Health insurance change is high-stakes ‘game’

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our country is at a milestone on how we preserve and maintain our health.

And if you don’t think the stakes are high, research how much money is being spent on either promoting or trying to defeat health care reform being proposed by congress.

It has been suggested that you call your congressman and tell them your opinion on this issue, but then you are told what your opinion should be.

Don’t act like sheep being lead to slaughter. Information access is so easy today, so don’t be dumb, educate yourself and form your own opinions. Knowledge is power.

First, consider how your life is impacted by access to health care. Before you go to the doctor, or the drug store, do you think about the cost?

Have you ever considered either changing jobs or moving to another employer without thinking about health insurance coverage?

Have you ever thought about your kids getting sick and how you were going to pay for the doctor’s visit of prescribed drugs?

Have you ever complained about the cost of health insurance and how much the premiums go up every year? If so, then you have been affected by health insurance.

The Congress is debating health insurance not health care. The Democrats are trying to find a way to make health insurance more affordable and less restrictive by regulating the insurance companies and providing competition.

They are not trying to dictate to any health care provider how they should treat their patients.

The Republicans wants to maintain the system as is. This is my opinion and I’m entitled to my opinion.

I’m not entitled to my own facts. Here are a few facts on which to base your opinion (a very good idea).

Fact: Health insurance costs increase. The National Coalition on Health Care (www.nchc.org) reports that in 2008 health insurance increased 5 percent, which is two times inflation and four times the average wage increase.

The average family of four pays $12,680, and a single pays $4,704, either out of pocket or in conjunction with their employer. In 2008, 2.4 trillion dollars was spent on health care, that’s 17 percent of our GDP and that figure is expected to rise to 3.1 trillion by 2012.

The GDP, gross domestic product, is the total amount of goods and services produced in our country in a year.

During the last 5 years, United Health Group’s CEO, Dr. William McGuire received $297.1 million in total compensation (www.forbes.com). This is consistent with other health care insurance company CEOs and appears to be an industry standard compensation.

Fact: According to the World Health Organization, we spend more of our GNP on health care than any other industrialized country, while our outcomes rank 37 out of 191 countries (www.who.int)

Don’t listen to the Republican who says we can’t afford to help provide health insurance to all of our citizens, and who are recipients of big insurance and health provider’s money.

The party that allowed our last president to spend nearly a trillion dollars on the Iraq War, a country that did nothing to us.

And don’t listen to the Democrats, go to the Library of Congress’ Web site (www.loc.gov) and look at the three bills that the Democrats are proposing.

These bills came from three committees: Health, Education, Labor, and Pension, the Ways & Means, and the Energy & Commerce. These bills need to be merged and then go to the House floor for a final vote. The Senate is working on their own bill.

These are large documents but have indexes.

Study them, and then decide if we can afford to change how we deliver health insurance, or if we can afford the status quo. Then call your representative with an informed opinion.

Paul Carman, Ironton