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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Miles J. Zaremski: Without Health Care Reform, Catastrophe Awaits


The mid-term elections are over. Boehner will be the Speaker of the House, and McConnell will remain Minority Leader in the Senate. What does this have to do with health care and the current bill signed into law earlier this year by President Obama? For one thing, Boehner calls the legislation a “monstrosity”; McConnell wants it dismantled since it is an intrusion by government into the private lives of all citizens. If either gets his way (and this writer highly doubts it), the citizens of this country will face a catastrophe — our nation will become a land mass comprised of those who cannot maintain their health because they cannot afford to pay for health care. And speaking of intrusions and costs, why don’t these Republican leaders give up their government-sponsored health plans, or have them tell seniors to forgo Medicare, or even instruct our proud men and women in uniform to just forget about their VA healthcare? Get the point?

Health care should be a right for all Americans, as written in previous posts by this author. This is how health care is viewed by many nations outside our borders. But with the likes of Boehner and McConnell steering the Republican juggernaut now, millions more Americans than present will no longer be able to stay healthy, or continue to be sick and ill.

If readers of this post — and preferably all Americans — can appreciate that what we are being “fed” by politicians is motivated by only wishing to defeat the other political party, and not a desire to do what is critically best for us all, then we will have come a long way in our thinking. With health care, the present bill is no doubt a start — just like Medicare was in 1964 (and that is still a work in progress). In fact, all legislation of significance that becomes law is always a work in progress, requiring revision, modification, and tweaking.

The present health bill offers much, some of which have already been implemented. Kids stay on their parents’ policies until age 26; pre-existing conditions become a thing of the past; no caps on annual or life-time benefits; a medical loss-ration (where more premium dollars go to pay for benefits than to line the pockets of insurance executives) that is above 80%; and establishing exchanges to purchase insurance as of 2014.

But this legislation needs to be strengthened by adding a competitive force to those in the private market that offer health care insurance. This force has been termed a public option, or at least an option that is created by seed money from public funds that thereafter becomes self-sustaining without government involvement. After all, competition is what drives value and product; the present health reform measures do not provide for this. Another item that strengthens the health bill is to eliminate the antitrust exemption provided the insurance industry. The House passed such a bill but it languishes in the Senate.

The health reform legislation is far from being perfect, but it is nowhere from being a monstrosity that requires dismantling. If anything, it needs to be beefed up on paying for healthcare for all of us. Without it, a catastrophe of monumental proportions awaits us.

From The Huffington Post