By Robin Lee Clark
Healthcare in America is on a tightrope. Soaring health-related ‘cost realities’ are straining the new healthcare plan and causing it to drop treatments and options by the day (i.e. long-term care, most recently). Can we depend on this plan or our government to catch us if our health fails? We need to know that we have a safety net for our healthcare needs, whether the Affordable Care Act survives an appeal or is replaced with another plan.
Right now, without the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) fully in place, healthcare comprises fully 17.6% of our nation’s economy. As the ‘Act’ is fully implemented, the costs will ‘necessarily skyrocket’ (just as our president so oddly predicted of future energy costs), due to the bureaucratic takeover of the now-private healthcare system, inflationary realities, and the inclusion of high-risk individuals (as well as 50 million currently-uninsured individuals) added to the system. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) predicts that healthcare will account for 20% of the U.S. economy by 2020. Many predict that this estimate is woefully low.
Given this economic conundrum with healthcare in America, we have to imagine that the healthcare system is in a precarious position, over which we seemingly have no control. But, saying that, we do have control over our own protection, and we must take the reigns.
We, as Americans, have often taken healthcare for granted over the years. It used to be that employers would offer major medical as part of employment. But in the last 5 years, since the economy began to sink, we have seen dramatic changes in healthcare coverage overall, and especially healthcare coverage by employers. Not only are plans changing for individuals buying this coverage on their own, but employers are paring down their expenses by cutting down employee coverage — sometimes, altogether. In just the past year, since the Affordable Care Act was passed, employers are dropping coverage like hot rocks. So…many Americans that have never had to seek out coverage individually now find themselves in a precarious position, without solid information.
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) promised “healthcare for all”. Unfortunately, the dirty little secret here is that, in reality, it is “health care for all that live beneath the poverty line…and penalties for those who don’t buy it who have a job”. So, if you have a middle class lifestyle (even if you are struggling to make ends meet), you are mandated to find your own health insurance…period. Mandates are currently floating around the court system as unconstitutional, and soon to be brought before the Supreme Court — but, this issue may take some time to settle. Either way, it’s up to us to protect ourselves, because there is no safety net at the bottom of this healthcare ‘ravine’. Without insurance, you can be strapped with tens of thousands of dollars of bills for emergency medical procedures.
In this four part series, I will lay out a roadmap to aid individuals and families in their crucial decisions regarding securing their healthcare choices as well as information to help us see a way forward, whether the Affordable Care Act is repealed or not. I will include information on Major Medical and Indemnity insurance, as well as other options available in the current marketplace — showing how these can transition if and when Obmacare is repealed. Also, I will include reference links to health resources available to you now.
I will also give you an overview of the healthcare systems in Europe and Scandinavia — and what they are doing to give patients a choice in treatment. This option may be something we should implement if there is no repeal.
We are living in an insecure time. Healthcare shouldn’t be something that hangs in the balance. We should know how we must go forward, and do so accordingly. Information is what we all need in order to secure our future, and to put us, once again, on solid ground.