I believe that those who currently have health insurance and good access to medical care would be well advised to support proposed health care reform for the following reasons:
- They may lose their insurance coverage! Right now, 14,000 insured people lose their coverage every day when they lose their job or the employer cannot continue to afford benefits, and that number is expected to increase greatly with current trends.
- Business can't afford the increasing costs! Under the current system, costs are expected to double during the next 10 years.
- Young people are priced out of the system! Those looking for work at the beginning of their careers are most likely to get jobs without benefits, leaving them uncovered and raising the cost for all others.
- Insurance often does not work when you need it, even if you have it! The for profit system is full of people who work hard to "ration your care" by figuring out how not to pay for things.
- The payment system must be reformed! Our current mess of a non system is caused by the payment incentive and lack of incentives we now have.
- Quality is often lacking! A sad and poorly understood fact is that even people with good insurance get the recommended care they should have only about 1/4 of the time. The care is not organized in a way that allows most doctors to manage their patients the best way possible.
- They may lose their doctor! Very few medical students are going in to the primary care disciplines, due primarily to the fact that they cannot afford to. Retiring family doctors are not being replaced. Reform which supports primary care is crucial to attracting the best and brightest into primary care.
When all is said and done, however, thinking just about ourselves misses one of the most important reasons for reform. Perhaps the most important thing to consider is, what are our obligations to each other? Our entire American society is engaged in global competition with all the countries on earth for the innovations, jobs, products and benefits of the world to come. We must have a society with well educated, healthy and productive citizens to secure the benefits of the future. Our companies need a level playing field that does not saddle them with the unequal and exorbitant costs of a failed system.
If the the future is scary to you, it is really not because of the risk of changing, but because we might not change. Don't be fooled.