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Health Care Reform & Obamacare, Are You Ready
Healthcare Reform Now What Happens?
Well the deed is done. Healthcare Reform has been passed and the United States has joined the ranks of most other developed countries in providing healthcare to it citizens......finally. What it will mean to the average citizen and how the reforms will be implemented in the coming months and years are not yet clear. Only the passage of time will allow us to determine the success or failure of the new reforms. It will certainly change the delivery of healthcare in this country and all Americans will be affected. Many of the details of the new reform package are still unknown but there is enough information out there to allow us to take a closer look at what may lie ahead.
Free Healthcare!! At the office this morning there were people celebrating the passage of the healthcare reform bill. They were giddy with excitement at the prospect of getting free healthcare from the government. I hated to ruin their moment but.....
There is NO free healthcare in the bill that was just passed. All Americans will be required to purchase a health care plan from an insurance company. Failure to do so may cause you to incur a hefty fine imposed and collected by the IRS. In case you hadn't heard the IRS will oversee the regulations requiring you to purchase health insurance...nice touch don't you think?. While Canada, England and many European countries were held up as an example of what type of healthcare system Americans should strive for we didn't end up with anything that could compare with those countries.
Most of the western countries , including Canada and England , have a government funded healthcare system. There are little or no up front costs to citizens of those countries when they seek healthcare. They go to their doctor, have tests, visit hospitals and even have operations and there is no "bill" to pay after the visit or procedure is over and no monthly insurance premiums. Most of the western democracies have a form of "free" healthcare. We, on the other hand, do not.
One of our stated goals was to find a way that would allow the thirty million Americans who had no healthcare insurance to access affordable healthcare. Did we succeed? Only time will tell but there are indicators and examples ,right here in the US , that can help us better understand where we are headed.
If you want to know what the possible outcome of healthcare reform looks like take a look at Massachusetts. They have had a health care system, very similiar to the reform package just passed in Washington, in place for nearly five years now. Do your homework and look at their results. If you are not aware or informed on the Massachusetts healthcare system...you need to be.
If you really want to understand what is good and bad about the healthcare package you will need to do the following. First forget politics, political arguments and politicans. They do not have you or your family's best interest at heart....you do!. Look at this issue with your family and yourself as the focus. Decide for yourself what your healthcare needs are and make informed decisions. Study the issues and do your homework. There is a lot riding on this...you need to be, and stay, informed. It is always imporant to remember that whatever politicans give they can also take away. You need to be in charge of your own healthcare decisions.
Five years ago Massachusetts decided that all of it's citizens should have healthcare and they came up with a plan to deliver it to them. The Obama plan is a near mirror image of the Massachusetts healthcare system. There are differences but the essentials are close enough to give us solid indicators. First the costs to the state were grossly underestimated. As usual the government of the day put the best face on the cost estimates and they were not even close. Health care cost were predicted to go down for all the people but that is not what happened. Costs went through the roof. The state has four insurance companies providing insurance to all it's citizens. There was not enough competition and the costs did not fall as predicted. The people, many who had healthcare for the first time, overwhelmed the system.Massachusetts has the worst wait times to see a doctor. While the average wait times for the country is 17 days in Massachusetts the average wait time is 42 days. There are not enough doctors, nurses, hospital beds or equipment. Rationing, of healthcare, does take place not by choice but by necessity. .The cost of healthcare for the state is approaching, depending on whose numbers you believe 40-% of the total state budget. If not for cash infusions from Washington over the last few years the state of Massachusetts would be bankrupt and in the same condition as California is now. There appears to be, at this time, no practical or acceptable was to control the healthcare costs and the future of the Massachusetts healthcare system is at stake.. Is this the fate of President Obama's national healtcare reform? We don't know....yet but one thing is clear allowing politicians,of any stripe, to control the healthcare future of the country is flirting with disaster..
We must take control of our own healthcare. The medical profession while at the forefront in the delivery of healthcare should also, along with their patients, control the healthcare management system. Funding must be allocated and controlled at the state level. The citizens need to be involved. If we drop the ball on this the politicans ,on both sides , will continue to use healthcare as a political tool to be used as they see fit. Don't allow them to exert any kind of overt control on your healthcare. Hold them accountable for their actions and maybe, just maybe, we can develop a healthcare system that might actually work for all of us!
In part 2 we will take a look at the "free" healthcare systems of Canada and England. We really need to be aware of the difference.