Healthcare Reform

This is an important issue. The state of healthcare in the United States has been neglected for much too long. The cost of care increases, driven in part by the expense of providing emergency care for people who lack health insurance and cannot afford basic preventive care. And in the present economy many more are in danger of losing health insurance along with jobs that no longer exist. Despite the much vaunted advances in medicine and health service in the United States, there are still those who live without medical support (see, for example, this report at “The Daily KOS”).

Last week I received the following email message by an unnamed author in support of the healthcare plan currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress. I think it is worth repeating.

Would you like affordable guaranteed health insurance that you couldn’t be turned down for, with no yearly limit? How about no lifetime limit? How about if you could keep your health plan if you lose your job? What if you didn’t have to change doctors because your employer changed plans? How about you can’t be dropped from the plan and pre-existing conditions are covered?

What if you didn’t have to pay for checkups, vaccinations, and other preventive care for you and your kids? What if there was a limit on how much you had to pay out-of-pocket? How about setting up payments to doctors and hospitals so they got paid for keeping you well, making you better, and spending time talking to you, instead of by how many procedures they performed?

The healthcare bill does all of the above. It also improves Medicare by closing the prescription “donut hole,” paying doctors for “coordinating care” for their patients (making sure you don’t get conflicting drugs, working with specialists you need), and makes nursing homes more accountable.

And it sets up a “public option” health plan that does all of the above if you don’t have a job that provides affordable health insurance.

The insurance companies are spending over a million dollars a day lobbying against the healthcare bill.  Why?  Could it be because they’re afraid their profits will drop?  Health care in the US costs twice as much per person as in other countries where people get as good or better care.  People go to Canada to buy drugs made in the US because they’re cheaper – the difference is in the drug company profits.  One of the reasons jobs are going to other countries where labor is cheaper is that our health insurance costs raise our labor costs.

Don’t let them scare everyone into stopping changes that will get us better, cheaper care with no arbitrary cutoffs when we’re really sick, choose our own doctors, and keep the decisions about treatment between us and our doctors.

Please pass this on to anyone you know who wants better, cheaper healthcare – and let your senators and representatives know that you want it.  They’re hearing from a lot of people who think this is some kind of socialized medicine, that it will raise their taxes, take away their choice of doctors or health plans, and limit their care.  They need to hear that you want the quality, choice, and reduced costs that are in the current bill.

(If you want to verify or know more, check out Congress’s page on the bill.)

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