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Health care reform is still needed
June 30, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
I have mixed feelings about the Supreme Court decision this week regarding health care reform.
I am very much in favor of legislation that will make health care available to those who don't have it, at an affordable price. I -- and a number of my relatives -- have a chronic illness that would probably make it harder for me to get insurance in the private market right now and would limit me to working only for large companies with group insurance plans. For that reason, I am completely in favor of an end to the pre-existing condition clause and to the lifetime cap on insurance costs. I will breathe a bit easier come 2014, when insurance companies will no longer be able to deny people coverage because of a previous medical problem. In the last 15 years, even though I have always had health insurance, there have been times I have put off going to the doctor when I needed to because of the high cost. I have told my doctor not to do certain tests that she recommended because I could not afford them. Prices keep going up and doctors don't always have a realistic idea of how much their services actually cost.
I have heard of people going bankrupt due to medical costs and stories about insurance companies that have denied care under ridiculous circumstances. Anyone hear about the child cancer patient whose insurance company wouldn't pay for his artificial leg because it wasn't considered "medically necessary?" We are likely the only western country that allows people to go bankrupt trying to pay their medical bills. I've always considered that barbaric.
On the other hand, I have heard all of the critics, in full cry, and they fear that the new law will result in increased costs, more employers deciding not to offer insurance at all or not to hire new employees, and more doctors who refuse to take Medicare/Medicaid and want cash only payments. People I know who work in the insurance industry are anticipating job cuts. It's also quite possible that the law could mean a decreased quality of care and longer wait times in some instances.
Regardless of the outcome of the November election, it is unthinkable to maintain the status quo when it comes to health insurance. Something has to be done to change the current system, even if the bill does require some changes.
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