18.7.12

Are You Covered?



Congratulations to America, for finally passing a healthcare plan to protect  30 million citizens who currently have no healthcare coverage.  It's not ideal, but it represents a true recognition that the current systems of medicare and insurance that have been in place for so long, are failing millions of Americans, and leaving them penniless, suffering or dead.  In the midst of a crippling economic depression people need access to healthcare without the fear of debt keeping them from seeking treatment.

I went briefly without health cover in 2010 for about 6 months and I hated the feeling of anxiety and frustration that crept over me whenever I started to feel sick or noticed a physical issue that may or may-not need attention, wondering how expensive a particular medical or dental procedure might be.  It's a terrible way to live, when it seems like an intuitive maxim that no one should be forced to measure their health with dollar signs or put off seeking treatment that could lead to worsening of a condition or development of life-threatening symptoms.     This July 4th the United States no doubt had a  lot of grateful families celebrating the changes taking place. 

Unfortunately, America still harbours huge masses of the population who disagree with universal health care.   Some of the more extreme of those would even cheer the potential of someone dying if they didn't pay for their own health insurance.    For myself and my peers, many of us still finishing higher education even in our late twenties, any scenario proposed that meant health insurance could cost a healthy 30-something upwards of $150 per month paid to a private company would be an excessive strain on the household budget, even for a young married couple with a double-income.  Private options for health insurance that are championed as the 'responsible' thing to do ignores the plain truth that you will still be gambling your health with a company that reserves the right to refuse treatment according to their own reviews and guidelines on 'pre-existing' conditions.  It has always felt to me that this is the least fair and safe arrangement to ensure that I am guaranteed the best quality care in my time of direst need.  If the circumstances include that I will be debating the fine points of my insurance policy with corporate agents operating on a profit-ized mindset that will be actively trying to avoid paying for anything more than the minimum level of treatment, then the truth simply is that class inequality dictates your chance of survival.

Michael Moore's Sicko, while idealistic about Canada and the UK's universal health care systems, was still very revealing in terms of how undeniable the profit factor is in determining the quality of your health cover.   The scene below, of a former physician confessing her complicity in the death of patients was a turning point in my view of privatised health care.    Knowing that physicians are being rewarded for their ability to set regularly set their compassion aside to make profitable decisions should keep us vigilant about preserve the health care rights we already benefit from in European and commonwealth countries, and supporting initiatives for universal health care in others who are still behind the curve.
  
Via @MMFlint



  
In Australia, private health is taking root and medicare still does fall short much too often in more ways every year.   How would these options (their lowest prices) fit into YOUR budget?


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