Friday, September 24, 2010

Health Care Changes

Yesterday a number of provisions of the new health care legislation went into effect. As with any highly charged political issue, folks are making a lot of noise over it. The legislation isn't perfect, but I have a real problem with those who want to repeal it altogether, because one of the provisions that just went into effect prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions.

If the legislation is completely repealed, this is one of the people who would be hurt:

Her name is Becca Hill, and she's the smallest premie ever to survive in the state of Tennessee. Her parents (whose permission I received to post this) are dear friends of my family and I. My daughter, Kate, and Becca enjoy playing together and share a love of Elmo. Becca is now two years old, and while she still has a laundry list of medical issues, she's a walking, talking miracle. 

As of yesterday, health insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny her coverage based on pre-existing conditions. This walking, talking miracle is a walking, talking pre-existing condition. She's already exceeded half of the lifetime caps mandated by most insurance companies, so those who say we should completely repeal the health care legislation are effectively saying that it should be OK to deny Becca the care she needs. Whether or not these people realize that's what they're saying, I can't accept their argument.

You can follow the progress of this miracle baby on her mom's blog.

I think there should be ongoing discussion about amending the legislation. But it seems that fear rather than reason or compassion is dominating the political discourse. It's easy to forget that real people are being helped by these changes, and going back to square one would bring great harm to people who are already among the most vulnerable among us.

Perhaps we should think about how these real people are affected by our political actions instead of comparing anyone we don't like to deceased German dictators.


SpeasHill said...

" But it seems that fear rather than reason or compassion is dominating the political discourse. "

So true! Thanks for writing on such an important issue!

Anonymous said...

Dead German dictators, no.

Dead German political/economic philosophers, maybe.

Reason and compassion? Pick one.

A health insurance company is a large, legal bookmaking operation: it earns its money by betting that its customers will not get sick. If it wins that bet, it keeps the customers' premiums and invests them to make more money; if it loses that bet, it pays the customers' health care costs up to whatever policy limits the customers were willing to pay for.

Forcing health insurers to accept all customers and to ignore pre-existing conditions is exactly like forcing people at the race track to bet on every horse in the race, including the one that broke its leg in the previous race. In the short run, it may look all warm and fuzzy and compassionate; in the long run, it simply will not work unless the insurance company is allowed to print its own money.

Emily. :) said...

My mom and I were talking about this, and we think that everyone is looking at the wrong side of the equation.

People are fighting over, basically, who should be obliged to pay for all of the healthcare bills, instead of looking at a different question: How can we lower the price of that healthcare to make ALL of the businesses run more effectively?

When Mom was pregnant with Justin in Germany, she had an ultrasound at every visit, and she figured out why the Army was willing to pay for it: it was cheaper to have an ultrasound in Germany because the doctor owned the ultrasound machine, knew how to take ultrasounds, and knew how to read them. Whereas, in the States, the doctor would say "You need an ultrasound" and send you to an ultrasound technician who would give you the ultrasound, who would send off the ultrasound to someone who could read the ultrasound, who would interpret it and send it back to the doctor.

Nancy, I'm sure you're familiar with the hospital run around.

So there were all of these people that it took to do this ONE job, and all of those people had to have salaries, and benefits, and special insurance so they wouldn't get sued, and offices which all needed lighting and water and their own supplies of ________.

All of these costs are piling up. Maybe, those costs wouldn't have reached $1 million+ for Big Girl Becca (who was totally worth every penny), if there had been some thorough cost cuts.

Anonymous said...

Rejection of the current administration's nationalization of health care in the United States is not a failure of compassion, it is a refusal to embrace his socialist agenda. A broad majority of Americans opposed that action. In a few days America will speak to that matter through the ballot box. Every indication is that America will hold accountable those who so thoughtlessly acted to try to force this nation to adopt a failed european model of socialized medicine. The next Congress will have the opportunity to eliminate this abuse of authority and to act in accordance with the wishes of the voters rather than simply serving the political interest of the administration.

Anonymous said...

Socialism is always bad. So let's close down our public school system. Parents without money to pay for tuition can homeschool their kids or put them on the job market. They might as well be bringing money to save for a rainy day. Because we'll also be doing away with unemployment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Why should I have to pay taxes in order to pay for public libraries, national parks, police departments, and courts which can then be used by people who paid no taxes for them? This is socialism, which is always wrong. We need to either get rid of all these things or go to a pay-per-use system.

It's also unfair that hospitals have to treat the uninsured in their ER regardless of ability to pay. Who pays for this? We do! The hospital has to bring in enough money to survive, so of course it has to raise prices for its paying customers to cover the cost for those who cannot pay.

I simply cannot see why we can't be more like India, Africa, and the rest of the third world. Poor people die there; why shouldn't they die here?

They already do.

Anonymous said...

Odd. To speak against the socialization of healthcare in the United States now expands to chasing rabbits. It is so difficult to stay on topic. But of course if one cannot well defend a broadly unpopular unconstitutional seizing of power, then one must try to turn the discussion to something else. And of course in the absence of facts, emotion has its appeal.

Old europe has struggled long enough with socialism to now be confronted with the impending implosion of a grand ponzi scheme that at current levels is simply not sustainable. It makes no sense to repeat that failed experiment and expect any different result. The fast approaching train wreck of of Social Security and Medicare is an apt demonstration that failure is built into every something for nothing (ponzi) scheme, whether done on wall street or washington.

Americans broadly support legitimate, appropriate public services. America does not support an unconstitutional expansion of federal power by which individual citizens are compelled to purchase what they may or may not want and then punished if they fail to stand up, salute and do as they are told. Given the tax burden comprised by local, state and federal government, the majority of tax paying Americans have reached the point that they simply refuse to continue to open their wallet and give more money for more government that they do not want and do not need. And they have reached the point where they refuse to use borrowed money to finance a unsupportable lifestyle with the bill left for their children and grandchildren to pay. Americans agree that our nation needs good healthcare. Due to its failure of integrity and transparency, a majority of Americans do not trust the current administration in that matter. A broad majority of Americans do not want the scheme hatched by the current administration to nationalize healthcare in the United States.