union address in January.

But the liberal base still seems divided over the value of reform many argue does more to enrich the health care industry then alleviate the financial burden shouldered by working and middle class Americans, who would be obligated by federal law to purchase health care insurance that could consume as much as 40% of their income. Most policy wonks predict the average expense will be closer to 8% of yearly income. Under a public option plan the average cost of health insurance premiums would have cost Americans between four and six hundred dollars a month.  

Many who insist liberals should continue to support the legislation as it heads back to the congress, point out the republican controlled health care industry will be required to spend 80% of every dollar paid by working and middle class Americans on care as opposed to the current system, which allows insurance companies to pocket as much profit as they want. Depending on the provider the insurance companies now keep between 43 and 68% of every dollar paid in premiums, imposing restrictions on profit would in theory result in lower co-pays, and slow the annual hike in premiums.

The legislation would also prevent insurance companies form denial of care because of pre-existing health conditions and would end the life time benefit cap. the cap is what causes so much financial ruin to those who develop catastrophic illness and chronic medical conditions. Naysayers point out the bill still allows insurance companies to define something as common as elevated blood pressure as a preexisting condition and charge four times the premium. Most union workers who took less pay in exchange for better health care benefits, would face a tax on so called Cadillac plans and those who live in Republican controlled States, would be at the mercy of local legislators who could opt out of the insurance exchanges intended to force competition that would lower costs.

From a simple dollars and cents cost perspective, the legislation overall seems like it will help most working and middle class Americans and is a decent enough first step, of course the devil is in the details. The Senate and House must still  meet in hope of settling differences in committee reconciliation while the GOP still hopes to derail reform and has resorted to invoking God on the floor of the United States Senate to smite Democratic senators so they lack enough votes to prevent a filibuster. That’s my view, yours may be different and regardless of your position, I wish you a Christ centered Merry Christmass and Joy filled 2010.

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