Health Matters

Health Matters - In 1991, fewer than one percent of...

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In 1991, fewer than one percent of Americans felt that health care was an important issue. Just two years later, President Clinton urged Congress to help him fix a health care system that "is badly broken" (Collins 78). Is the health care system badly broken? The health care reform debate has captured the attention of all Americans. What brought health care reform into the public spotlight? Although our medical care in this country is of the highest quality, our access to that care is waning due to higher and higher costs. Our health care system needs fundamental reform. Currently, there are dozens of reform packages in Congress, yet three packages offer significant recommendations toward health care reform: President Clinton 's Health Security Act, Representative Jim Cooper's Managed Competition Act, and Senator John Chaffee's Health Equity and Reform Access Today Act. The final health care reform package must include the choice aspects of all three of these proposals. One aspect which must be included in health care reform is the elimination of insurance bias. Too many Americans are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions. Insurance providers should no longer be allowed to cover only the healthiest persons. Never again should an employer feel the need to fire a worker because of an illness which raises health insurance premiums. There are two important steps toward eliminating insurance bias. The first step is making portability of insurance a reality. Right now in this country, 28% of working Americans are unable to change jobs because they would lose their coverage and be denied coverage with another company due to pre-existing conditions (U.S. Health 56). For example, Marcia and Mark Callendar both had good jobs with good benefits. They thought their family was well-protected by the insurance provided by Mark's employer. Then their son, Matthew, got sick. Mark lost his job, and the Callendars lost their insurance. When they tried to apply for coverage through Marcia's job, they were turned down because of Matthew's pre-existing condition. Matthew finally qualified for coverage through disability, but Mark had to take a lower-paying job to be eligible for coverage (Health Security 6). Hence, increasing portability of policies is fundamental to reform. No longer should an individual lose health insurance coverage with the loss of employment. Secondly, insurance providers must stop cherry-picking individuals. People should not be denied health care coverage because they have been sick. Denial of insurance coverage only forces these patients to use expensive emergency room services rather than obtaining regular treatment. The costs are just passed on to the insured patients in the form of higher prices (U.S. Health 18). Insuring the sick may cause the healthy person's premiums to go up, but everyone will benefit from the assurance that medical coverage will always be available. The publication of performance data by hospitals and doctors must be included in the
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This note was uploaded on 08/23/2011 for the course PHIL 22 taught by Professor Gavin during the Spring '09 term at UCLA.

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Health Matters - In 1991, fewer than one percent of...

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