Healthcare in the United States is on the brink of a major change. Like many Americans, I am waiting to see what form of National Healthcare Plan comes out of Washington.
I recall the debate on the National Healthcare Plan that created Medicare and Medicaid.
I recall the biggest debate was not over if there would be a National Healthcare Plan, but who would be coveredand how would it be funded. Actually two democrats, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson had opposing bills on how to fund the program and who would be covered. The Johnson plan won, when he became President after the horror of President John F. Kennedy’s death. President Johnson signed the bill in 1965 that created the Medicare and Medicaid program.
The Medicare and Medicaid program we see today is nothing like the original plan. It took over 22 years for the plan to cover mammograms. It took an additional year before pap smears were covered.
The current plan is a paperwork nightmare, often does not cover the latest drug treatments, often does not cover the latest surgerical procedures, often prevents use of physician of choice (many clinics and physicians now require up front payments for the full bill and the patient has to file for the limited reimbursement), often prevents aggressive treatment (people falling outside benchmarks/standards for care), often causes delay in payment, and the current plan is not completely funded by payroll taxes. Many individuals on Medicare wanting the best available medical care have forced to purchase additional medical insurance or pay out of pocket. The current plan fails to sufficiently cover dental care, hearing aids, care flights, or even the cheapest eyeglasses. I wonder if the new program will have the same flaws.
I believe it is a valid concern of many employees that their employer will eliminate their group medical care insurance coverage, when the new national healthcare plan becomes law. I also believe there are valid concerns that many “mom & pop” businesses may be forced to close their doors due to the additional cost.
There could be many positive outcomes of a national healthcare plan, other than covering many additional citizens without healthcare coverage. If the plans will pay for medications purchased in other countries, it could lower the cost of drugs. If the plan encourages improved lifestyle choices by requiring higher co-payments for individuals that use tobacco, over eat, excess use alcohol, engage in danger sports (boxing, sky diving, auto racing, and etc).
America is waiting.