Monday, September 07, 2009

Health Care Reform

I've been wanting to share thoughts on the health care debates in the U.S., but thought I should read H.R. 3200 first. It's very long. There is a nice summary, though, on the Library of Congress legislative information pages.

I am bewildered about why anyone is opposed to this.

To those who are, what specifically do you object to? And, how do you think health care should be paid for?

Should we just each pay for our own health care out of pocket? What about those who cannot afford to do so?

Should our employers pay for our health care? Why them? What if they cannot afford it? What if this is what makes it hard for many employers to stay in business? (Note that this really means that we all pay for each other's health care. Every time you pay money to a business that covers health care or health insurance for its employees, you are helping to pay for their health care.)

Should all health care be paid through health insurance? Who should pay the health insurance premiums? And, why pay for health care via health insurance companies? These are companies that are trying to make a profit, so they deny some claims. And they want to make money above and beyond covering their costs (profits) -- why do we want to pay extra money, above and beyond actual costs, for our health care? And why do we trust health insurance companies (who, again, are trying to make money) to make the decisions about whether to cover our health care costs or not?

Those lucky enough to have health insurance through their employers tend to assume that they will be well-covered if they should need expensive health care. But have you checked the details of your policy lately? You might be surprised at what is not covered, and at how much you would actually have to pay if you developed major health issues.

Have you tallied how much you and your employer have paid into the health insurance company, and compared that to how much your health care has actually cost? If you haven't cost as much money as you have paid in, are you glad that some of that money you and your employer have paid in has covered the health care costs of others? If so, why not support a government-run health care system, or a public option? At least a government system would not be trying to earn profits above and beyond covering costs, and so the extra money you have paid in would go farther than it currently does. If you have health insurance and have paid in more than your health care has cost, some of that extra money has paid for your health insurance company's profits. So, in addition to helping cover other people's health care costs, that extra money you and your employer have paid has also gone into giving shareholders some extra money.

If you have cost a lot of money, do you realize that the extra money above and beyond what you and your employer have paid in has come out of the payments of those who have not required as much health care? Have you thanked your healthy work colleagues, and those who pay for the goods or services your place of employment provides, for their contributions to your health care?

Have you ever thought you were covered for something that it turned out that you were not covered for? Have you ever refrained from seeking adequate medical attention because of concern for how much it will cost? Do you know someone who has been in this position?

I really do want to understand the point of view of those who are opposed to reforming our system. It seems so obvious to me that there are serious problems with how we have structured health care in the U.S., that I honestly do not understand why there is resistance to change.

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