I am absolutely for Obama-care. I think everyone should have the right to healthcare. My husband and I are both employed. Him more than full-time, and I am part-time. His job as a firefighter offers healthcare benefits which we utilize. My job does not unless I work more hours (which ain’t happenin’ anytime soon). We have the choice of two different healthcare options. We can use the county benefits or the Union’s benefits. The county benefits are shit. The PPO is 70/30 and over 1200 dollars a month. The HMO is 800 dollars a month. That is WITH the county’s contribution. The Union’s benefits are slightly less shitty, with the PPO costing 1200 a month at 80/20, and the HMO is about 700 dollars a month. We use the Union HMO because it is the least expensive and the best coverage for the price.
Canada has one of the highest life expectancies (80 years) and lowest infant mortality rates in industrialized nations. Canada has socialized healthcare. I ran into a Canadian the other day. She said she can walk into any hospital in any city in Canada and walks out without paying a dime. She said the healthcare system is great (maternity leave is also one full year). Canada has talked about moving to a privatized insurance system like the U.S. but fears that medical care would then go to the haves and not to the have nots.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Rwanda has universal healthcare and since adopting it in 1999, has seen a lower mortality rate and more people accessing healthcare.
Thailand requires all of it’s patients to have health insurance regardless of their ability to pay. They adopted a system where the poorest were able to afford insurance, adding 14 million to their coverage. Many services are free (chemotherapy, emergency services, etc) according to WHO.
WHO states that in 1950 Kuwait implemented free comprehensive healthcare, and saw a decrease in infant deaths and mortality rates.
China provides affordable basic healthcare services to all of it’s 1.3 billion people. Though the quality of care varies by region (as expected with some areas being small farming towns and others industrialized cities), all of its citizens can access healthcare inexpensively.
Citizens of Brazil have a right to free healthcare as a citizen of the country. About 80% of the country utilizes universal healthcare, where the other 20% purchase private insurance (usually the wealthier portion of society). Mortality rates have improved by 10.6 years. Like China, there are disparities in quality of care between regions.
In most of these countries, private healthcare can be purchased by those who can afford it. There are millions in our own country who cannot afford health insurance. Look at my insurance for example. How many of you can afford that monthly? We are lucky that we can. When I was teaching, I wouldn’t have been able to afford health insurance. I barely had two nickels to rub together by the end of the month, let alone a thousand dollars.
Obamacare does many great things.
1. It stops insurance companies from dropping you if you become sick
2. It requires preventative services to be covered
3. The goal is to provide affordable, not free healthcare for all and attempts to reduce the rising costs in the healthcare industry.
4. It makes it illegal to charge women more than men for healthcare
5. You cannot be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition (I have been denied in the past because I have acid reflux disease, I have a friend who opted against pregnancy coverage in order to try and get coverage, but was still denied because she has dangerous pregnancies).
6. It doesn’t regulate healthcare…it regulates health insurance
7. You can use Obamacare or private insurance or Medicare/acid, etc. but you have to have insurance or you pay a tax. If you’re going to pay anyway, you might as well get insurance.
Regardless of your feelings on Obamacare specifically, there is a huge disparity in this country of those who are able to access decent medical care. Take a walk in downtown LA. You probably need a tetanus shot afterwards. There are true homeless people walking around with open sores on their feet and hands because of the extremes of living on the streets. They are mentally ill to the extreme. They are sick. They can’t afford healthcare. They get placed on a gurney in the hallway and dealt with when they have time. The hospitals are overrun with patients like these. They are not reimbursed.
If more people had access to healthcare, it might just change the face of our society. People say that some will be a drag on society and increase healthcare costs because they smoke or are overweight. Did you ever think that people might behave/react differently if they had a doctor to see who could warn them about the hazards of smoking or obesity? Why do we need a doctor to tell us this because we all know the dangers of these, but with the massive delusions of grandeur and God complexes of “the greatest nation on earth”, no one believes it will happen to them.
My husband is fit. He’s slim, tall, works out like a beast, and eats decently most of the time. He had a harsh reality check recently. I
nag tell him all the time that ranch dressing is not a food group. He eats cookies for breakfast and most of the day. He has always had cholesterol issues. He has a family history and most of his grandparents died of heart attacks. He had a body scan and has plaque in his arteries. It has worsened over time. It’s not bad, but he’s only 37. Ask me how many cookies he ate yesterday and what he had for breakfast? He has cold hard facts in front of him and still chooses to eat that way because “I work out”. (This is a whole other blog post!)
My husband sees doctors regularly and is told what he needs to work on and as a result has lowered his cholesterol to manageable levels. Imagine if some people were able to see a doctor and given information like my husband was. They might change their tune.
My big question is WHY aren’t we as a society willing to help people afford health insurance? Why are we turning a blind eye and letting people die? Do you have any idea how much chemotherapy costs, or vaccinations, or HIV meds? Why are we punishing people who have these harsh diseases by charging them ridiculous fees? There are some cancer meds that cost 1,500 dollars for a single injection. ONE INJECTION. Some monthly treatments cost over $10,000! According to the New York Times, there are two new cancer treatments that cost over 35K per month. The cost if cancer treatments can cost anywhere from 70- hundreds of thousands of dollars. People are having to make the choice between treating their illnesses and paying their bills, usually opting for the latter. For my child to get their vaccinations, it can cost up to 450 dollars. People who don’t have insurance can’t afford to have their children vaccinated. A single doctor visit with nothing special still costs anywhere from $50-$300 depending on the doctor. Add in a throat culture and your price rises by $200.
According to PBS, the U.S. spends almost $9,000 per person per year. I pay more than that yearly in insurance. This is two and a half times that of other developed nations who pay 3-5 thousand less per person. Health care costs now make up 17.6% of the GDP. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an international economic group made up of 34 nations. The U.S. has 2.4 practicing physicians per 1,000 people, compared to the OECD average of 3.1. The U.S. has 2.6 hospital beds per 1,000. OECD has 3.4. U.S. life expectancy at birth has increased by 9 years from 1960, whereas the OECD average is 11 years and Japan’s average is an increase of 15 years.
While the U.S. does lead the world in health care research, the prices are passed along to the consumer. Other countries in the OECD are able to regulate growing areas of specialty. In France, spending across specialties is monitored. If one particular specialty sees a rise in popularity, they intervene to lower the costs of that service. For example, if a region sees a rise in the need for allergists, the cost of an allergist is reduced to meet the demand. Japan also follows this model to avoid exorbitant costs in one particular area.
Surprisingly, universal healthcare was formed and mastered during World War II. Historians state that an Emergency Medical Service was formed and took charge of all medical services in the nation and created a coordinated hospital service and national and regional registries for everything from bloodwork to neurology. They credit the Luftwaffe (and their immense destruction) for breaking down the barriers of English politics and coming together to form what was needed to support the wounded. Imagine that…in a time of crisis, the British dropped their machismo and came together for the good of the people.
That would never happen here. We are still trying to deny coverage to first responders of 9/11.