According to a new Pew Research study, 56% of the public disapproves of the individual mandate requirement; 41% approve. As three days of arguments wrap up today before the Supreme Court on whether a mandate is constitutional, there are some issues that are not going to go away, regardless of the justices’ final ruling.
- More than 17 percent of Americans— about 50 million people — did not have health insurance in 2011
- Health care costs continue to spin out of control – they represented 17.6 percent of our GDP as of 2009, and are expected to soar as high as 19.1 percent by 2019
- The US is the only industrialized nation that does not provide some type of universal health care to its citizens; although we spend more per capita on health care than other countries, we rank at the bottom in several health performance measures.
- The insurance industry needs to stop denials of coverage and exorbitant rate hikes on those that need help most
- People should not have to declare bankruptcy or lose their homes because of unforeseen, enormous medical expenses
- Health care delivery must shift from a “treatment” mindset to prevention and wellness to cut some costs and improve quality of life
- Individuals must take more personal responsibility for their own well-being — including diet, exercise, and managing chronic conditions like diabetes.
As of today, we don’t know how the nine individuals on the nation’s highest court will rule on the mandate and other aspects of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court decision will shape our history –– we can continue to limp along and provide an expensive, ineffective, sporadic health delivery system that favors the wealthy and privileged, or we can take a stand and tell the world that in the long run, the collective health and well being of our citizens overrides individual preference. It’s been done before.
We don’t tax our citizens at 50 percent or more to cover national health insurance — if we did, imagine the outrage. We still have a free market system in place. Health care is one service that everyone will need at some point in their lives — often unexpectedly. What if you’re the one that has to wait 10 hours to see an emergency room doctor in a county hospital because you just lost your job, and your health coverage? What if your child was sick, but you couldn’t afford to take her to the doctor?
How would you feel if you knew there was a treatment for your cancer but your insurance company refused to pony up?
The Affordable Care Act is not a panacea. It forces us to make some tough choices, and swallow some ideas that maybe we’d rather not think about. On the other hand, it’s a heck of a lot more than we had two years ago — and at least lays some groundwork for “health care for all.” No one should have to go without care.
Just my opinion on a humanist and ethically correct approach.
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