About a month ago, I was lucky enough to sit in on a monthly “Employee Forum” at the hospital where I work. It’s just another way that my employer makes an effort to keep the lines of communication open, address any fears or rumors, and find out how they can keep their employees happy. I am a lucky girl, I know. All of the top dogs are in attendance at these meetings- the CEO, the heads of every hospital department, and we sit with them, at one big table, and eat lunch. After lunch, we take turns asking any questions we have, or that have been sent with us by the people in our departments. These questions run the gamut from “Can we please get better toilet paper in the public restrooms?” to “Why are we supporting this health care reform act?”
As I told my cousin, on our way to dinner last night, this last question made me a little nervous- it was asked in the voice of one who was not at ALL of a mind to support this whole “Obamacare” bologna. The summarized answer he received was this: “We have already seen a good deal of benefit from the parts of this initiative that have been implemented, FOR our community of PATIENTS. We recognize that it is not a perfect plan, but if we wait until it is perfect, we will be waiting forever.” In other words, my employer has decided, as a whole, that we can get behind what supports our community, because we, ultimately, are all about caring for our community. And we are willing to work with what we are given, focusing on the positive.
Another, very enlightening, fact that was presented to us was this: 70% of people, when asked if they support the healthcare reform from our current President, vehemently say NO! Yet, when those same 70% are asked whether or not they support the individual key points set forth within the act, they overwhelmingly are in support of those ideas…hmm. What this tells me is that there is an enormous amount of fear and misinformation surrounding this thing, and public education for EVERYONE needs to be undertaken to stop the circulation of far-fetched horror stories. At the end of the day, some people are not going to like it, maybe…but it is designed to make health care accessible for everyone, not a luxury for the lucky. I STRONGLY believe that everyone, no matter what their situation, deserves the help they need to care for themselves, period. They deserve to have one doctor who knows them, and follows them, and is therefore able to make the correct conclusions about this persons appropriate care.
Under this act:
Dependents can remain on their parents insurance plan until age 26: No one is saying they have to, or even that they should- but they can, that is all. Which has made a huge difference in millions of lives, already.
Your insurance cannot drop you if you get sick, or because you made a mistake on your paperwork: My daycare provider just told me that she lost her insurance coverage because, after getting cancer, her premiums skyrocketed, basically making it impossible for her, a self employed person, to afford. They may not have dropped her, but they definitely impeded her ability to stay insured.
You cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, nor can your children; Say for instance your company changes insurance companies- the new company cannot exclude you because you have health issues, or if your children do.
I think the people who are really running scared right now are the insurance companies- and they should be! The structure of the big insurance companies is being threatened with exposure, and the end result is that the general public will learn how messed up the whole system really is. Why is it that insurance is so expensive that most people can’t purchase it for themselves- so expensive that many businesses can’t purchase it for their employees? When the majority of people ARE NOT sick, or injured, or spending a great deal of time hospitalized? Why is it so hard to get a claim paid? What about the denials and BS explanations for why perfectly reasonable things are not being paid?
Here’s the deal, guys, and this is the truth- People with insurance are much more likely to have a primary care doctor, and use him. People that are using that doctor are going to have routine blood work and tests done. Those tests are going to detect illnesses such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many things much sooner, making treatment easier, and often preventing any need for hospitalization, or greatly reducing the number of hospital days…which reduces the financial impact on the insurer, which reduces the financial impact for EVERYONE.
Here’s another thing- people with insurance do not have to go to the ER for ear infections, colds, breast lumps, eye infections, stomach aches, migraines, bronchitis, chronic illnesses and refills of prescriptions. Right now, this is what they do, and they do it every single day, hundreds of times a day, just where I work alone. We see every one of them, because they are humans who deserve to be well. But when they cannot pay for their treatment, what do you think happens? The prices for services begin to rise for all of the folks who do have insurance.
This is not an easy dilemma, and perhaps it is a flawed initiative. But concentrating on keeping people well by providing them insurance and physician care to avoid illness, and making insurance companies be responsible, accountable, and humane, seems like a good start. We need to take a page out of my employers book, and work with what we are given. And if that is not good enough for you- this is America, after all. Educate yourself and make some changes!