With the passing of the health care reform bill this past week, it seemed like the appropriate time to figure out exactly what this legislation means. I’ll admit, I didn’t do such a good job paying attention to the debates, the previous bills, etc. There’s only so much a person can accomplish in a day! However, as an uninsured, though very employed, American, I wanted to find out; will this legislation help me, an uninsured twenty-something, gain insurance?
To find out the answer to this pressing question, I inundated myself with information. I read countless articles in reliable and not so reliable newspapers, I watched the local news and PBS Newshour, read any blog post I could find on the matter, found quick synopses that summed up the bill into a very readable list, and I even tried to read the health care bill itself.
Through all the information I took in last week, I found the answer to my question. Given my present situation, no, this legislation will not help me gain insurance, meaning I will still have to pay $175 to see a doctor for 15 minutes. It’s hard to celebrate the triumph of health care reform when I am not directly impacted. I fear that people who are deserving of health insurance will still not receive what they need.
That being said, I still support expanding health care coverage, but my major concern is that expanding coverage does not have anything to do with the quality of health care rendered to patients. I believe every American deserves to have access to see the doctor at an affordable price. However, I know that just because a person has insurance does not mean they will necessarily be covered to see a quality doctor.
While living in Massachusetts, I had a couple of friends that were required to buy insurance because of state mandates. Any resident who did not receive insurance through their employer had to buy basic coverage. This insurance only covered basic prescriptions, not even doctor visits. Thus, they, too had to pay the overwhelmingly high out-of-pocket costs to see the doctor.
Unfortunately, I fear this limited coverage promotes a culture of only seeing the doctor when you are sick instead of practicing preventative medicine. The focus should be on quality care for everyone. We would be saving ourselves some serious money if we focused more on healthy lifestyles as opposed to dealing with health problems after the fact.