By John M. WilliamsÂ
The healthcare system in this country is bankrupt, and itâ€™s bankrupting the middle class. Until midnight tonight, my family and I are covered byÂ Anthem/Blue Cross/Blue Shied of VirginiaÂ for $1225 a month. As of March 1, if we want to continue under the same program, the price is $2,000 a month to cover my wife, our 8-year-old son and myself.Â
When I asked, â€œWhy is the price so high?â€ I was told, â€œBecause you are not part of a group.â€Â
When I asked, â€œWhy wasnâ€™t I told of this huge price hike before this week?â€ I was told, â€œBecause it is so expensive.â€ Whammy!Â
God and my mother will not tolerate again my expletives when I heard, â€œBecause it is so expensive.â€Â
My options, as I see them, are:Â
1.Â Â Â Â Â Pay the $2,000 a month. However, there is a six week waiting period to determine if we are eligible. Another whammy! Meanwhile I do not have health insurance.
2.Â Â Â Â Â Find an affordable health insurance which I am investigating.
3.Â Â Â Â Â Not have health insurance. In this case one major sickness can bankrupt me.
4.Â Â Â Â Â Find a job that provides medical insurance. I am looking.
Â For nearly two months before February 29, my wife and I tried to learn what our options were to continue our current policy. Despite repeated calls to learn about future plans, no one would talk to us. Finally, on Wednesday, someone talked.Â For decades, everyone has known the healthcare system in this country is broken into a thousand pieces. Efforts to repair it are similar to praying that one stitch will stop a bleeding belly wound that resulted from a 357 Magnum handgun.Â Â
There arenâ€™t any guiding principles behind the medical insurance industry in this country. Supplying health insurance is big business. All big business cares about is profit. Â Health insurance companies want the largest profits resulting from the least dollar output. Stories about the callousness of health insurance companies dropping people from policies are legendary and omnipresent.Â Â Health insurance is so expensive because the health insurance companies and drug companies want it that way. And Republicans in Congress are willing to do the bidding of the industry. Yet Congress has health insurance, and their salaries are paid by American taxpayers.
One solution to getting Congress to pay attention to solving is strip every member of Congress of their health care plan. Let them pay their own health insurance as an individual and not part of a group. Let them pay full price for medicines and bar them, by law, from accepting payments from lobbyists, medical representatives or anyone working in the health care industry.Â If they paid for their health insurance and medicine and rehabilitation (physical therapy), and long term care, they might change their minds about letting the free market dictate the health care policies in this country.Â Â
Receiving quality and affordable health care is a right and should not be an economic privilege.Â Medical costs should not be determined by corporate greed. Letting corporate executives determine the health care policy in the U.S. is criminal and deadly. Health care costs should not bankrupt families. Health insurance should be affordable and available to everyone.Â Â
U.S. citizens have the voting power to improve the health care situation by voting in people on state and federal levels who canâ€™t be persuaded to maintain the status quo and who will stand up against health insurance companies and drug companies and other special interests. Until the right people with courage are voted into office, the status quo remains infinitely permanent.Â Â Â
In fact, as a campaign issue, the Democrats should draft a bill that allows 10-year portability of a health care plan without dramatically raising costs that can bankrupt families and bring the bill up during this session of Congress. The country could learn who supports health care for all and who wants the status quo to stay frozen.Â Â Â
Another tool available to the public is picketing health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. The picketers should demand that these companies provide affordable health care policies for everyone. Picketing has worked against big businesses in the past, and it will work again.Â
A third tool available to the public is bringing criminal charges against health care companies whose policies result in people either dying because they could not afford health care or becoming sicker. If willful intent to deny health care based on greed can be proven, and if it can be proven that people sufffered and maybe died then officials should go to jail. Sending some individuals to jail could persuade policy makers to come to their senses. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â