Monday, July 16, 2012

Healthcare – A Political Post

Normally I avoid politically oriented posts on this blog. And I know some of my readers will strongly disagree with the content of this post.  However I really wanted to write a post about the current health care debate in the United States. As I mentioned in yesterday's post Saturday was the four-year anniversary of Patty's death. During Patty's illness we were blessed to have some of the best health insurance available. The costs of Patty's treatment were exceedingly high. In fact over $6 million was spent on her chemo, bone marrow transplant, fight against GVHD, physical therapy and lengthy hospital stays. We were exceedingly lucky that my employer offered such a wonderful health plan.

Unfortunately many people do not have this kind of health plan available to them. There are over 40 million people in the United States who have no health insurance whatsoever. Therefore I have a very hard time understanding why so many people are so virulently opposed to the government's affordable health care act commonly known as Obamacare. Through the affordable health care act most of the people who currently have no health insurance will be able to purchase health insurance. Without the implementation of this act the likelihood is that greater and greater numbers of people will eventually lose their health insurance.  Let's face facts more employers are passing healthcare costs totally on to the employees as opposed to providing them as real benefits.  Over time this trend will continue until employers eventually stop offering health insurance.  (This will occur with or without Obamacare.)

Besides reducing the number of uninsured people in the United States there are many other benefits that will result from the affordable care act. For example one provision that even the most diehard "reappealers" want to keep, is the provision that young adults may remain on their parents insurance plans until they turn 26. Another benefit of the act is that pre-existing conditions will no longer be held against people seeking insurance. Furthermore through the establishment of insurance exchanges everyone will be able to purchase affordable insurance.

What is the problem with all this? It seems as though special interests, particularly the healthcare insurance providers have shaped the argument. By calling the affordable health care act socialism, special interest groups have managed to strike a raw nerve with the American public. The term socialism and socialized medicine have been repeatedly used to scare every day people and ignite the passions of a vocal conservative minority.

Other arguments that have been thrown around have been the cost of the program and the potential for a further increase in government debt.The bottom line is that our government's debt ratio versus GDP is high.  However, it is far from the highest in the world and until we can re-build and economy based upon building things, our government is going to have to increase debt to keep the economy afloat.  We need to get over the fact that the debt is growing and focus on what the debt is delivering back to the economy.

In general I believe the arguments against the affordable care act are driven by people who believe that only the rich should have good health care. Because if the affordable care act is repealed, that's what it will mean. Only the extremely wealthy will be able to afford good health coverage. We can see this through the fact that the number of uninsured continues to increase every year. There has been a slowing of that number with the first phase of the implementation of the affordable care act, but it will just continue to go up if the affordable health care act is repealed.

I have a personal reason why want the affordable care act stay in place. For the last 24 years I have slaved and I have worked very hard to meet the demands of my job. I have traveled millions of miles and at times not seen my family for a month or more. You add to that the loss of my wife and I have reached a point in my life where I no longer want to work in this crazy rat race that I do. Instead I would prefer to leave this crazy fast track of a job for something slower paced that is closer to my heart. I realize I can't do this for several years until Zack is through high school. However with healthcare prior to the affordable care act, I never would have been able to leave my present job due to pre-existing conditions that I have. Not not only would it have been significantly expensive, but in fact I would have never qualified for any healthcare given the pre-existing conditions I have. Yes I am healthy but no one would've insured me in the case that I wouldn't have remained healthy in the future. With the implementation of the affordable care act I can now leave my present job and feel confident that I will be able to find health insurance. To me this is precious as it now gives me freedom that I haven't had since I was diagnosed with the "pre-existing" condition back in 2001.  (For those of you wondering - I have high blood pressure. It is a genetic trait that runs in my family that no one appears to be able to do anything about it other than take medication.)

So I am asking those of you who read this blog and are filled with anger against the affordable care act to step back and look at your life. Realize you are only one pink slip away from losing your health insurance. And if you are like me and have a pre-existing condition and become unemployed you may never to be able to get insurance back under the present system. The affordable care act will give you that ability to always have insurance.

I really felt that I needed to write this because of all that Patty went through.  Had she lived the affordable care act would've made a difference in Patty's life in the fact that she would've been able to feel secure that she would always be able to get insurance.  I remember Patty worrying that once she'd been diagnosed with leukemia what we would do if I lost the ability to get health insurance due to being laid off.

Think about it folks. I understand we all have political persuasions. However healthcare is not a commodity. When you are ill and face death you don't care how much costs, you just want to be healthy again. So until everyone can have the absolute best health insurance that provides every reasonable and unreasonable alternative to save a person's life, the affordable care act will least move us to a better place.

I know there'll be many disagreements with what I've written. However that's the great thing about this country, I can express this opinion and you can express yours. I never intentionally censor comments to this blog so fire away and I will make sure they are properly posted.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

1 comment:

Tina Sommers said...

Amen, completely agree