In 2007, only 59.3% of Americans were covered under employment-based medical insurance plans. 45.7 million Americans remained uninsured in 2007. These people are the victims in today’s healthcare system. Unlike people with insurance, the uninsured tend not to schedule regular check-ups. Most wait until they can wait no longer to see a doctor. By that time, the emergency room is the only option. Also, according to the August 30th article in medHeadlines, there is a disparity in quality of health care between those with and without insurance. The result is that many of the uninsured die from curable diseases and are less informed of how to prevent others.
If health insurance is so important, then why are there millions of Americans without it? Unfortunately for many people, the cost is simply too high. For low-income families, especially for larger families they need all the money the have just to put good food on the table. Paying for health insurance in case someone gets sick is an expense they simply cannot afford.
For others, the problem may be in qualifying for insurance. Many people without insurance realize too late that they need coverage. Once diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness, many insurance companies will not accept them due to their preexisting condition. Those that do accept them will offer ridiculously high premiums. Most of these people find that health insurance is out of reach just when they need it most.
In many states, auto-insurance is mandatory. Since everyone has insurance, the person at fault is always able to pay, no matter how costly the accident. Health insurance should be no different. By having millions of people without healthcare, hospital costs are inflated due to a decrease in preventive care. It also puts taxpayers in the position of paying for everyone who doesn’t have health insurance. Most people agree that it would be cruel to refuse emergency treatment to a person just because they can’t afford treatment. Therefore, we all pay through our taxes. Just as in auto-insurance, mandatory health insurance will ensure that everyone is able to receive treatment both preventive and emergency care regardless of cost.
Health insurance should be recognized as a right for all Americans, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it saves all of us money in the long-run. Since some people will not be able to afford insurance at current rates, the costs must be distributed based on a family’s ability to pay. Families who’s annual income is at or below poverty level would pay nothing for health insurance. Those who make slightly more than that would pay a small monthly premium. The premium would increase based on annual income with the wealthiest Americans paying significantly more than the majority middle-class Americans. Premiums would not be based on medical history at all, thus giving those with preexisting conditions the same coverage based on their income. Based on estimates of Jack Hadley, PhD in the August issue of Health Affairs, mandatory health insurance would save those currently uninsured an estimated $30 billion dollars per year and save the government $56 billion which it currently spends to care for the uninsured. A fully insured America means a happier society in which everyone is responsible for the health of one another. Insuring everyone is the only humane choice and the best economic solution as well. The sooner we can insure all Americans the better, for everyone. We can’t afford to let our fellow Americans suffer and die from neglect any more.