Who gets treated for a possible life-threatening condition if health care is rationed, as many experts predict it will be? Is it the 25 year old illegal alien who shows up at the emergency room, the 35 year old drug addict who was rushed to the hospital after an overdose, or the 45 year old convict who was injured in a fight with another inmate, or the 75 year old pre-boomer who has paid taxes all his life but became ill in recent years?
If a universal program is adopted, cost cutting will a key objective. This means someone overseeing our personal physician’s decisions (make that recommendations) will be dispassionately reviewing health care needs along with life-expectancy charts to determine who would benefit long-term from a variety of medical procedures. So the younger, and presumably, healthier patients could get the nod over the older ailing one. This above scenario, although extreme, is not out of the realm of possibility.
I believe we need health care reform. But do we have to totally destroy the current system, under which 85 percent of American are covered, in favor of an ideal that simply doesn’t work in other countries? What makes us think our government can do it better?
My wife and I pay over $10,000 per year for medical insurance. I buy a plan to supplement Medicare, but she is not yet 65 and has a prior condition, so her premiums are pretty high, and many of her medical costs are not reimbursed. In addition, we pay for long-term coverage but don’t have a dental plan. Yes, we’re for reform; but we also want to be eligible for care for the rest of our lives, no exceptions.
Pre-boomers (those born between 1930 and 1945) are the new seniors. We could, more than likely, end up being guinea pigs for changes that will affect the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) whose population is twice that of our generation. Boomers have different needs now; but when they retire, circumstances will change just like what happened to us. So from a practical standpoint it makes financial sense to experiment with pre-boomers; however, looking at it from a humane position, tampering with what we have is patently unfair and may be discriminatory. Pre-boomers must let it be known that no one should be ignored or under treated when they reach the end-of-life years.
Talk to your doctor(s) about the ways universal health care might affect you. Cost changes, coverage changes, prescription changes, procedure changes are all on the table; so you need get specific answers. Armed with this information, contact your elected representatives in Washington, and tell them what you need and why. Above all, demand that they read the health care bill (as well as future spending bills) before they vote. Be sure to impress upon them that the fate of this bill is a matter of life and death for you, which may end up determining the length of their political life.