Saturday, July 9, 2016

How Health Care Insurance Divides Us

Donald Trump's health care "plan" would throw 18 million people out of their health care insurance coverage if implemented, and dumb down the coverage for many other people who didn't have their health care coverage through an employer sponsored plan.  That would be a shocking step backward for this richest nation in the history of the world.

As a person who was thrown out of a plan (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) myself in 1990 when I was in law school, because I had two sickly babies at the time (one had infant asthma and the other had constant chronic ear infections), plus a wife who was using covered mental health care treatment, I can tell you from bitter personal experience how devastating it is to lose coverage when you most need it. To listen to one baby rasp and cough all night, and another cry and claw at his ears all night, because I couldn't afford costly medication for them, tore my heart up.

Thank goodness a whole generation later the nation took the step to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) to get millions more covered even if they don't have jobs or have pre-existing conditions.  But there are bitter opposing points of view also, as pithily expressed by a relative of mine who finds me an appalling liberal.  Here's his view, in his own words. 

What about us people making 20k a year paying 300 bucks a month with 12k deductibles? Haven't been to the Dr in 4 years but yet I am forced by law to buy a plan that doesn't help me or my wife. I have a college degree and 4 years experience in my field and still am not offered insurance (nor have I ever) even though I work 50 hours + a week. This is the work of the "Affordable Care Act" that your liberal prince forced through. 

My insurance used to be $120 a month with $1000 deductible. We are far from there, and my situation is much tougher than yours. Please save your tears and bleeding liberal heart rants especially since you voted for me to be placed in this situation. 

I'm actually a supporter of single payor coverage for all, along the lines of what Bernie proposes. I feel for the young man who expressed his view so eloquently in the two paragraphs above; the ACA has its significant flaws and persons in his situation demonstrate them well, but I consider it a first step to universal coverage. 

Another relative spoke up on the perniciousness of our current health care system.  In her own words in the paragraph below, she expressed support for our opposing points of view but common problem--cost of provision of care.  Why doesn't close to one hundred cents on the dollar go to providing care for the ailing?

I hear you both! Since we are finger pointing, I will point my finger at United Health. The conglomerate insurance company, which also controls many clinics in my area is a prime example of conflict of interest. their so called insurance, which is primarily catastrophic insurance as it has a $6,500 deducible in network or $13,000 out of network, and we are paying $1,200 a month for this. We are supposed to get one preventative care visit annually, but when you see the doctor, he will say, this is a treatment visit, so it isn't covered. The whole thing is a racket.

The real villains here aren't liberals or conservatives but the greedy, for profit rapacious health insurance industry, the very types that threw me out of my existing plan back when I was a student and had three babies (2 needing care) and a wife undergoing covered treatment. That isn't a bleeding heart sentiment, it happened to me and I watched my babies suffer for it as we bought the care we could at full price and did without for what we couldn't pay for.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield turned in a list of the top 20% users of the plan the prior year to the group I was covered under (a Farmers Coop) and we were all discharged from the group and our coverage lapsed immediately (and we'd just met that year's deductibles!). Bastards.  I'll never forget those months of desperation seeking treatment for my sickly babies before after graduation I caught on with the federal government, a single payor offering a multitude of excellent plans to its employees that dispensed with pre-existing conditions even back then.  

The health insurance industry, which stands between us and our health care as it pursues profits, is what divides us all.

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