When I hear people worried that the Government is going to get between them and their doctor, I suggest they take a good look at the decisions being made about their health care dollars now.
My insurance tells me which doctors and hospitals I can go to, which drugs I can order, which orthopedic apparatus I can use should I sprain or break something. If I wanted psychological counseling, my insurance tells me how much of that is allowable. Seriously. Not my doctor, my therapist or the government. In my case, it’s Aetna that determines what is best for my well-being.
My insurance insists that I pay EXTRA for the birth control medicine that DOESN’T make me break out, because it’s BRAND NAME MEDICINE. That’s Aetna getting between me and my doctor. Why should it cost more for me to use the medicine that works better?
My husband decided to work for himself a couple of years ago. His former company offered him a COBRA plan. At $600+ per month! How is that reasonable? In the 90s I took advantage of the COBRA deal at less than $100 per month, and it was very helpful between jobs. But at over $600 per month, he was better off paying full price for prescriptions and hoping he didn’t break any bones until we came up with another solution.
I suggest that some government regulation of the health care industry is needed.
- Prescription coverage should be simplified. Why can’t all drugs have one price? Why are there lists A and B? I remember my grandmother had a rainbow of pills to take, and I am rapidly catching up to her at 38 years old. This stuff gets confusing. There’s no reason for it, though. Why should I pay $1 for antibiotics and $60 for brand-name birth control? Even it out and pay $25 for each.
- No one can be rejected for coverage. Even if we don’t reach the standard of requiring health care for everyone, we absolutely cannot reject people for pre-existing conditions. These are the people that need coverage most, and should be given credit for getting coverage.
- COBRA has to be brought down to earth. $600 is not a reasonable monthly payment for insurance. And it’s not near what the estimates were for individually purchased insurance. So why was COBRA that high? We cannot expect a person who is leaving a job to pay such a high amount for insurance.
- Dental and vision need to be included. These are medical benefits. Treatments for your eyes and teeth cost real money. Neglecting these parts of your body is just as dangerous as neglecting your knee or your finger, if not more so. Putting this insurance into a separate category is simply a joke.
We do need more, but these changes will put us well on our way.
The President has once again spelled out his thoughts on Why We Need Health Care Reform, in The New York Times Op Ed page, and I agree. I hope you’ll read his thoughts and chime in. And call your Senator and Representative.
UPDATE: Here’s the White House point of view, at WhiteHouse.gov/RealityCheck.