And Our Medical Insurance Crisis
By Glenn Mollette
Everybody needs medical insurance. Without it you are headed for the poor house or a shorter life.
Here is what our government should do:
Make Medicaid available for American citizens in poverty. Citizens receiving some type of monthly government check or making poverty wages should pay “something” for their medical insurance. The payment might be a small amount each month but medical insurance is worth some kind of effort. We can’t afford free rides.
Make Medicaid available for the sick with preexisting conditions. When my wife was eliminated from medical insurance because of her multiple sclerosis we were living on about $35,000 a year. The elimination of healthcare for the sickest member of our family was devastating. We would have scraped and skipped meals to pay almost any premium, but it wasn’t available. Let the sick with income pay for their Medicaid insurance coverage. They don’t mind if they have jobs.
Let the rest of America buy health insurance through private companies. We’ve covered the poor and the sick in points one and two. Let’s get the government out of the rest of our healthcare purchases. Healthy working Americans have to pay their car payments, house payments, utility bills, etc. We can pay our insurance premiums.
The real need is for government to eliminate the 48 billion dollars of medical provider fraud that we had last year in America; and this is only the fraud that we know about. We have to bring the cost of medical care down. This will not happen unless our government cracks down on fraudulent Medicare/ Medicaid charges. With increased enrollment, these fraudulent charges will skyrocket further.
Next, you and I must be involved in the process of bringing costs down. Negotiate with doctors. Make several calls and find how much they are charging for office visits, surgeries and other procedures. For example, one Washington Post article revealed that the Las Colinas Medical Center just outside Dallas billed Medicare, on average, $160,832 for lower joint replacements. Five miles away and on the same street, Baylor Medical Center in Irving, Tex., billed the government an average fee of $42,632 for the same procedures. In downtown New York City, two hospitals 63 blocks apart varied by 321% in the prices they charged to treat complicated cases of asthma or bronchitis. One charged an average of $34,310; the other billed, on average, $8,159.
Finally, every day we have to fight the battle of taking care of ourselves. We can’t smoke our brains out, eat fat and a pound of sugar every day and be healthy. With our best efforts, health problems are inevitable, but we all must become responsible for our health.
Glenn Mollette is an American columnist read in all fifty states. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com. Like his facebook page at www.facebook.com/glennmollette. He is the author of American Issues, Nursing Home Nightmares, and eight other books.