HEALTH CARE REFORM:America's Pre-Existing Condition or …

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 … How Do You Mend a Broken System,

Broken Promises, Broken Hearts?

(Part 5 of Five Parts)

Kimberlee Currans-Leto

UPSTATE ROUNDTABLE

 

 (Troy, New York) There’s something rotten in America.  While other countries provide for their citizens, ours continue to struggle at every turn. 

 

In today’s economy, families are faced with impossible pressures and decisions that carry great impact upon their futures.  Many do not have savings and do not have retirement because they chose to provide for their children.

 

President Obama is taking a great gamble that policymakers will finally see the light.  The numbers do not lie.  This year over 47,000 people in America will die due to lack of health insurance coverage.  This reality many experts attribute to lack of affordable options for families who do not have coverage through their employment or do not qualify for state-funded programs. Today in America over 46,000,000 people lack health insurance coverage. Many of these people agree if there were an affordable option, they would be insured.

 

Who pays for this lack of coverage for the uninsured should they fall ill or become hurt in an accident?  One answer: we all do. 

 

It does not matter which side of the reform one stands for, this issue hurts us all with the rising costs of premiums, co-pays, prescription allotments and limitations on existing coverage. As a result, many struggle to keep coverage.  Insurance companies continue to make money off of everyone while limiting those who can participate by including the pre-existing condition clause. 

 

In many states the insurance company excludes pre-existing conditions up to one year.  This concept, creatively designed by the industry as a loophole of exclusion, symbolizes what is rotten at the core of the industry and it makes health care reform all the more complicated.  How do you remedy a broken system with not just broken promises but a sick way of determining who gets coverage?  The ironic twist is that many families would give up their life savings, the deed to their homes, if it meant they could have affordable, adequate health care coverage for pre-existing conditions like diabetes and asthma.

 

Many families have some form of pre-existing condition that’s not covered.  Many are excluded altogether and have been given no choice but to alter their lifestyles drastically in order to qualify for state-funded programs.  How is this right or moral – to make hardworking people quit their jobs, divorce their spouses so that they can have health insurance?  This shows just how broken the current system has become, representing the blatant manipulation of insurance companies who not only profit but benefit because so many laws allow them to get away with such actions. 

 

The uninsured argument: Many things contribute to Americans taking the risk of living without health insurance and this happens more than people think about.  While many Americans fall into this category without harm to themselves or their families, I believe many do not even fathom the risk they are taking with their lives.  Many people create a gap without knowing otherwise when they discontinue coverage before starting a new policy.  Just that brief period of time can create an inconceivable nightmare, one that can follow a family for years and jeopardize every aspect of their well-being. 

 

For young children like Sheldon Wagner and others like him who fall through the cracks of broken public systems, an overall system defined by hierarchy and wealth; there must be a better way to provide health care for every American equally and fairly.  Part of the issue many conservatives cannot empathize with is the notion of covering pre-existing conditions; they believe it overburdens quality health care by allowing those who are sicker to receive treatments at the same price as those not sick at all.  Furthermore, it is felt from the conservative side that some should suffer as a consequence of their actions.  It seems unfair the only crime is being poor while others have no choice but to lower their standard of living in order to save their families.  It just brings to light how divided this country remains when instead, all Americans should be working together to solve this issue. 

 

What many do not or cannot see is how much this reform will impact other reforms and set into action the foundation needed for America’s rebirth. What the conservatives do not understand from an economic standpoint, someone will be paying for the uninsured and those labelled by pre-existing illness. This may explain the outrageousness of some hospital bills or why a ten-minute consultation costs $250.  Why aren’t people outraged, disgusted at the state of health care in this country?  Why hasn’t a mob scene incurred on Capitol Hill?

 

What we know in our hearts: President Obama is on the path to doing what’s right.  While so many seem trapped by the status quo of thinking: “There is nothing that can be done” to change something so rotten and immoral, he has this country participating in change, in finding our voices.

 

We no longer can ignore that everyday people are suffering while so many of us just blend into the background unable or unwilling to take a stand, not knowing how far our voices will carry an impact.  I will take that stand for people who have not been heard.

 

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