Healthcare has become one of the most important issues facing our society.The American healthcare system is based on the outdated premise that employer provided coverage is the best way to deliver insurance to the masses.Even if one agrees that there was a time that this made sense, the premise no longer works for many Americans.
Employer based insurance creates many problems:
Small businesses often cannot afford to provide health insurance to their employees
This list could go on and on.The employer-based health insurance system has driven the cost of health care and insurance up, decreased the options available to those people who do not have employer provided insurance and forced people into a situation in which they must pay for cookie cutter coverage they may not need.
As the cost of healthcare continues to increase faster than wages, individuals and families face a growing threat to their economic stability.The average family of four spent nearly $1000 / month on the premium for health insurance. (http://www.nchc.org/facts/2007%20updates/cost.pdf)Add to that the employer contribution and the money spent on the co-pays and deductibles and many families spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment every month.
The U.S. government and private sector need to reevaluate healthcare policy and programs and initiate reforms that promote access to private health insurance.
·Healthcare costs should be completely tax deductible, beginning at $1.00
·Moving from an employer-based model to an individual-based healthcare system would ultimately provide better access to health care as it would reintroduce free market principles into the insurance system
·Once a person secures an insurance policy, the insurer should be unable to drop the insured and premium increases should be statutorily limited
oIn essence insurance could be a lifetime purchase if individuals pay premiums continuously
·All people should be required to purchase a minimum level of health insurance to ensure that catastrophic conditions will be covered
oPeople who choose not to purchase insurance should not have the right to receive medical treatment
oBankruptcy protection should be unavailable to those individuals who choose not to purchase health insurance and the primary reason for bankruptcy is to discharge health related bills
·Parents should be required to purchase health insurance for their children. People planning to have children should consider the costs to provide health care for a possible child and if unable to provide insurance for a child should postpone parenting
oLow income individuals should be aware of their insurance options, including Medicaid, and take steps to ensure their eligible children are enrolled
oFailure to ensure children have access to routine medical care should be considered negligent when that failure results in illness that is detrimental to the health of the child
oThose people who choose not to purchase this insurance should be required to use whatever assets they have accrued to pay for the cost of their long term care- including the sale of their possessions and home, following death
Because many Americans and politicians refuse to address some of the real issues in healthcare, we are again faced with the prospect of a national healthcare initiative.A nationalized healthcare program raises many concerns about the future of private healthcare, the potential for rationing of care and patient choice.
The private healthcare system is certainly not perfect but neither is any socialized system that exists in the world.Americans should be very cautious as our political leaders begin to explore a massive increase in the government’s involvement in healthcare.