Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bush's poor healthcare idea...

Healthcare is one of the biggest issues facing our country at this time. The president is trying to revamp the way Americans use it. Rather than lessen the power of large health corporations and enormous drug companies which influence government decisions by the way of compaign contributions, Bush wants to promote "Medical Savings Accounts".

I had one of these accounts for a one-year period while I was unable to afford the outrageous monthly insurance premiums through my employer. It served its intended purpose but this money amounted to peanuts when I did make one doctor's visit during that year. If I recall, I contributed $50 per month of pre-tax pay. That, in simple math, gave me $600 for my annual medical expenses. I will be the first to admit that in health care dollars, $600 is an insanely small number.

I made it through that one year period relatively unscathed but now find myself roped into the company's health insurance plan which, for us being a married couple, costs $460 per month in pre-tax income from my paycheck. I have yet to even visit a health care professional under this plan because I am fearful of what ISN'T covered under the plan. That $460 per month has left me lacking in other health needs such as vision and dental which simply aren't covered under this bare-bones health insurance plan.

That same monthly premium of nearly $500 only gives you what has become the industry standard; an 80/20 policy in which the policyholder - nearly all the time - pays 20% of the incurred expense out of pocket. This 20% is on top of the already high premium. The ultimate form of literally adding insult to injury. This, in my opinion, will be a relatively low premium as I can only imagine how much higher it will creep with the fiscal year increases this coming April or May.

This isn't just a problem for me. It is a problem for millions of Americans who work for small to medium sized companies. It sin't going to go away, either. Even with the wider spread of "Medical Savings Accounts" (which have the general drawback of having to use the money during the fiscal year it was contributed or losing it entirely), the health insurance crisis isn't going to lessen.

Unless our elected officials step up and demand change and regulation of the health care and insurance industries, our country is in for a widespread outbreak of uncared for persons. It is simply a shame that all our president's ideas about health care reform involve only the use of "Medical Savings Accounts". It's too bad that, obviously, 50% of Americans are unconcerned about affordable healthcare. Healthcare that won't make its users choose between food or healthcare.

Demand change. Contact your senators and representatives and urge them to revamp healthcare in America and make it affordable.

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