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Healthcare: A Real Dilemma for Americans

Healthcare: A Real Dilemma for Americans

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Published by Shirley
Written Winter 09
Written Winter 09

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Published by: Shirley on Mar 09, 2009
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06/17/2009

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Shirley OrtegaChad Helder English 101 HOLFebruary 19, 2009Healthcare: A Real Dilemma for Americans No American should suffer the consequences of being without health insurance. Every person in America must have affordable access to health care coverage, regardless of their age or their preexisting conditions. A system that was born in the first depression era of 1930’s, is longoverdue for some major changes. The greed and politics of the healthcare companies, includingthe pharmaceutical industry, have made it impossible for the average American to seek coverageand continue their treatment as prescribed.Low income families may qualify for a state funded insurance that pays for doctor visits,labs, x-rays, hospitalization, and other general healthcare. However, once you make over acertain amount of money you lose these benefits and are required to pay for your own privatehealth care coverage. Private insurance policies may have a low monthly premium but chargehigher co-pays when you get to the doctors office. Also, most of these policies only cover a verysmall portion of laboratory visits and x-rays. Patients are responsible for these added expenses,on top of their monthly premium. Majority of insurance companies will not cover any procedurethat is deemed experimental or cosmetic. The worst part about these insurance companies is their application process, often requiring a scrutinizing health exam. If you have any type of pre-existing condition they will deny your application or put you on probation period for 6 months or longer. Elderly citizens and other patients with lots of medical history are most affected by this.If they are in need of care now, they must wait until the probation period is over or choose to payfor doctor services themselves.
 
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Some employers offer medical coverage to their employers at a group discounted rate.These companies are not legally required to do so; however, it is a great incentive for employees.These policies tend to cover a greater percentage of medical procedures, such as labs or x-rays.These companies may also have a policy for pre-existing conditions. Now let’s talk about the people who don’t have an employer to offer them medical benefits and cannot find a privateinsurance policy; they are responsible for all medical bills incurred. In an article published in theBusiness Wire an anonymous writer reports, “Despite unprecedented economic challenges and adramatic shift in political power, a new survey by Hewitt Associates, a global human resourcesconsulting and outsourcing company, reveals that while cost containment remains a priority,most large U.S. employers are continuing to make significant long-term investments in solutionsand programs aimed at improving the health and productivity of their workforce. However, thechanging political landscape--coupled with ongoing cost pressures--has prompted manycompanies to seriously consider their future role as a health care benefits provider” (2). Thesecompanies are tremendously affected by the downward spiral in these tough economic times, it’sgoing to be very hard for these companies to supply their employees with cost effective, qualityhealth insurance. This is only one reason why it is time for our government to intervene and become the sole administrator of healthcare.On average, a 15 minute doctor appointment costs anywhere from $100-$200, visits to aspecialist doctor will cost substantially more. Then if medication is prescribed, you can expectthat total to double; the pharmaceutical companies have inflated their prices to unforeseeableamounts. This leaves patients with just one choice, health or bills. A large majority of American’swill put off their health problems until they must go to the emergency room. Most of those people will never be able to pay this phenomenal medical bill. In an article from The AtlantaJournal-Constitution, “Forty-seven percent of Americans report a family member has sacrificed
 
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medical care because of the cost, according to a recent poll by Kaiser Foundation. More than athird say a family member delayed care, and 30 percent say someone skipped a recommendedtest or treatment” (Conwell). It is wrong for people to delay their care; but for American toreceive care it has to be adequately provided to them. People with terminal illnesses and aredenied healthcare will be left with thousands of dollars in debt. How is an unhealthy patientgoing to work and pay of the debt? Answer: they can’t. Editor for The American Prospect, EzraKlein acknowledges, “[This] is a problem, as higher out-of-pocket costs mean more of us goingwithout prescriptions, which means less maintenance of conditions and, thus, more cost whenour chronic illnesses balloon into catastrophic health events.” This idea alone should scare our government into action. I believe one of the problems is that our elected officials, with their higher salaries, receive quality healthcare and do not feel the effects of this broken system. Our country must begin to take better care of every single one of our citizens and stop worrying about problems in other countries or whether or not abortion should be legal. Let’s make it a priorityand guarantee health care for every single American. We deserve to be healthy; it will only bringgood things to our country.I find it ironic, that when the health insurance pay-as-you-go policies began back in the1930’s we were in an economic depression. Now here we are in 2009, nearly eight decades later,and we are facing the same economic dilemmas. Hospitals were hit hard in the 1930’s by the lack of patients who were unable to pay for their medical care. A plan was implemented so that every person within a certain geographical region would each pay the same monthly premium. Withthis things got better for Americans in need of health care. However, during the 1970’s thenumber of uninsured citizens began to increase once again; this number has been increasing ever since then. So many patients lacking medical insurance are living with hundreds or thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. Hospitals are forced to sell their unpaid debts to collection

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