Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Healthcare Politics

Image by bshafer

Politics. Debates. Conventions. Balloting. And finally, the election. 

I am glad that it's over. 

I won't comment on who I voted for, since my focus for Reasonably Well is not political. I will say that I had significant reservations about ideologies on both sides of the ballot. However, since it now appears that Barak Obama will be our next president, it seems that a review of the Obama/Biden stand on healthcare is in order. 

This from the Obama website:
The Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing health care system, and uses existing providers, doctors and plans to implement the plan. Under the Obama-Biden plan, patients will be able to make health care decisions with their doctors, instead of being blocked by insurance company bureaucrats.

Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year.

If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.

I agree that change is needed in our health care here in the United States. It is simply unacceptable and unethical that healthcare is unaffordable for many. Families forced to make the choice between housing and food versus health insurance are put into an impossibly unfair place. It is inconceivable that families are forced into bankruptcy due to massive medical bills even when they do have healthcare insurance, yet this is not an uncommon occurrence.  

While I agree wholeheartedly with those who advocate for critical changes in the healthcare delivery system, forgive me if I am less than optimistic about it happening any time soon. Anyone who has dealt with the maze of insurance companies, drug companies, hospital, and outpatient clinic billing systems realizes that fixing this  issue is complicated on an unbelievable scale. Even beyond mere reimbursement issues, the legalities of healthcare as a whole heap yet another mountain of difficult issues onto an already enormous pile of problems.  

During the Clinton administration, similar promises were made as early as 1993. This quote from President Clinton's speech to a joint session of Congress made on September 22, 1993 was a plea for action on the health care front: 

Millions of Americans are just a pink slip away from losing their health insurance, and one serious illness away from losing all their savings. Millions more are locked into the jobs they have now just because they or someone in their family has once been sick and they have what is called the preexisting condition. And on any given day, over 37 million Americans -- most of them working people and their little children -- have no health insurance at all. And in spite of all this, our medical bills are growing at over twice the rate of inflation, and the United States spends over a third more of its income on health care than any other nation on Earth.

Sound familiar? 

We can only hope and pray that the rhetoric offered by the Obama campaign materializes into concrete action. And soon. 

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