Insurance, for better or worse
Of the 33 developed countries in the world, 32 have some sort of universal health insurance. The U.S. is the exception. If we are truly the greatest countr y on the planet, why are we last to the party on one of the most important issues facing this world, health?
I am one of 50 million Americans without health insurance. All would be able to get coverage under President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act. That is, if it doesn’t get repealed.
I joined the ranks of the uninsured after I was dropped from my father’s health insurance plan because I was over the age of 23. California is one of 13 states that haven’t raised that age limit to 26. “Not to worry,” I thought. “I could get my own.” Wrong!
In November, I received denial letters from Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente, and Cigna and Aetna health insurance companies because of what they termed pre-existing conditions. Each letter cited my prescription for Adderall, among others, as one of the pre-existing conditions. My need for help with ADHD is grounds for denying me coverage? Really?
The truth is that there are far too many Americans with pre-existing conditions denied health insurance, and those are the people who need it the most.
The only way to make sure patients with pre-existing conditions can get their treatments covered is to let Obama’s Healthcare law move forward. Our government showed that they were willing to make the commitment to provide healthcare for all. We need to get behind it.
The Act mandates individuals to purchase health insurance, requires insurance companies to provide coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, limits out of pocket payments and puts a ceiling on exorbitant premium costs that providers charge. It would stop insurance companies from doing things, like the following true story.
Recently, there was a cancer patient in Los Angeles whose coverage was retroactively cancelled because her insurance provider insisted her cancer was pre-existing to her insurance purchase. She was forced to quit her chemotherapy halfway through and left with more than $129,000 in bills. She died several months later, unable to afford treatment. Under the healthcare law, the insurance provider wouldn’t have been able to cancel her. Nobody is saying she would’ve survived, but at least under the law, she would’ve had a fighting chance.
Opponents of the Act argue that the individual mandate overreaches constitutionality, and they are right. But that is only one small portion of the law. Still, Republican politicians are doing their best to fill their constituents’ heads with myths of what horrible things would happen if it goes into effect as planned. Here is a bright idea, let’s compromise and cut that portion, leaving people the freedom to purchase insurance or not and giving those with pre-existing conditions the ability to get the coverage they need.
Honestly, it’s time we take care of our fellow Americans. There is no reason someone shouldn’t have the ability to get insurance if they need it, healthy or not.