Healthcare reform isn’t something I’d normally choose to write about but in a sense it fits. It will have a great impact on society one way or another and I think that it or some form of it is a necessity. I don’t know too much about politics. I mean the basics, yes, but ask me who’s running for anything aside from president and you might get a blank stare. I know that I should probably pay closer attention but I think they’re either full of shit or they’re being blamed for the last guy so I just don’t. Anyway here’s my partially educated formed opinion about healthcare reform.
Let me start by saying, yes, I believe it is necessary. Do I think that the latest plan is perfect, no. Do I think that it could work, sure. Currently there are somewhere over 40 million Americans who are uninsured (Weisbrot, 2009). If I were to put that into perspective for you I’d tell you that the population of Canada is over 33 million (Google, 2011). That, in my opinion, is a lot of people. Theoretically insuring that many people would cost a lot of money, probably much more than anyone has access to at the moment, but long term I think it would significantly reduce costs. If you think about it like sharing a check it may make more sense to you. If more people are added to the “pot” then the cost should theoretically be less, again, long term like an investment. Costs would be regulated. This would take away the huge variations. Currently a person who is insured may have $2,000 paid towards a procedure but a person who is uninsured may be charged $20,000 for the same exact thing. Why do you ask? First of all because they can and second of all because the providers are making up for the people that don’t pay and the losses they are taking elsewhere. Having pre negotiated costs will lead to better budgeting and less losses for companies, corporations, providers, etc. Employer paid health plans will still be around and possibly made that much more available and affordable to both employees and employers by tax credits and subsidies. I can say from personal experience that I’ve gone uninsured in the past because I just couldn’t afford to lose $400-500 a month in income. The next thing I like about healthcare reform is that there will be free preventative care for everyone. From a medical perspective this is very important. It is easier to prevent and treat early than it is to correct and this also means less money will be paid in acute care bills and unnecessary expensive trips to the ER that uninsured people currently are making. There will be no more discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. For those of you with children or family members who suffer from chronic conditions you understand why this is so important. Currently people are often forced to stay in dead end jobs just to retain insurance or they end up losing coverage all together and end up filing bankruptcy or suffering in other areas. Many of these chronic conditions aren’t preventable so should people be punished for having them? I’ll let you answer. Another thing is that the appeals process would change. Insurance companies and administrators make it very difficult for the average person to argue a charge. This often ends in them not paying for something that should have been covered and the person giving up and being stuck with a bill. The appeals process would be made easier for the consumer to understand and partake in. Another reason is that the donut hole would be closed for seniors. For those of you who know anything about Medicare that will make sense but basically the donut hole is a time period where seniors (who often don’t have an income or one that is not sufficient) are forced to pay 100% of their prescription costs until a deductible has been reached. If you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it and this can mean many seniors are either sacrificing something else (like food perhaps) or they’re just not buying their medications. Would you starve yourself to buy yours?
Let me finish by saying that I believe we are already paying for uninsured people and that we are already paying the money necessary to successfully insure them. We currently pay for Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, Kid Care, and whether you realize it or not you are already indirectly or directly paying higher costs associated with things like high priced ER visits for non-emergencies. It would be wiser to implement Health Care Reform, know the costs before hand, and have better control over them, than continue to treat our health as though we were purchasing a new pair of sneakers, shopping around for the cheapest thing. For those that think it’s about having “rights” it’s far bigger than that. You can choose to decline insurance, that is your right, but then what happens when you end up in the ER after an unforeseen accident or diagnosis and now your family is bankrupt and homeless simply so you could maintain your “right”. Or we all have to pay higher bills because you had no family and you refused or you could not pay. Understandably we all cherish our rights and our privacy but in the long run it’s about sustaining, controlling, and saving costs and living longer and healthier lives. If we can find a way to foot the bill it should just be done. This is after all the richest country in the world, right?
If you’d like more information the following are sites that I used for my research when I debated the above in a class I am taking:
Johnson, S. (2010). Health Care Reform: 8 Positive Changes. Retrieved October 1, 2011, from http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2010/03/22/health-care-reform-8-positive-changes/
Money Talks News, (2009). Killer Hospital Bills (Part 1). Retrieved October 1, 2011, from http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2009/10/21/killer-hospital-bills/
Weisbrot, M. (2009). Health Care Reform is Needed Now More Than Ever. Retrieved October 1, 2011, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-weisbrot/health-care-reform-is-nee_b_171210.html