Healthcare issues always create a stimulating conversation, sometimes quite intense. What strikes me is how each viewpoint appears to not be able to understand where another viewpoint is coming from.
We have all played a part in creating the current healthcare culture. The lack of transparency in the transactions from the insurance, hospital, and employers (not making the complete cost apparent to employees), as well as medical providers being unaware of the real costs while creating a victim patient vs. an empowered patient. We also all have a personal responsibility for our health and to be informed which is difficult in the way of prices. Where is the payment for promoting and delivering prevention?
Changing 35 plus years of this culture in just 2 to 3 years is very difficult.
Cobra was a good idea but it has many problems and fails to do what it was intended due to expense and paperwork confusion.
Keep in mind, whether we like it or not, we ALL pay for this healthcare problem sooner or later. If we can not find ways to come together on this issue, it will become a national disaster following on the heels of this current financial crisis since medical bills are reported unpaid and hospitals are using collection agencies much sooner than in the past. Perhaps your FICO score will be taken into consideration for insurance coverage.
I do not think that people realize how difficult it can be to get individual coverage, let alone afford it w/ the median income in this country being around $40,000, which then changes when a job is lost.
Some better approaches may be to:
Allow those who lose healthcare to buy into existing systems, with affordable premiums, Government, Medicare, Medicaid, since people may very well end up there later so when not have something paid and perhaps keep their long term cost from increasing. This could also address those with a pre existing conditions.
If you stop and think about it, business says the healthcare costs are a main cost decreasing their ability complete in global markets. So what if we all had the ability to chose from a menu of NATIONAL health plans that were CLEARLY outlined on a NATIONAL website with prices, medical coding, clear coverage details. Then these could all be offered thru employers and also bought by individuals. How about a national 401K to encourage savings. Isn´t strange that you can save $15,000 tax deferred in a 401K and only $4500 in an individual IRA?
For the free marketers out there, the Insurance and Finance companies can compete for administration of such plans, website management, etc, much the same as they do now for large companies.
Just think, then small business could attract top talent, which, due to a lack of attractive benefits, it may not be able to do. Workers could then move to another employer without all the current hassles.
So, who loses with a national platform? And don't say choice, since many people do not have choice now and have long waits now as well! Follow the interests groups and the money...
Last note, take a good look at your health profile, would you be able to get insurance coverage? and at what cost? and then how about your family members?
Be sure to read the fine print to see what is really covered if you do happen to get it.
So, we need to put ideology aside and deal more pragmatically with this whole issue. This impacts those at all levels of income in some way and finding a lasting solution is in everyone's best interests.
Personal Note: I am healthy and feel very lucky, my husband is diabetic w/o meds of any kind, and active. He has still been turned down for individual coverage. We have insurance coverage thru employment but the quality has decreased each year w/ a continued increase in cost. So, here we are, covered for now, how about you???
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