Everyone participates, everyone pays, everyone benefits – it’s what we need to do as a nation to take responsibility, to guarantee pre-paid access to basic care, and to remove financial anxiety/ruin from the healthcare equation. Personal finances should no more figure into health than wealth should be a factor in access to clean air or water or liberty…
I’d like to invest a little time today to make the case (again, I have written about this before) for a universal, mandatory participation, government-backed, locally accessible, national health insurance program.
One of my primary arguments is that simply not having to worry about the cost of healthcare comes with remarkable long-term health benefits. Notice I didn’t say “no cost” but “not worrying about the cost.”
I believe this is the right direction for our nation for several reasons. I know first hand the minefield of health benefits as a moving target, forcing people to choose from a buffet, adding the pressure of uncertainty to an already unreasonable burden. As costs skyrocket so does the level of angst, likewise the number of people dropping coverage and the fallout in terms of more uncertainty. Should all price hikes be absorbed by the employer? How fair is a multi-tiered system? Not to mention the fact that most increases put a disproportional burden on those with less salary to begin with….
Sick or hospitalized patients who worry about their ability to pay are negatively impacted in terms of recovery. That kind of anxiety surrounding health is just not right. Simply put, recovery (and wellness in general) is compromised by the unreasonable stress of unaffordable care.
We value the wrong things!
You see, I believe we over-value things like money and material possessions here in the USA and we undervalue benefits such as peace of mind, security, and freedom from unnecessary anxiety. Besides, the impact of reduced stress on productivity alone would likely tip the scales in favor of profitability.
In a fair system, everyone pays – absolutely everyone – without exception. Obviously, it would be a sliding scale, but even the lowest paid must contribute something so they are legitimate participants, even unemployment checks and welfare dollars would be subject to a health assessment. One hundred percent participation must be the foundation if we are to spread the risk evenly among all people.
Not a punitive, “you have to buy our insurance or you’ll be fined…” but, “you are enrolled because you exist; your contribution comes out of your check before you see it.”
Shared risk amounts to more confidence and better coverage when it comes to access to benefits. Most importantly, peace of mind and wellness of being come as powerful side-effects.
Public Health Crisis:
Here’s the bottom line: Escalating health costs, along with crippling insurance rate hikes, amount to a public health crisis.
The stress associated with the cost of health insurance and the unreasonable cost of access to care is a public health crisis!
People are stressed, businesses are unable to keep up, millions elect to forego medical care when it is needed the most. This is not only wrong but it is preventable!
We must reexamine what we value and begin to make decisions based on a more holistic understanding of “Quality of Life.”
Like I said, this is a crisis. And the casualties are mounting into the tens of millions – DEREK