It is a disgrace that the United States of America is the world’s only industrialized power that doesn’t provide universal coverage to its citizens.
It’s bad enough there are already millions who don’t have health insurance alone, and those who do still find themselves paying through the nose for treatments they thought their insurance companies would pay far more.
I went to a pharmacy the other day inquiring about getting a pneumonia shot since my employer was offering free flu shots. I’ve had two bouts with pneumonia during the last 14 years, and I did not want to risk even the slightest possibility with another fight against the disease that could prove fatal.
The pharmacy charges $40 for the pneumonia shot (and $25 for a flu shot), and I asked whether my insurance company covers the cost of a pneumonia shot. Sadly, I was advised by the pharmacist that my insurance did not cover it.
Thank God my employer has been providing flu shots for its workers for no charge during the last two years, but I wonder how many millions may find their health in jeopardy because they cannot afford the shots without health insurance help.
I’ve heard the proposals of candidates from both parties, and while there is far from perfection to be found in the plans of the major Democratic party candidates, what little I have heard from Republican candidates make me wonder whether their attitude toward folks like me and our needs is the old Marie Antoinette line- “let them eat cake.”
Who would really put their money in a tax-free health savings account that those who have the accounts would lose if they didn’t spend anything out of them during a calendar year? And who would really want a private insurance coverage that covers much of what one would normally pay but would still leave many insured struggling just to pay the costs that insurers don’t cover?
If I had my way, I’d propose this- a universal single-payer taxpayer-supported not-for-profit plan that would cover everyone from cradle to grave in which no one could ever be denied coverage due to so-called “pre-existing conditions” or because of lack of means to pay for the needed procedures.
Workers like me already pay for health insurance out of our paychecks, and then have to pay even more in co-pays and other expenses that insurers don’t cover. What would be the harm of a taxpayer-supporter national plan in which no patients can ever be left behind?
Certainly, those with no health insurance at all or those who struggle to pay after their policies fall short will stand to benefit. The insurance companies and Republican politicians may cry that this proposal amounts to “socialized medicine,” but what is so bad about making health insurance available for all Americans regardless of economic status.
The British and Canadians are among those who have plans in place, and they seem to be doing very well. Why should Americans be left out because some Republican politicians and their allies in the health insurance industries stand in the way?
It’s time for our politicians to get beyond their words and act on behalf of all of us by passing universal single-payer not-for-profit health insurance for all Americans.