Let’s Talk Health and Care

There are a lot of critical issues in America that we, as voters, have to consider. According to polls, Climate Change receives a significant ranking and is the issue that concerns younger Americans the most, but ranks lower as voters get older.

The Economy ranks high with overall voters, but according to one survey the number one concern was Government Leadership. That is a problem germane to all issues and a lot of people see that as the number priority before fixing other things. The trouble is that it isn’t a specific indictment of any party or its leaders; it is dissatisfaction with the whole mess; the Senate, the House, and the White House. Period.

Immigration and Gun Control are high concerns, but, in general, among all polled over two years, Health Care is the number one concern.

(Note: Health care is the care of our health, healthcare is the industry)

Healthcare costs are an economic issue that resonates more than the metrics of stock markets and the GNP. Health care is the economy as witnessed at our kitchen tables. And in my opinion- Health care (and healthcare) has to be our highest priority.

It is the central issue because our health, what we pay, what we fear, and the results we receive are foundational to living. What does it matter that stocks are performing well if medical bills are insurmountable? What does it matter that national production is up if you live in fear of getting ill? How does any other issue stack up compared to cancer, or heart disease, or serious injury?

We MUST fix America’s healthcare system. It is Red Alert! We are way past bandaids to stop the bleeding, we need emergency room attention right now.

I am middle class and patch together a decent living. I also have company healthcare. Even still, I pay close to a grand a month (for 5 people) for healthcare if we DON’T USE IT. I’m 62 and recently had some concerns regarding my heart. A series of doctor visits, prescriptions and tests, were mostly covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but I still have to pay hundreds more to cover what isn’t covered. God forbid if I should need serious attention someday. Even with healthcare coverage, I could go broke.

And God truly forbid if a member of my family should need hospital care.   A good friend of mine has excellent coverage, but a situation in his family is costing them thousands of dollars more a year. There goes the vacation, there goes the new refrigerator, there goes Christmas shopping.  And that is relevant to our national economics. When consumers can’t spend, this whole economic model falls apart (let’s just go back 11 years to remember that).

There are lots of proposals. Those calling for Universal Healthcare (call it Medicare For All, Single Payer, or whatever you’d like) are being branded “socialists” by those who like things they way they were (before ACA). Never mind that the “way things were” are pretty much the “way things are.”

ACA fails, in my opinion, precisely because it doesn’t include everyone. I, for example, and many middle class people like me, make too much to qualify for subsidies, yet not enough to where ACA insurance on the exchange wouldn’t leave me nearly broke. At least in the sense of having any discretionary spending.

The arguments against “socialized medicine” (cue the scary music) have been: “How can we afford that?” and “Why should I pay for someone else?”

Yet, we all seem to accept homeowners insurance which is essentially the same thing. I pay in case my house burns down, but by doing so, am paying in case your house burns down, too, and you (and you and you…) are doing the same. The equation works because we pay a relatively low amount to cover the astronomical cost of rebuilding a home, and to live with that peace of mind

Yes. Nothing is free. Health care is not free in any paradigm. Neither is “free college.” We pay one way or the other. It either comes from taxes we pay or it comes from our pockets; the paradox is how do we pay the least and get the most? Currently, we pay the most for as little as can be doled out, both in terms of college education and health care. But…if we pool our money…okay, let’s call it what it is – a TAX – then what we pay more for in April can be less than we are now paying Wellmark, Unity Point, or to Boise State.

Easier said than done. Getting Americans to change a habit is like changing a flat tire on a moving car. Even progressive action begins with our instinctually conservative approach. So I’d ask you to do the math. This article was to reveal what I pay as one of the lucky ones – I have employer health insurance. I know people paying twice, even three times, as much. And I know people who still fall between the cracks, who can’t get into the insurance system and are TERRIFIED of what can happen. We are not living if we are living in fear.

And that isn’t economically viable, neither at our kitchen table or on Wall Street. Put tribal politics aside and look at your reality. Then look into the policies on all sides. Let’s start talking! The ambulance is on it’s way!

Published by gary1164

I'm an advertising executive and former actor/producer