It's Time to Reform Healthcare

06.16.09 | Comments[2]

BioElizabethWThis week the President starts his push for healthcare reform- a plan that has many of us on edge as we wonder how this reform will impact us: from our pocketbooks to our medical care. From the get go, national healthcare often gets a bad rep because the first thing that pops into our minds when we hear the phrase “national healthcare” is “socialized medicine.” We adamantly oppose the idea of health care for all, not because we don’t want everyone to have access to healthcare, but because it’s often associated with socialism. So what? It seems unrealistic to think that we—a nation known for pioneering our own form of government—are incapable of adapting a socialist practice without adopting that form of government.

Convincing the masses that by adapting a national health care system we won’t be inflicting a socialist state or rescinding our democratic rule of government are the easy part. The hard part is the phase two which tries to answer the question asked by 306 million people: How does this affect me? How does it affect my pocketbook and how does it affect the quality of my care? We hear how about how the French have over half of their income spent on taxes or how a Canadian in need of open heart surgery had to wait three days before being able to get an appointment. We know that we do not want to sacrifice any more of our tightly-budgeted paychecks to taxes nor do we want to compromise the quality of the medical care we receive, so is there a way to have healthcare for everyone without losing any of the above?

The answer is I don’t know. I’m not an economist or a medical expert. I don’t know how you can create a safety net of care for all while expecting doctors to take a pay cut and still perform at the highest levels. I don’t know how you create a system where no child is uninsured or where no family is struggling for years to come under the massive weight of health care debt. I don’t have the answers nor do I think our government does, but I know they must exist. I understand the concern about moving to a nationalized system but I also understand the importance of knowing that if your child, husband, or mother is faced with a medical situation, you never have to worry about how you will pay for it.

Last year in my own family, we got an inside glimpse into our current healthcare system when my brother was in a serious car accident that landed him in ICU and then rehab for about two months. After a week in ICU-while my brother was still in a medically induced coma- the insurance company and hospital informed my parents that they would be stopping payments for various reasons and my parents would have to foot the rest of the bill that was rapidly escalating towards the million dollar mark. In my family’s situation, thankful the issue was able to be resolved and my brother received different coverage but it caused me to dwell on the hundreds of families in our country who don’t have that happy ending. Families who have to foot astronomical bills for care of loved ones and can never financially recover.

I’m not saying the President’s plan is the best plan and I’m not saying the President’s plan is the only plan. What I’m saying is that for a national with the best medical care in the world, I think we can find the plan that provides coverage- and good coverage at that- to everyone without taking too much more of our heard earned money. This plan could be the one devised by the government or it could be one devised by the people and submitted to the government. Since we’re paying for and receiving this plan, what do you want to see?



Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 09.25.09 Anonymous commented

Elizabeth;I'm sorry that you have gone so long without a comment on such an important issue. As we havegone through the summer we have witnessed the tremendous,emotionally charged reactions toward this subject. Anytime that the government gets involved we do not get the simplest,most efficient or cost effective solution to any problem.

on 09.25.09 Anonymous commented

Believe it or not there are some reforms that can be made to the current system but unfortunately there are those that call themselves progressives that refuse to consider,let alone debate other options. Because they are offered by the opposition they do not even get brought forward for consideration or even ackknowledge they exist. Most reform should take place at the local level,not at the federal level. The number of health plans available are about 1500 across the US,but the states have restricted who can offer insurance in each state. Some states have as few as six different options to choose from. They need to open up the field and allow competition.