Access Denied: Health Care for Everyone

There are many different types of Health Care Plans with many different health care providers. For example, some of the plans for mature individuals are Medicare, which is for people who are 65 years or older and/or disabled
(“Medicare”, par.1); Medicaid, which is for people whose income is at or below 133 percent federal poverty level, are eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), are recipients of adoption or foster care assistance and/or eligible for supplemental security income (SSI) (“Medicaid”, par.3); Medigap, which is a supplemental insurance plan used to cover the “gap” in the original Medicare plan coverage (“Medigap”, par.1); and Long Term Insurance, which is not covered by Medicare, but may be covered by Medicaid if eligible (“Long Term”, par.1). There are also many other health care services for individuals and families, like Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), and Fee-For-Services Insurance (Indemnity and Benefits) (“Welcome”, par.1). Health insurance is a major issue in America today because there are many people who don’t have it. According to Chronicle Research, about 45 million people lack coverage (“In Critical”, par.11). If America administers so many health plans, then why do so many people go without health insurance?

Because health insurance costs have gone way up due to new medical devices And pharmaceuticals. The main people without insurance are people who can’t afford to have it. If you are poor enough, if your income is at or below federal poverty level, the government MIGHT give you health insurance, but many people don’t qualify for that. Many people make just enough money not to qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, or etc., but not enough to afford their own insurance.
Imagine having a family of four and making about $18,850 per year. Now, imagine having a family of six and still making about $18,850 per year. Well, according to Health and Human Services (HHS), $18,850 per year is poverty level for a family of four, and below poverty level for a family of six. A person in this situation would have a hard time trying to afford health insurance and still be able to pay the bills without government assistance. Which is one of the reasons why many people
don’t have health insurance.

Another reason why there are so many people uninsured is because of budget cuts. States have been forced to deny insurance coverage from programs such as Medicaid and States Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). A lot of minorities are dependent on these programs, especially the children. According to Gene Sterling, a
half a dozen financially strapped states, including Florida and Alabama, have stopped enrolling eligible children in SCHIP
(“Starving”, par.3).

People who are uninsured are at a great disadvantage. They can’t get the care they need or the medication prescribed, and sometimes they get sicker because they’ve put off going to the doctor for so long so that they wouldn’t have to pay the
doctor’s bills. Most of the time, people with pre-existing health problems can’t even get health insurance, which makes matters worst.

On July 13, 1995, Nancy Landon Kassebaum and Edward M. Kennedy introduced the bill, The Health Insurance Reform Act. This bill focused on the inability of people with pre-existing health problems to obtain insurance. At a July 18 hearing on the bill, a witness from the General Accounting Office testified that as many as twenty-five million Americans a year could be helped if the bill were to become a law (“Insurance”, par.3). But, unfortunately, there was opposition to this bill, and, to make a long story short, the bill did not become a law.

Minority kids are the most effected by this health problem, in my opinion. Because kids get sick and hurt easily, they have to go to the doctor more often. Plus, they have to get shots that are required for school. Since their parents can’t afford
health insurance, or the insurance doesn’t cover everything, that really leaves the kids at risk of getting sicker. For example, if little Billy has Leukemia and has no insurance, then he won’t be able to get the care he needs. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2001 9.2 million children (12.1%of all children under 19) did not have health insurance. Out of 76.5 million children, 52.3 million total had private insurance, and 19.5 million had government insurance. That leaves the 9.2 million that are uninsured. Due to their lower coverage rate through government sources, “children 16 to 18 years old were more likely to be without health insurance in 2001(Bhandari and Gifford, pg. 3).”

So far, little has been done for the uninsured. According to Gene Sterling, the 2005 budget would allow more than $1 billion in unspent state SCHIP funds to expire, rather than reallocate them to states with long waiting lists of uninsured kids, in other words wasting money when it could be used wisely (“Lip Service”, par.2). Obviously, the government, in my opinion, is not too concerned about minorities having (or not having) health insurance.

I propose that we change our system to a universal health care. The U.S. is the only developed nation without universal health care. In France, there’s universal care funded through mandatory health insurance provided by social
security, with private supplemental coverage filling gaps. In Germany, all individuals are enrolled in government-approved health insurance plans partly financed by employer and employee contributions, although high-income workers may buy private insurance instead. In Japan, a dual system in which workers enroll in insurance programs through their jobs, while all others join Japan’s national health insurance plan. In UK, a publicly funded National Health Service provides free care, with the option of private insurance for those wanting treatment outside the state system (“Odd Man
Out”, pg.4-5).

In Canada, the government “provides free treatment to all, regardless of income or employment status (“In Critical”, par 4).” Although Canada’s system does have problems, they are due to inadequate funding. I feel that as much money as we spend on unnecessary things like multiple health plans, not to mention the latest technology, we could definitely use
that money to establish a universal health care system. It would make life so much better and easier for everyone.

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