A lot has been written lately about health care reform and whats needed to change the system. While I wouldn’t mind a universal health care system, I think that level of change will be a generation or two in coming. Like the Civil Rights Movement (which is still waging a war with hatred), health care reform will take place slowly, over the course of many years.
That’s the nature of social reforms, and health care is nothing if its not a social reform. Injecting change into such an industry is time consuming and labor intensive, as we’ve all seen from the endless debates taking place in cyberspace and on the twenty four hour news channels. The endless droning of talking heads, with small, eight second interruptions for sound bites, is more likely to put one to sleep than lead to any real changes.
And I don’t think a massive overhaul is necessarily the best thing. I would be satisfied paying for health care if the two following points were addressed:
1) Make it illegal, across the board, for insurance companies to deny anyone coverage due to any form of pre-existing condition. This would include any ailment, be it cancer, AIDS, or dog bites (I’ll explain why I mention this in a bit) or yeast infections.
2) A limit on prices companies can charge is put in place to prevent private companies from gouging consumers. Further, this price is derived on a sliding scale format with no more than 10% of a families total income devoted to health care. If a universal option is taken completely off the table, this should be a balancer to the Private Sector Overlords who decide who lives and who dies.
As with government, some form of checks and balances MUST be in place for a workable health care system.
A Dog Bite a Day Keeps the Insurance Company From Paying (‘Cause It’s a Pre-Existing Condition)
Back in ’07, I took my wife out to eat on her birthday. We went to a nice restaurant and enjoyed an excellent meal. When we returned home, I noticed our two dogs were getting rather aggressive with each other. We headed out to the dog pen to bring them inside when they started going to town on each other. It was bad. The worst fight they’ve been in since we had them.
I tried to separate them and in the process got bit on my right hand. Once I got them apart, I headed to the ER with my wife and mother. I got in pretty quick, as dog bites are treated as being rather important, and I got treated.
Near the end of our stay in the ER, I filled out the reams worth of paper work that accompanies any ER visit, including insurance forms. We paid the co-pay, and went home.
A few weeks later, I got a letter from the insurance company stating I was not in their records as being covered. Our coverage was through my wife’s employment, so she talked with the insurance company and finally convinced them that a) I existed, and b) was covered since they were taking it out of her check every two weeks. The agent she spoke to said everything was fine.
Six weeks or so later, I received a bill from the ER doctor (since they are all subcontractors now) for $650.00 (or so; I don’t remember the exact amount), and a letter from the insurance company saying that my dog bite was a pre-existing condition and they don’t cover pre-existing conditions.
Now, anyone who is at all intelligent will realize that a dog bite is not, in any way, a pre-existing condition. It defies the laws of common sense to even think that and any rational being should see that.
Yet the insurance company was adamant. I had to pay out of pocket for the ER visit AND we still had to pay our premiums for coverage we didn’t even receive!
So, as I see it, one of two possibilities needs to happen:
1) Full Universal Health Care for everyone, regardless of any other factor to ensure what happened to me doesn’t happen to someone else;
2) Tighter regulations on insurance companies and a complete removal of the pre-existing condition clause from all levels of policies offered by ALL insurance companies. No exceptions and no loopholes.
Combined with option two, above, a across the board reduction of costs to the consumer by, at minimum, 90% so that everyone has a real chance at coverage.
Otherwise, it will be business as usual and some faceless nameless murderer in a suit will decide if you get to live or die.
Organized, legal murder for the sake of the almighty dollar.
Opinions, discussion, and rebuttals (so long as you are civil) are welcome.