Money. Isn't that the problem with everything? Healthcare is certainly no exception. Amid all the debates about current legislation, it is easy to lose sight of the actual problem.
It is basically a two-fold issue. Firstly, those who are uninsured cannot possibly afford to pay for the care of major medical problems, and sometimes even routine exams. Secondly, those who are insured are paying increasingly higher premiums just to maintain similar coverage to what they had before. Now, there are other issues, like how someone with terminal cancer, who has been dropped by his insurance, can possibly afford care when no one else will cover his "pre-existing condition." How can we possibly solve these problems?
I have been thrust headlong into the healthcare issue. After saving some money by switching to an insurance with 1/3 of the premium cost of my previous insurance, I then found out why I was saving so much money. It didn't really cover anything. I am finding that though I have insurance on my whole family, we are often known as "uninsured" at the doctor's office.
So, I'm switching back to the more expensive coverage just to have coverage at all. Am I paying a fair price though? I mean, my rent seems expensive, but it's actually quite reasonable.
The first question we have to answer is, "Is healthcare actually more expensive than it has been at other times and other places?"
According to the National Coalition on Healthcare, "In 2008, total national health expenditures were expected to rise 6.9 percent -- two times the rate of inflation." In other words, while the cost of everything else is increasing (a normal process), the cost of healthcare is increasing twice as fast. Additionally, premiums are rising at a similar rate, and employers are covering a smaller percentage of that premium. Labor (your wages) is the highest cost at any company and health insurance is a huge part of that cost. When a business starts to struggle, the business is often faced with cutting insurance coverage or cutting employees. A final consideration that has made this debate very politicized is that the U.S. spends more on healthcare per person than any other industrialized nation. Furthermore, many of those other nations have a universal, government run, health insurance system.
All of this means the answer to the above question is a resounding, "YES!"
So, what do we do about it?