Why Are People So Scared Of National Health Insurance?
There’s a new Congress in Washington, and one half of that Congress is trying to emasculate the health care bill that passed last year. The House actually wasted everyone’s time by having a vote to overturn the bill and sending it to the Senate in a move that was ceremonial than productive, since they knew the Senate wasn’t going to change their mind.
I keep wondering just what it is that has people scared of national health care coverage. I always knew that insurance companies wouldn’t like it, but I find it strange that people who aren’t rich would have a problem with it. Let’s take a logical look at this, shall we?
First point, more than 10% of our population has no health insurance coverage at all. Another 25% are under-covered by insurance. This means, obviously, that 35% of the population will have problems paying their health care bills, no matter the cost. Studies have shown that 61% of people who file for bankruptcy have a significant health care bill on their credit report; this isn’t good for anyone.
Second point, at least for now, if you’re employed and your employer gives you health insurance, even if you have to pay something out of pocket, that’s your only liability. If your household income is less than $250,000, you don’t pay anything extra.
Third point, there’s a provision of the current health care bill that I admit I don’t like. I don’t think it’s fair that the government has people that don’t have insurance either having to get it or pay some dollar amount in taxes. That’s inherently unfair, violates President Obama’s pledge that he wouldn’t hurt the middle class when he was running for president, and and has enough states whose supreme courts have said that part is unconstitutional that it will eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, where it will be found unconstitutional thanks to a conservative court.
Having said that, it still means your options are limited if you don’t have insurance and you’re not considered poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. You can go to the emergency room, where they have to treat you, but only so far. If you need heart surgery they don’t have to provide it for you; I’m betting you didn’t know that. Unless you’re having a heart attack in the emergency room and surgery is your only option they can stabilize you and send you home, and there’s nothing you can do about it because that’s the law. They can give you a prescription that might help, but you probably won’t be able to afford it. Is that the option you want for yourself and your family? I hope your life insurance is paid up.
Fourth point, medical debt is now considered in the same manner as every other debt you have. If your bill is high enough, you’re going to be taken to court, and you’re going to lose, and you’re going to have some of your wages garnished by the medical entity to the tune of 10% per pay period. Now you’ve just gone from having the ability to pay for some kind of health care coverage to paying the hospital or physician and getting nothing in return; that’s a horrible option. You’d be better allowing the government to add a 10% tax on your salary but allowing you to get unlimited health care coverage whenever you need it. What, you never get sick; keep believing that will happen to you for the rest of your life.
Fifth point, pharmacy costs. Medication is the most expensive regular medical issue you’ll ever have to deal with. Without insurance, you’re going to pay through the nose if you want to be healthy or live longer. Right now there’s a medication I pay 1 $5 co-pay for every month that, if I didn’t have insurance, would cost me $150. Another medication I pay $20 for would cost me $500. And that’s monthly as well. You think health insurance is high, look at these rates. Even a government option will help you cover most of the cost of medication for most illnesses.
Sixth and final point for now; the government isn’t going to raise rates to make a profit. Health care costs are always going up. Some states have insurance companies that have raised premiums at least 50% multiple years in a row. That’s because they have stockholders to take care of, and have to make profits. The federal government might raise their contribution here and there, but it will be manageable. And think of this; if there ended up being national health care coverage, there wouldn’t be a need for Medicare and probably wouldn’t be a need for Medicaid either, except for extreme circumstances such as taking care of the disabled and nursing home coverage.
To me, this is a financial no-brainer. You might be okay now, but who knows what the future will hold. Who here doesn’t know someone who got hit with a major medical bill, either because they didn’t have insurance, their insurance company said they wouldn’t cover it, or their deductibles are so high that it ends up being financially punitive? Think about it; it’s got to come sooner or later.