Given that private insurance companies have made it clear that they can’t afford to insure all the sickest people in the country and still make a profit, it makes sense to institute a National Health Plan. Currently, even having insurance doesn’t mean you’re covered. The insurance companies have all kinds of “outs” like Pre-existing Conditions, ridiculously high deductibles and other devices to get them out of having to actually pay their client’s health care costs.
Illness can strike without warning, even to the healthy. An expensive hospitalization can financially ruin a family or individual. Lack of affordable health care prevents many employees from switching jobs or starting their own businesses. High health insurance costs unfairly target lower income families and smaller businesses who can’t spread the risk amongst a large group. Rural areas without large population centers mean long trips to the nearest emergency room, a known factor in lowered survival from trauma and acute conditions. This country’s current insurance practices force society’s most vulnerable to suffer needlessly, have increased disability, and die younger, while the “Private” insurance companies make a profit.
Hospitals are required by OBRA legislation to stabilize patients who come in through their Emergency Rooms and can’t transfer them without cause, which means they must furnish health care whether the patient can pay or not. This means inner city hospitals furnish essentially “free” care to the inner city poor. Large teaching institutions, that also offer state of the art treatments to affluent suburbanites, are the only hospitals thriving in most urban environments. Hospitals without access to well insured populations lack the revenue to bring their facility state of the art therapies and equipment. This means poor quality health care for citizens who live in low income or rural areas that don’t have access to University level health care.
Our current system of private health insurance unfairly favors wealthy employees of large companies and penalizes farmers, low income families and elderly patients who rely on Medicare for all of their coverage. The new, unbalanced, Medicare prescription plan pays prescriptions for wealthy retirees who have other insurance available and penalizes poor pensioners who must cover the bulk of their prescriptions with their meager Social Security Check. None of this is fair. It is not the American ideal. This used to be a country of opportunity. It is hard to grab opportunity when you can’t switch jobs, because you’re afraid of losing your health insurance coverage.
It is long past time we had a National Insurance plan. Even if we had coverage based on a high deductible policy, if it helped cushion low income Americans and the self-employed from financial disaster every time a health emergency struck, and covered expensive prescriptions for patients who don’t have a cheaper alternative, it would literally be a life saver.
I work in health care compiling health statistics and I can see all the warning signs that the current system is NOT working. We need to act NOW to save the underprivileged and disadvantaged members of our society.