This is not easy.
One of the big drawbacks of living in what is so quaintly referred to as a “flyover state”
My parents were down for a visit yesterday, and this morning, over coffee and bagels and orange juice, the talk turned briefly to politics. Specifically, to the new health care bill and what John and I think about it.
Our response? “It’s about time!”
My parents were surprised. They are for it, but most people that they know, even those in the health care profession, are against it. Most of the patients on my Mom’s ward (she is a transplant nurse) are against it. One of her patients was railing against it, saying that the government should get out of people’s health care. She responded that he should get off of Medicare, then. Most of the people on her ward are on Medicare or Medicaid.
Are you afraid of the specter of socialized medicine? We already have it. We have had it for a long, long time. What do you think that Medicare and Medicaid are? Socialized, government administered, health care. 60% of all health care dollars already flow through the government.
Don’t you think that everyone who wants health insurance should be able to get it? Even if they have a chronic illness or a pre-existing condition? Do you think that people should lose their health insurance if they get too sick? Do you think that insurance companies should be able to deny people coverage? Why don’t you think that ending health care discrimination is a good thing?
John and I, right now, will see no impact as a result of the bill. First, both of us already get health care through our employers. Secondly, it will take years for all of the provisions in the bill to take effect. Like any sweeping reform, it will roll out slowly, in bits and pieces. It will not be until 2014 (or later) that the whole thing is in effect.
However. Should I leave my current employer or lose the health insurance that I get through them for any reason, I like knowing that I will be able to purchase a private health insurance plan on the open market and not be automatically excluded for my pre-existing condition.
I have high blood pressure. (Essential hypertension, according to my cardiologist, who could not find a single reason why I should have high blood pressure. Yet there it is.) I am healthy. I cook and eat well. I exercise regularly (yoga, fencing, weights and elliptical in the gym at work, exercise bicycle at home). My blood pressure is well controlled by my medication and lifestyle. But the problem is still there, and that means that no insurance company would look twice at me.
I like knowing that in a couple of years, should I need it, I will be able to purchase affordable (not highway-robbery priced) health insurance from a private insurer and they will not be able to turn me away or deny me coverage because of my high blood pressure.
Also. We require all drivers in this country carry auto insurance, and there are heavy penalties if someone is caught driving without it. How is that different from requiring that everyone carry health insurance?
Yes, the new health care bill is not perfect. I can think of a lot of ways in which I personally think that it ought to be improved or changed, but that fact that it is there at all is a good thing.