What we want is a healthy discourse over our national health care system, which is broken, out-moded, less than efficient, and drastically in need of repair. Why?
Countrywide, there are 47 million people without insurance. When they get sick, there’s no care. They go to the emergency room, which amounts to uncompensated care ultimately paid for by citizens
Every day, 14,000 people lose their health insurance because they can't meet the premium. Annually, there’s a seven to ten-percent increase in insurance premiums with such payments projected to double in nine years. Ditto for small businesses premiums.
Currently, there’s three House health reform bills on the table and the Senate Finance Committee is still working on their own version. Eventually, a House-Senate committee will forge a final version to be sent to the White House for approval.
While tackling such a big challenge, there should be no place for scare tactics, rumor-mongering, gross distortion, or out-and-out falsification of the issues. Case in point: the accusation that the congressional bills will deny treatment to seniors. Ex-governor Sarah Palin’s perpetuation of the “death panel” charge and signs at town halls that read “Obamacare: Grandma must die! Grandpa too!” are just a couple of examples.
Even the 40-million member senior advocacy group AARP admitted talk of death panels was rumor. Simply put, the House bill would cover people for consultation if they choose to talk with doctors about their options about terminal illness treatment, end-of-life issues, hospice, or other care.
The concept of a public or government insurance option also raises opposition. As devised, the public option would follow all the private company rules and be self-sustaining. Proponents say it will enhance choice and competition thereby driving down costs and improving quality
Opponents quickly embraced the term “socialized medicine.” Not at all, respond proponents. Those with Medicare stay with Medicare. If you like your present insurance company and doctors, you stay with them. But, there is a mandate that everyone have insurance, and that you cannot be excluded for coverage for pre-existing conditions or terminated by reaching your lifetime benefit limit or phased out by exorbitant rates.
Under the bills, you’re offered via a health care exchange the best company, plan, and care at affordable rates for your needs. And, for the poor, there’s subsidies.
Let’s have reasonable discussion and positive suggestions and options on such an important national issue.
Richard Bocklett is a resident of Ridgewood.