Happy New Year
My 2020 Hopes and Wishes:
Be less divisive, engage in more dialog with others;
Engage in more social activism i.e., fight poverty and homelessness, support human rights;
Think more for yourself and strive for self-growth;
Rise against Judeo-Christian chauvinism, male chauvinism, sexism, racism, etc.
Support governments that:
Tackle the climate crisis in a real way, no lip service;
Pass comprehensive gun laws that make us safer;
Implement healthcare systems that protect everyone, especially from catastrophic illnesses;
Have flourishing democracies, i.e., primarily those that listen to their citizens.
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I would like to weigh in with my two cents on this very important issue. I want to first state that I believe everyone has the right to healthcare coverage. And, I also believe we all must support one another in times of need. Obviously, providing healthcare coverage is one of those instances when we need to be there for each other. With this said let me dive into this healthcare debate.
The debate is about what is the best approach to providing healthcare coverage. Some of the questions being addressed are, how many Americans can a healthcare system cover? Should a healthcare system include a private option? What is the cost? This debate is framed as a choice, i.e., selecting private plans or public plans; staying the course or reforming the current Affordable Car Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare; etc. The debate’s primary focus is on costs for the various reforms/ plans. The way I see it, the debaters are saying they are seeking the best plan to protect Americans, but really, they are looking for the least costly solution possible while keeping insurance companies viable. When you look under the covers of the public plans being proposed private insurance companies will still have a role to play. For example, “Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, would offer a Medicare-like public plan for sale alongside private plans on the insurance exchanges now available under the Affordable Care Act. These buy-in reforms would minimize the need for new taxes, since most enrollees would be charged premiums. But tens of millions would remain uninsured or with coverage so skimpy, they still couldn’t afford care. “1
Many of my blog references below focus on various options and reforms that are being considered by our politicians. I invite you to review that information. There is a lot of detail. The common thread, the primary focus, through all these options and reforms is cost to implement healthcare. Secondarily these references present the impact to those that would or wouldn’t be insured. I think this is the wrong approach to an honest healthcare debate. The debate must first and foremost address providing healthcare coverage to everyone. As I’ve already stated healthcare should be a right. Healthy Americans, stress free Americans will strengthen our country. All of us will be more productive and freer. We would no longer need to worry about how to pay for our health issues. Instead we could focus our attention on improving our spiritual, emotional and financial wellbeing. All the discussions our politicians are engaging in about the pros and cons of one option over another just confuses everyone and keeps the status quo. It doesn’t help to advance health and wellbeing. It is not a healthcare debate! Politicians presenting a dizzying array of healthcare options including improvements to the ACA along with taxpayer costs isn’t helpful. We need to ask ourselves are these politicians looking out for us, or the healthcare industry as a whole?
To advance this healthcare debate in a more productive way our politicians need to focus on the positive aspects of a healthcare system. One that puts patient care first, not costs. There are many intelligent people in our country that can work out the details on how to implement a healthcare system that covers everyone. Endlessly debating these details merely confuses the issue and keeps existing practices in place. I am certain when we are confronted with the option of being healthy or sick no one is going to ask what is it going to cost me. The immediate preference is to be healthy. Why then, as a nation, must we debate this same choice by adding a cost factor.
1.The ‘Public Option’ on Health Care Is a Poison Pill https://www.thenation.com/article/insurance-health-care-medicare/ By David U. Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler October, 2019.
2. Comparing Health Insurance Reform Options: From “Building on ACA” to Single Payer https://www.commonwealthfund.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/Blumberg_comparing_reform_options_building_ACA_single_payer_db.pdf by Linda J. Blumberg, John Holahan, Matthew Buettgens, Anuj Gangopadhyaya, Bowen Garrett, Adele Shartzer, Michael Simpson, Robin Wang, Melissa M. Favreault, and Diane Arnos. October, 2019
3. From Incremental to Comprehensive Health Reform: How Various Reform Options Compare in Coverage and Costs https://www.urban.org/research/publication/incremental-comprehensive-health-reform-how-various-reform-options-compare-coverage-and-costs by Linda J. Blumberg, John Holahan, Matthew Buettgens, Anuj Gangopadhyaya, Bowen Garrett, Adele Shartzer, Michael Simpson, Robin Wang, Melissa M. Favreault, and Diane Arnos. October, 2019
4. Public Option Health Insurance Pros and Cons https://www.verywellhealth.com/public-option-health-insurance-pros-and-cons-2615248 by Trisha Torrey July 16 2019
5. The Case for the Public Option over Medicare for All https://hbr.org/2019/10/the-case-for-the-public-option-over-medicare-for-all by Regina Herzlinger and Richard Boxer October 10, 2019
6. The Difference Between a ‘public Option’ and ‘Medicare for All’? Let’s define Our Terms https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/upshot/medicare-for-all-health-terms-sanders.html by Margot Sanger-Katz February 19, 2019
7. Roadmaps for Democratic and Republican Health Reform Platforms for 2020 https://tcf.org/content/commentary/roadmaps-democratic-republican-health-reform-platforms-2020/?agreed=1 by Jeanne Lambrew, contributorNovember 16 2019
8. Single-payer vs. public option: Comparing cost, coverage https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/single-payer-vs-public-option-comparing-cost-coverage.html by Emily Rappleye October 21, 2019
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