Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform

All day long I've heard a lot of bashing of the recently passed health care bill. As one of the 10.7% in Ohio who are currently unemployed and one of the millions who has in recent years have spent several months with no health insurance and been scared to death, I have a different perspective issue.

Let's be clear, I am not one of the uneducated, too lazy to work stereotypes. I'm a college graduate, a licensed professional and when working these days am actually one of the many classed as being under-employed. I want to work, and have in essence taken a 75% pay cut in order to earn enough to survive and have a job with some form of health insurance.

Right now, thanks to government picking up 65% of the cost, I managed to hang on to my health insurance. If I had had to undergo my recent health issue and subsequent surgery without health insurance a couple of nasty things would have happened. First, my issue probably would not have been diagnosed until it had almost killed me, because without health insurance I was avoiding the doctor for fear of being diagnosed with something that would then be classed a pre-existing condition, making me uninsurable. Second, the cost of treatment would have skyrocketed because of the delay. And third I would have probably lost my house and/or had to declare personal bankruptcy because of the cost of care.

No one should be forced to choose between their health and being able to eat. Between their health and having a roof over their heads. Between their health and bankruptcy. But that's what the existing system does.

We are the richest nation in the history of the world. We spend more per person on health care than any other country on the planet. Yet the average person doesn't even see a physician in any given year, our life expectancy is lower and our infant mortality rate is higher than the other developed countries. And the major difference between us and them is universal healthcare. We have known about this problem for more than 20 years and we have let it get worse. We say we're going to change it and it just gets more expensive and fewer people are covered, and nothing changes.

Do I like what the politicians came up with? I don't know enough of the details to be able to say. Will I like everything they came up with? I doubt it. Do I think that big insurance and the religious right had too large an influence on it? Not a doubt in my mind in regards to the insurance industry, and the arguments about abortion make me wonder about the other. Personally I don't think they went far enough. I would welcome a one payer system like Canada's. Despite the horror stories fed to us by insurance lobby, I haven't met a Canadian who doesn't love their doctor and love the treatment they have received. They must be doing something right.

Do I think this is going to solve everything? No. But I think it is a start in the right direction.

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