Thursday, June 28, 2012

Health care for all, or many, sometimes, at a cost

Let’s not pretend this is the bill it could have been, folks.

Without the ‘public option,’ there is a serious question as to whether this bill actually helps some income groups.  And there is nothing in it that prevents an employer like the State of Illinois from increasing healthcare costs as it is currently doing for retirees, for example.  There is nothing in it that fixes the ongoing problems our veterans have in getting the health care they have been promised.
No, this bill could have been a lot better, especially for most low income people.  But it will be better for seniors who got slapped with Part D prescription “doughnut hole” costs (a gap in coverage for seniors under the 2003 mandate signed by Pres. Bush that seniors must buy a prescription plan called Part D).  It will be a lot better for young people under 26 who can now stay on their parents’ health insurance instead of having to buy their own just when they are starting to work as new hires on the low end of the pay scale.  And some others.

It will also be a great big windfall for health insurance companies, in case any of us still like them.  They’re going to rake it in.  So, no matter what anybody says, this ain’t anything like ‘socialism.’

But over the next few months there is going to be a lot of hype about repealing it, and all for the wrong reasons.  We have to resist that, no matter what our party affiliations are.  Instead, we need to call for this bill to be fixed, improved - raise the problems we still have with health care, here in the richest country on earth – the fact that employers like the State of Illinois are cutting their health care costs by shoving costs onto their employees (a pay cut), that many people will struggle to pay for the health care that they will now be required to buy, that health insurance companies are bumping more of the medicines we need into more expensive tiers, raising out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays, refusing to pay legitimate claims, and all the while health insurance and drug companies get research grants and big handouts from the government and make billions in profits.

We’re a long way from where we need to be, folks.  But getting anywhere means we do not want to go backwards.

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