What's Your Health Worth?
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

A Healthy Country is a Strong Country.

Despite the rhetoric coming out of Washington these days, our health-care system is important and it needs to evolve to meet the needs of the 21st century.

I’m not a politician, health-care worker/specialist, or an economist so I don’t have any hard facts or hard answers to the problems facing modern health-care management. But, what I am is a person whose very existence is dependent daily on health insurance and the care it helps to fund.

As a Type I Diabetic, even back in the 1980s, I was never given an option to “shop around” for a health insurance provider after I left home. Diabetes is a preexisting condition that most likely would’ve resulted in a medical-based rejection to getting on health insurance through an open application process. And diabetes is incurable–those preexisting condition clauses weren’t going away.

I had two options, roll off of the existing plan/provider that I had with my parents onto my own single-care plan, or get a job immediately with an employer than provided a decent plan as a benefit.

And if I ever left my job, there goes my health insurance. So I rolled off my parents plan and have been on that plan for the last twenty years. If I ever drop this plan, I’m once again screwed and have to rely on an employer to provide insurance.

As I age and because of the rising costs of health-care, a completely different topic for another day, my premiums have steadily increased through the years. I’m now paying THREE times what I paid monthly when I signed up twenty years ago. And the trend doesn’t see to be slowing down, it’s speeding up. In addition to the increasing costs of medications, doctor visits, and lab work.

I will continue to do what I do, regardless of what the fools in Washington decide. One thing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) means is the end of medical preexisting condition clauses (starting 2014). Actually insurance providers will be no longer able to screen applicants for ANY medical issues or histories. No one can be turned down during the open enrollment period(s) for medical reasons.

Maybe I’ll start getting junk-mail from health insurance companies, like I so often do from auto insurance providers wanting my business. And competition is good, right?

Arguments are made that this will cost the health-care industry millions of dollars by forcing them to insure the “sick”. But I can tell you right now, a Type I Diabetic without insurance and adequate care will cost the health-care industry many times over what a “healthy” Type I Diabetic would.

As a society we won’t refuse health care to someone gravely ill. So a diabetic whose developed the many serious complications from years of inadequate care and management will eventually end up getting that NOW very expensive care, anyway. Heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, amputation from infection and loss of blood circulation. All sounds really cheap?! The cost of which will be added the bills of everyone else who has insurance and can pay.

Allowing that person to have affordable coverage for insulin and diabetic supplies, along with routine check ups, no longer seems so expensive. One way or another we ALL pay for everyone else’s health-care.

What if people in America decided that being healthy was no longer a financial burden? If we could go to doctors and get medications and treatments for conditions that aren’t going away on their own. If we maintained a healthy society wouldn’t that, in the end, reduce the costs to everyone? We could stop/limit the need for the expensive complications resulting from untreated illnesses.

And a sick person who can’t work, or afford to buy things, doesn’t contribute to our economy (or pay any taxes). Wouldn’t we want healthy citizens who can not only work, but who can “play” and buy the stuff that funds our local, state, and federal economies?

A population with declining health, becomes a poorer country. A poorer country lends itself to the advancement to a society that no longer would resemble what we now call the US of A. Without health, jobs, employment, and opportunities we would start to appear more like the “third-world” countries, where despair leads to crime, uprisings, and violence.

If we are to become strong 21st century global leaders, we need a healthy country. We have to adapt to a changing world, doing nothing won’t help us. And our health-care system, right now, is becoming too expensive for average citizens to afford. And it’s getting worse!

I just look forward to the day were I can have the health-care I need to keep me alive and healthy; but it no longer takes a third of my income to get it. And remember, if I have some extra cash in my pocket I can go out and buy stuff I don’t need and keep this great capitalism going strong;)

Chad Schulz

October, 2013