Do you have a health care story? Visit Link TV's Real Conversations webcam site and tell us about it.
Health care reform is the hottest topic in U.S. news media this summer. One question that arises in this debate is whether the government should spend the money to overhaul the old system, or use the money to pay off federal deficits?
As one of the 47 million uninsured Americans, I think that the health care system in the U.S. is terrible. I earn barely enough to cover my expenses, and at the end of the month, I am left with very little extra cash to spend on something as important and necessary as health insurance.
I looked into buying insurance, and since I’m very healthy with no prior medical conditions, I expected to see insurance premiums of $50 - $85 a month. I was shocked to find that the lowest premiums started at $150 - $200, excluding dental or vision!! There was no way I could afford those prices.
Fortunately, I live in San Francisco, a very conscious and progressive city, where two years ago the City and County introduced a program called "Healthy San Francisco." This program covers primary care for all city residents, and the pay structure is based on income. I have now been with this program for one year and, although it doesn’t include major medical care, I’m happy.
But I began to wonder what would happen if I broke my leg. Would I be able to afford the hospital bills, or would they bankrupt me? A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation [PDF link] found that: "Every week, thousands of Americans file for bankruptcy related to medical costs [and] 42% of adults report having problems accessing health care due to cost." I definitely favor a system of health care that benefits everyone, especially those that cannot afford it. After all, the rich will always be able to afford health care whether it is universal or not.
Here’s a cartoon that says it all.
How do other developed countries manage their citizens’ health care? PBS Frontline’s "Sick Around the World" website describes how five of the world’s developed nations go about taking care of their sick.
A completely socialized health care system might not work in the U.S., but universal care with regulated options that are based on fair-market values just might work. While providing access to all, it will create motivation for insurers and providers to offer the best service they can.
In this week's Global Pulse episode, Health Care: America and the World, host John Hamilton asks for your health care stories. Share your thoughts at Link's Real Conversations site!