Black People : Health Care

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by LindaChavis, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. LindaChavis

    LindaChavis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This article will help you discuss why we need health care reform

    You Do Not Have Health Care.

    Wednesday 05 August 2009

    by: James Kwak | Visit article original @ The Baseline Scenario


    Right now, it appears that the biggest barrier to health care reform is people who think that it will hurt them. According to a New York Times poll, "69 percent of respondents in the poll said they were concerned that the quality of their own care would decline if the government created a program that covers everyone." Since most Americans currently have health insurance, they see reform as a poverty program - something that helps poor people and hurts them. If that's what you think, then this post is for you.

    You do not have health insurance. Let me repeat that. You do not have health insurance. (Unless you are over 65, in which case you do have health insurance. I'll come back to that later.)

    The point of insurance is to protect you against unlikely but damaging events. You are generally happy to pay premiums in all the years that nothing goes wrong (your house doesn't burn down), because in exchange your insurer promises to be there in the one year that things do go wrong (your house burns down). That's why, when shopping for insurance, you are supposed to look for a company that is financially sound - so they will be there when you need them.

    If, like most people, your health coverage is through your employer or your spouse's employer, that is not what you have. At some point in the future, you will get sick and need expensive health care. What are some of the things that could happen between now and then?

    Your company could drop its health plan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (see Table HIA-1), the percentage of the population covered by employer-based health insurance has fallen every year since 2000, from 64.2% to 59.3%. *
    You could lose your job. I don't think I need to tell anyone what the unemployment rate is these days.**
    You could voluntarily leave your job, for example because you have to move to take care of an elderly relative.
    You could get divorced from the spouse you depend on for health coverage.
    For all of these reasons, you can't count on your health insurer being there when you need it. That's not insurance; that's employer-subsidized health care for the duration of your employment.

    Once you lose your employer-based coverage, for whatever reason, you're in the individual market, where, you may be surprised to find, you have no right to affordable health insurance. An insurer can refuse to insure you or can charge you a premium you can't afford because of your medical history. That's the way a free market works: an insurer would be crazy to charge you less than the expected cost of your medical care (unless they can make it up on their healthy customers, which they can't in the individual market).

    In honor of the financial crisis, let's also point out that all of these risks are correlated: being sick increases your chances of losing your job (and, probably, getting divorced); losing your job reduces your ability to afford health insurance, either through COBRA or in the individual market; if your employer drops its health plan, that's either because health care is getting more expensive (meaning harder for you to afford individually) or the economy is in bad shape (making it harder for you to get a job that does offer health coverage).

    In addition, there is the problem that even if you are nominally covered when you do get sick, your insurer could rescind your policy, or you may find out, as Karen Tumulty's brother did, that your insurance doesn't cover the treatment you need. But while important, this is a second-order problem. The first-order problem is that as long as your health insurance depends on your job, your health is only insured insofar as your job is insured - and your job isn't insured.

    The basic solution is very simple. In Paul Krugman's words: "regulation of insurers, so that they can't cherry-pick only the healthy, and subsidies, so that all Americans can afford insurance." I know that there are lots of details that consume people who know health care better than I do, and I know those details are important. But as an individual who is worried about his or her own health insurance (and that is the point of this post), that's what you want. You want to know that if you lose your job, you won't be shut out because you're too sick,*** and you won't be shut out because you're too poor.

    But we won't get there as long as people remain convinced that health care reform is for poor people. It's for everyone - everyone, that is, who isn't independently wealthy or over the age of 65. Because all of us could lose our jobs. (Have I repeated that point enough?)

    Now, I admit that if you are over 65, health care reform is not for you, because you are in the one group in our society that enjoys true health insurance - insurance that you cannot lose, that is paid for by taxes, and that is effectively guaranteed by the government. So maybe there's nothing in it for you, except perhaps an improvement to the prescription drug component of Medicare. But I cannot believe that, as the only people who have reliable health insurance, you would oppose health care reform that would provide reliable insurance for the rest of us.

    * This doesn't necessarily mean that all those people lost employer-based health coverage because their employers dropped their plans; some of it could be that the employee contributions were increased to the point where they couldn't afford it anymore. 1.1 percentage points of the shift is due to people becoming eligible for Medicare or military health plans.

    ** If you lose your job, or you get divorced from a spouse through whom you get health coverage, you are eligible for continued coverage under COBRA. However: (a) this only necessarily applies if your employer has 20 or more employees; (b) you have to pay the full, unsubsidized cost of your health plan, which can be particularly difficult after losing your job; and (c) it only lasts for eighteen months.

    *** I said earlier that insurers can't charge premiums that are less than the expected cost of your care unless they can make it up on the healthy customers, and they can't in the individual market. But if all insurers are prohibited from doing medical underwriting (pricing based on healthiness), then they will all have to overcharge the healthy customers, and the system could work. This is still a tricky issue - and single-payer (like Medicare) would be much simpler - but it can be made to work even in a competitive market.

    Update: A couple of small things. and one big thing:

    First, I called rescission a "second-order" problem, which was probably surprising, given that my post on it got over 100,000 page views (thanks to the Huffington Post). I meant "second-order" not to mean that it isn't important, but that it is logically subsequent to the question of whether you have health insurance in the first place, and this post is about whether you can count on having health insurance in the first place.

    Second, J.D. points out in the comments that there is a problem with COBRA I didn't mention: If you relocate to an area where your employer doesn't have a plan, then you can't count on it at all.

    Third, a few people said that it was the fault of the administration (or the Democrats generally) that health care reform is framed as a "poverty program." There's something to that point, but I don't think it's quite right (and I didn't put it right in the first paragraph above). I think it is a poverty program - but the vast majority of us are, actually, poor. The combination of job loss and serious illness could wipe out almost anyone (under the age of 65 - actually, anyone over 65 as well, since Medicare doesn't cover extended nursing home care), and we all suffer serious economic insecurity because of it. The political problem is that the median American doesn't identify as poor (although he probably thinks he needs more money) and thinks that poverty programs are for "other people." I think that middle-class and upper-class people should support poverty programs for other people, but that's an unnecessary discussion. My point here is that the vast majority of us are poor, when it comes to health care, and therefore we should get behind reform out of self-interest
     
  2. LindaChavis

    LindaChavis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    AARP has the facts on health care reform

    Health Reform: Get the Facts
    A message about health care reform from AARP
    Source: AARP.org | August 2009


    Get the Facts

    The debate on health reform is dominating the news these days—as it should. We understand why this issue can create such strong feelings, since every person will be affected by the policy choices that are made.

    But much of the debate is being driven by special interests that are deliberately kicking up clouds of dust to obscure the facts. So many people are expressing confusion, skepticism, and even fear about what the Obama administration and members of Congress are proposing.

    AARP doesn't want misinformation and fear-mongering to dominate this debate. From allegations about rationing care to wild reports of government-sponsored euthanasia, the rumors just keep getting crazier. AARP wants to help you find the facts about what health-care reform will mean for you and your family.

    Come back to this site often to arm yourself with the facts you need to make informed decisions about legislative proposals winding their way through Congress, and where AARP stands on important provisions.

    If your questions aren't answered on this site, please feel welcome to contact us at 1-866-AARP-449 (1-866-227-7449). And if you want to join AARP's battle to fix our health-care system, please visit healthactionnow.org.

    http://www.aarp.org/health/articles/health_reform_get_the_facts.html?print=1
     
  3. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    can we get health coverage for everybody but conservatives?
     
  4. LindaChavis

    LindaChavis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    They

    have health care. They dont want people of color to have health care
     
  5. CITIZEN

    CITIZEN Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    It's a Start

    Wrote earlier, but it didn't post. In summary:

    -Health care reform should not only be about providing for the uninsured. It should also tackle the issues that make healthcare expensive. These issues would take pages to discuss, but waste occurs at the patient level, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies. If it does not stop, then we are just adding 49 million more people paying $50 for one Tylenol in a hospital.

    -If you are over 65 and have Medicare, then you don't have:
    ---dental coverage. So no dentures.
    ---long term nursing home care coverage.
    ---the same selection of doctors. Medicare and Medicaid don't pay as high as private insurance, and more paperwork is involved. So some doctors will not see these patients. Or they only see a certain percentage of them, and no longer take new patients with this insurance. Illegal or not, doctors do "cherry pick" based on insurance.

    -I guess it is better than nothing, which is what millions of Americans have now.
     
  6. Corvo

    Corvo navigator of live MEMBER

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    The citizens of this nation are truly clueless of what single payer means. This is the only So Called developed nation with/out it. The republican party and the insurance corporations have very successfully pulled the wool over the general public. And the U.S. media is an accomplise to this corruption. Shows how foolish the U.S. citizen is about being informed to their own interest.
     
  7. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    :SuN042: nuff said
     
  8. CITIZEN

    CITIZEN Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Reform everything

    -Unfortunately, the new plan is not single payer. Single payer systems have their own set of issues. However, the point is not about who is paying. Imagine health care as it is now...picture it as a boat with holes in it. It is sinking. We can certainly pick up the uninsured in the water, but until we fix the holes in the boat we will all sink.
    -Reform must consider eliminating waste, greed and corruption as well as covering the uninsured. They go hand in hand. We might as well work on both at the same time.
     
  9. LindaChavis

    LindaChavis Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    My Goal

    with this thread is not to debate the issue but to make sure we have the correct information for our seniors. They are being told lies by the right..because they can..knowing seniors can be confused. This is all about 2012.
     
  10. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    i am not confused....

    if they do not listen to garbage they will not have a problem. to listen to garbage is a choice.
     
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