Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hopes for Healthcare Reform

I hate being told what to do. And if my way isn’t working, I’ll still figure it out myself. Because I sure as heck don’t want to try your way! [excerpt from an American kindergarten room]

Unfortunately, in the arena of healthcare, this seems to be the attitude most of us adopt, which amounts to crossed fingers, gritted teeth, and a lot of Americans with eyes squeezed shut, hoping really hard that nothing bad happens.

I recognize there are controversial measures in the Affordable Care Act. The most striking deficit, in my opinion, is the absence of a conscience clause for providers. But just as the leading Catholicauthority in the U.S. has not supported a complete repeal of the law, neither do I.

I believe the legislation for healthcare reform is a step in the right direction. (Ouch -- just got hit by the flaming dart arrows fired from the appalled consciences of many friends.)

To this point, health insurance has been unaffordable. However, only the independently wealthy can financially handle a medical catastrophe without health insurance. Nonetheless, hospitals are required to treat patients with life-threatening conditions (albeit the care is crap, sufficient only to push them through the exit doors, to be pursued by a relentless mob of collection agencies). I’ll go out on a limb here, but suffice it to say, I think everyone would be better off with health insurance.

Still, there are many Americans who work incredibly hard, often self-employed or at multiple jobs, for whom the holy grail of employer-sponsored healthcare is not available. (My family’s included in this group.) For this group, it’s not possible to pay out-of-pocket for anything other than the most basic wellness care, without financial assistance.

I can only yell so loudly about my right to life and liberty, without wondering if there should be some provision for the quality of this life. I’m not advocating Mercedes for all, or streaming cable television to every home. But is the right to life that our founders envisioned only a guarantee to continue breathing on American soil? (As long as you don’t have asthma. Then your right to breathe is contingent on your ability to afford the diagnosis and prescription.)

Seriously though, our inaction on healthcare reform is only perpetrating the status quo of quality healthcare for a privileged elite, substandard provisions for the most impoverished, and anyone in between settling for lack of care or medical bankruptcy.

In my opinion, the individual mandate that’s such a contested part of the Affordable Care Act, just might be a solution.


  1. I think this is interesting. Good for you, first of all, for speaking your mind knowing that your thoughts might not be well received. I'm rarely that brave.

    I agree that our system is broken. We've gone without insurance, only briefly, and been on private insurance. The private plan was fine for Travis and the kids. The one I had to be on, in order to have minimal maternity coverage, was awful. And of course I got pregnant. But, here is where I began to see cracks in a system and ways to reform without forcing insurance on anyone. One, once I told my doctor about my crappy insurance (no co-pay and I had to pay whatever insurance didn't cover) he said they would only accept whatever insurance paid for and not charge me the difference. I realize this is anecdotal, but if one doctor in a successful practice can do it, others can too. Also, in the past when I have had to self-pay for services, I was charged less than an insured patient would be charged. Why--because cash in hand is better than waiting for an insurance company to maybe pay a portion and then have to follow up with a bill to me.

    The brokenness is the insurance industry and the medical industry. But because our government feels like they can't go after them or make meaningful reform, they go after the people. I realize insurance companies are supposed to be required to now cover everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, but I have my doubts as to how that will happen and be enforced.

    It is a mess and I don't think this plan is the answer.

  2. I found a solution for the health care insurance problem and it's called Samaritans Ministry. It's a biblical based medical sharing program for fellow Christians. At first I was skeptical, but after talking to some friends who raved about the program I decided to dump my ridiculous high-deductible health insurance plan and go for it. My "need" for maternity is currently being "shared". I will fair better financially with this birth than I did with my last when I had so called great insurance. ("Need" would equal claim in insurance terms and "shared" would equal covered). Every month I send a check and letter of encouragement to someone with a need and I can't tell you how much better I feel about that then sending a check to an insurance company. To check out Samaritan Ministries see here...