By: YNWA (moderator)
Americans desire affordable health care, and a fiscally responsible and sustainable solution is preferred.
Let’s be honest, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is, depending on your views, either a step forward or sideways for affordable health care, but it is not a solution. Obamacare is limited in its scope and ability to lower health care costs. While Obamacare reduces health care costs for some individuals, in many cases it increases the cost of health care (i.e. younger or healthier individuals).
Obamacare is mandatory health insurance coverage, not necessarily the same as affordable health care. As such, there are legitimate reasons to praise and criticize Obamacare.
“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” –POTUS
Health care is complicated, expensive and divisive, so much so that it’s uncertain a solution, acceptable to a substantial majority of Americans, currently exists. A deliberate process is needed to responsibly identify, debate and resolve issues, with public input, to formulate a popular solution.
Other countries have health care systems that cover more people and are more affordable than our current system. We can learn from them. However, every health care system has its pros and cons, winners and losers. Choosing winners and losers will be contentious and literally involve life or death decisions. We need to make our own choices, reflecting our values and popular support, rather than import choices made by other cultures. Substantial, majority support by American voters is preferable to special interest lobbying, which will be fierce and extraordinarily well funded.
See, e.g., Michael Corcoran, “The Battles Ahead: Meet the Biggest Opponents of Single-Payer,” http://billmoyers.com/story/battles-ahead-opponents-single-payer/
Politicians need to hear from their constituents. Grassroots activism worked to force public input on recent, proposed health care legislation. Your votes hopefully can shape the discussion and outcome on affordable, fiscally responsible and sustainable health care.
Illness is not equal. Health care is not affordable for the ill.
- The healthiest 50% of the U.S. population incurs an estimated 3% of total health care expenses.
- 25% of total health care expenses are incurred during the last 30 days of an individual’s life.
- 20% of the population incurs 80% of the total health care costs.
- Pre-existing conditions affecting health are prevalent, approximately 51% of non-elderly people.
The inequality of illness and its costs is a fundamental issue to be olved to achieve affordable health care. But there are other issues affecting the high costs of health care.
A comprehensive evaluation of all issues affecting health care costs is more likely to achieve reasonable cost savings rather than simply shifting costs from one person to another person, or from one generation to another generation.
Obamacare shifts the costs of unhealthy people to healthy people, and from older people to younger people. Reasonable people can disagree as to the fairness of shifting costs in that manner. There are alternative ways in which the disproportionate costs of illness could be funded to make health care affordable for unhealthy and healthy Americans.
Note: our social security system requires younger generations of workers to pay benefits being provided by older generations of retirees, with the expectation that the benefits to be provided to younger generations of workers will be funded by still younger or unborn generations of workers. Our social security system is underfunded by $12.5 trillion dollars over the next 75 years unless benefits are reduced or other changes are made. It’s a legitimate issue whether Obamacare is the same, politically expedient mistake.
Pick the statement closest to your own views for affordable health care:
- Repeal Obamacare, no replacement. Let the free market determine what health care coverage is available and the cost of such coverage.
- Fix and improve Obamacare, and nothing more. Health care insurance is regulated to ensure essential services are covered and the disproportionate impact of high medical costs (e.g. pre-existing conditions and terminally ill patients) are spread in an equitable manner (not necessarily the current manner).
- Medicare for all. Universal health care coverage through a federally funded, single payer system, with ongoing improvements to reduce costs and increase quality. Private health insurance and health care providers remain available as alternatives for people seeking health care at a higher cost (presumably under a belief it’s better health care).
- Public health care services that are community-established and federally funded. Public health care is made available as an option to unregulated private health insurance. Communities may choose to establish their own facilities or contract for services with private health care facilities. Private health insurance and private health care providers remain available.