Just recently, my son developed this deep, dry cough out of nowhere. There were no sniffles, nasal congestion or fever, just a persistent and unrelenting cough that came in waves and caused us as much emotional distress as it caused him physical discomfort.
After 48 hours of this mystery cough, my wife and I yielded to her medical training and intuition, and scheduled a doctor’s appointment for my son. We are fortunately part of the American insured, and our ability to provide medical attention for our child was facilitated by a financial privilege that one would think all American families should have.
Thanks to my benefits, however, the medical mystery was solved after a 30-minute and fully financed visit to the doctor. Justin had a cold.
My mind was at ease for a few reasons. The fact that Justin would be fine was, of course, the primary reason for my relief. My other source of solace was knowing that if he had required just about any other level of medical care, my employer sponsored health insurance would have assured us some semblance of financial relief in treating my son.
Knowing that my son was fine also put some things further into perspective for me. It seemed to me that in all the partisan bickering and characterizations of Obama’s Health Care Reform bill as being one step closer to treading the path to socialism, the human factor of providing health insurance to the uninsured was lost in debate and shrouded by rhetoric.
“Obamacare,” as it has been termed in certain circles, comes with a $938 billion price tag and with a similarly hefty load of provisions and caveats.
Almost immediately, some of the traditionally restrictive elements of health care insurance are addressed. For instance, starting this year, children can no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. In addition, insurance companies will be prevented from placing lifetime caps on policies or from terminating coverage of a patient if he or she gets sick.
I find it difficult to understand any opposition to any piece of legislation that advocates this unfettered level of protection to children and to anyone who may one day get sick.
As opposed as anyone may be to the prospect of “big government,” they only need to speak to an uninsured parent of a child with leukemia or to an adult waiting on a transplant list whose insurance company drops them, to understand the human cost of not addressing these previously condoned insurance company practices.
The Obama bill also contains elements of insurance modifications that will take effect in the future. One of the 2014 changes that sparked a great deal of controversy is the provision that requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine.
Low-income Americans are an exception to this rule, and small businesses, high-risk patients and the uninsured have the option to “shop” for health care coverage at health insurance marketplaces where competition would lead to these shoppers securing coverage at competitive prices.
Tax increases to mitigate cost, closing “doughnut-holes” in Medicare prescription drug purchases and increases in Medicaid subsidies for low-income families are just some of the other notable elements of “Obamacare” that have the Republicans up in arms and most average Americans scratching their heads in an effort to understand just how the bill affects them.
My biggest point of contention with our president is that with such a crucial piece of overdue legislation, it should have been researched and developed more in order to gain additional support from the American people and to garner less from the very vocal Republican opposition.
Strategically, ushering this bill in before aggressively addressing the universally sensitive issues of unemployment and the economy was a mistake that has Republicans licking their lips for midterm elections; and gives conservative muckrakers valid talking points in their crusade to defame and libel this administration.
President Obama may have had the human factor in mind as he pushed for this bill, however, a perceived lack of due diligence in developing this plan, questions about his real commitment to bipartisan input in creating this plan and doubt about whether or not the government can actually manage this plan have kept the door of uncertainty about universal health care ajar, if not absolutely wide open.