October 21, 2009 in Politics
For months now, Republicans and members of the far right have bitterly opposed health care reform as if it were an evil set upon this earth with the mission of destroying the United States of America. From calling it a costly endeavor that would bring tremendous hardships to future generations to come, to proclaiming it the first shot in a canon bent upon making America a socialist nation, Republicans and the far right have pretty much dammed health care reform as being a nasty infestation that will bring the American house down around our ears. As for President Obama, himself, he has been characterized as a sort of bleeding heart liberal who wants to give away money of hard working Americans to the undeserving poor.
However, what truly is this demon health care reform they are so much up in arms about? For years now, Americans have had to suffer a private health care system that promised them health coverage in times of need, but far too often left them to fend for themselves during times of extreme medical crisis. American workers and their families have been made privy to private health care insurers who have taken their money for premiums year after year, only to have them cancel their coverage the moment they were unlucky enough to be hit by catastrophic illness. Their stated reasons for this gross betrayal, has been predicated on the claim that providing coverage for such illnesses is too costly. Severely ill patients often found themselves being directed to clauses in the terms and conditions of their health plans to find that their insurers had the right to do just that – cancel their policies based on a claim of excessive cost. These terms were most often printed in a font (or lettering) that was too small to read without the assistance of a magnifying glass and too complex to understand without the assistance of a lawyer and thus, were unintelligible to the average individual.
The results of these types of policies wear tragic, to say the least. In addition to having to suffer the pain of disease threatening their lives, the severely ill also found themselves battered by the additional task of having to find the funds to pay for treatment. For them it was a situation of loss all around; while for their private health insurance providers, it was a win, win one. Along with this, now that they were suffering from an existing illness, most other private insurance companies would not provide them coverage under a policy that called for them to deny coverage to individuals with preexisting illnesses.
This, as can be imagined, left these patients with no other alternative than to exhaust their savings and sell whatever possessions they could lay their hands on in a struggle to stay alive. This included their homes, cars, personal property, and more. All over America, severely ill patients have been forced to experience the pain of complete bankruptcy or risk certain death. Many have lost what it took them a life time to create, due to the above stated practices.
This situation continues up until today and is a prominent one that characterizes the way private health care providers operate. Regrettably, many with private health insurance who think their private health care plans provides them full and adequate protection, find themselves having to go deep into dept, take out second mortgages, and sell their homes, among other things, to pay for treatment they thought that paying years of premiums would provide them. Similarly, many have suffered needlessly as a result of delays in treatment, due to their health insurers refusal to pay for certain treatments they thought was covered by their individual plans. Some have even lost their lives as a consequence of such delays. As for the Insurance companies, again, they are left intact, while those who they vowed to protect suffer a dance with death.
Likewise, those with pre-existing illnesses have suffered a similar plight as a result of the not too pleasant practices of private health care insurers. Unfortunately, most private health care insurers actively discriminate against individuals who have pre-existing illnesses. Many argue that covering these individuals entail too much risk. They are more likely to take ill during the term of their insurance plans than those without such illnesses and therefore, constitute an unacceptable risk. They too are left to fend for themselves. If they are unable to acquire health services from the government or other resources, they find themselves faced with financial ruin due to a need to meet the cost for medical care.
This harsh reality has placed a tremendous burden upon the emergency rooms of hospitals throughout the United States and thus, the entire health care system as a whole. Unable to obtain adequate health care, the uninsured have flocked to emergency rooms to acquire care they otherwise could have received as a matter of routine, if they possessed adequate health care insurance. It’s further complicated by the fact that many make use of emergency rooms only after minor problems have developed in to major illnesses. Conditions that would have required no more than a few doctors visits to resolve, end up leading to costly stays in the hospital and major treatment accompanied by escalated costs.
Invariably, this situation has led to increases in overall health care costs for all Americans. Hospitals throughout the country have found it necessary to increase prices for services in order to meet the burden of providing care through the emergency room for uninsured patients who should have otherwise been able to receive care by way of a primary care physician or facility. This increase in cost has led to an increase in premiums for those carrying private health care policies. The more money private insurers have to lay out to meet their premium holders medical care, the higher the premiums themselves.
As it stands now, the costs for health care is skyrocketing out of control for all. Steadily increasing premiums are making it impossible for the average working family to pay health care premiums and support themselves at the same time. Weather you agree with the goals and objectives of health care reform, it nevertheless must be made a reality if we are to meet the health care needs of American citizens in general.
In an attempt to address this problem, President Obama and leading democrats proposed a public health care option as a small part of an overall health care reform plan. This option was not developed to replace or rob those with private health care of their right to keep their existing health care providers. To the contrary, it was designed to reduce health care cost all around by providing affordable options for uninsured as well as those with pre-existing illnesses. Providing these groups with low cost insurance will help irradicate emergency rooms as the first resort for care by those without insurance. In so doing, it will lead to an overall reduction in health care costs. The argument that it will destroy the private health care insurance industry, is simply incorrect.