Thursday, September 10, 2009

The One About Health Care

If you are a new reader to my blog, I always put warning labels on posts that include politics or religion so you can skip them if you like.

(Warning: Political Blather ahead)  

 I listened to the President's speech on health care yesterday with great interest. I think there is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there on the health care issue. Some people believe we are trying to go to nationalized healthcare following a Canadian or English model.  We aren't. In fact, I'm not sure that would ever be a good idea. Those systems are flawed.  I don't think anyone here wants to wait years to get a hip replacement.  I happen to believe that we are a country of innovative and thoughtful people.  We can come up with something better.

I am lucky enough to have an excellent PPO plan through my job. It covers my entire family with no deductible. This is the main reason I continue to work. My husband's employer will only pay for coverage for my husband.  And the coverage isn't that great.  We are lucky to have the healthcare that we do. And yet, I am often frustrated by my insurance.  We are a healthy family. (thanks be for that blessing)  My husband, however, has had to have several cancerous growths removed from his skin. The insurance company has challenged every single one. The dermatologist said that it is a standard practice by the insurance company.  They try to say that these skin cancer removals could be cosmetic. WHAT?!!!  I have heard stories from friends and co-workers that more and more of their standard claims are getting challenged. We all do fairly well with our insurance plans if we are healthy but Lord help you if you get seriously sick.  Every single step of your treatment could be challenged by insurance. And who wants to deal with insurance paperwork when you or a loved one is battling cancer?

My mother is a 64-year-old widow. Several years ago, her COBRA insurance coverage from my father ran out.  Because of her health problems, she doesn't work.  So, she has no work-provided insurance coverage. Trying to find private coverage has been a nightmare. No one will accept her because of her pre-existing conditions. We finally found a plan for her but the premium and deductible are both really high. It eats up a large portion of her living expenses. In March, she will finally qualify for Medicare. That will be more of a celebration than her actual birthday.  It has been a VERY hard road.  She is one of those people who fall through the insurance cracks.

For those people who say they don't want to pay for other people's coverage, I would say...we already are!  Who do you think pays for all of those uninsured people who go to hospitals? The expense is passed on to us in the form of higher premiums and more challenges to claims.  In addition, as a Christian, I believe it is our responsibility to help to care for our neighbors.  I believe that we, as a nation, should take care of each other.  THAT, my friends, is a family value.

For those people who are worried about what this will do to insurance companies as businesses, I would say...what have insurance companies done for you lately?  Really?  I am grateful to have mine but I find it increasingly frustrating and unnecessarily complicated. These companies are not in the business of people but in the business of making money. They don't care about us.  We are just numbers to them.  As soon as we become a liability, they dump us.

It sounds to me like the administration's plan would allow me to keep my current plan while providing a viable option for people like my mother. And it would give me certain consumer protections so that I cannot be denied coverage for things like pre-existing conditions. Why is this a bad thing?  I don't understand.

If I am wrong about this, let me know and I will admit my error.  I just don't understand the reluctance.  Isn't it about time that our politicians did something that could effect REAL change? For all of us? It would sure as hell be a lot more meaningful than more tax breaks for the rich.

But that is just my two cents.


Gary said...

All excellent comments. For the folks who complain about nationalized (or whatever variation thereof) health care being expensive, I just say it's an investment in our country's infrastructure, namely the people.

If we had a system in which people didn't have to worry about preexisting conditions or going bankrupt because they got sick, they would be much more economically productive. Besides, when people go bankrupt, everyone else shoulders that burden from increased costs of all kinds.

It's just dumb to continue to go on like we have.

jlshall said...

You're not wrong - everything you say is perfectly true. It's a shame more people can't reason out this health care problem for themselves. And I think your point about being a Christian and taking care of each other is a very good one. Many of the people who are so quick to say we're a "Christian nation" are the very same ones who oppose any health care reform. People can be very hard to figure out sometimes.

Marie said...

I totally agree. It's something we need to do as a country and it's something all of us deserve.