Friday, June 15, 2012

"Who pays for health care in the USA/CUBA?" by Graciela Cubas

Michael Moore and his film, "Sicko" about
the "sick" state of US health care

The USA is the only industrialized country that doesn't offer a universal health plan to all their citizens. Therefore 50.7 million people are uninsured across the nation. This means that 15 out of each hundred people don't count on health coverage. Research shows that a great percentage of insured citizens get their insurance through an employer. These represent 59.70%; 27.00% is government funded and only 9.70% is purchased individually. But the main question remains unanswered. Why doesn't the USA offer a universal plan to all citizens? Isn't this nation one of the richest? Well, the USA does offer some health coverage but only to certain citizens. Not all can qualify for these programs. Some of these programs are Medicare and Medical. Medicare is a health insurance for people 65 years or older. On the other hand, Medical is a health care program for certain individuals and families who are low income and have limited resources. People who receive supplementary security income (SSI), Cal Works, refugee or foster care assistance automatically qualify for Medical coverage. Others who are blind, disabled, pregnant, under 21, a parent of someone under 21, may also be eligible.

Even though the government offers these two programs, a lot of citizens are still unable to get insurance coverage. But for those who are able to pay for private health coverage, which only represents 9.70%, are expected to pay $14,000 a year for a family of four. But what about those how are not able to pay for private health coverage? What happens to these people? Some of these people end up receiving urgent care at emergency rooms which can cost up to $5,000 dollars, or in some extreme cases these injured uninsured patients perform treatment themselves which can be extremely dangerous to their own health. While in the USA congress, politicians debate whether the government can or can't afford to offer an universal care to all citizens, in France, England, Canada and even Cuba all citizens count on a universal health coverage. How can this be possible? How can these countries afford to do this? In the case of England, Canada, and France the answer is easy: these countries are wealthy, but the million dollar question here is: how can Cuba offer universal care for all citizens on the island? The Cuban health department believes that the key to keep from spending lot of money to treat a patient from chronic diseases is prevention. They believe that prevention is essential. The Cuban government invests $251.00 per person compared to the USA with an average of $7,000 per individual a year. How can this be possible? Patients in the USA without insurance don't have access to preventative care, therefore these patients postpone needed care or recommended treatment until it is too late, and they end up in the emergency room with the average cost of $5,000. Wouldn't be better if all were able to get preventative care? Would there be in THE USA a universal care plan for all one day? That is a question that every American without insurance has. Maybe the answer to that question is almost here. In 1993-1994 former president Clinton and his wife Hilary tried to change our health system by introducing a proposal to change the broken health system, but a campaign against Hilary's health care plan was cobbled together to fight Clinton care even before debate began in congress. The insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and other companies against this proposal spent over 16,000,000 to kill the health care reform.

But The Clinton administration wasn't the only one trying to change our broken health care system. The Obama administration also believed that a change needed to be made to our health care system. Therefore on December 24, 2009 the patient protection and affordable care act (PPACA), informally referred to as Obama Care, passed the Senate with all Democrats in favor, and all Republicans against it and in March 21, 2010 passed the House of Representatives, and finally on march 23,2010 the PPACA was signed into law by President Obama. On that day, every American without access to health care was happy to hear this news, but that is not the end of the story.

From the beginning, Obama care was faced with a great opposition, a majority of the states and numerous organization and some individual persons have filed action in federal court challenging this new law. As of March 2012, two or four federal appellate courts have upheld it. On March 26-28, 2012 the Supreme Court heard six hours of oral argument and is expected to make a decision by the end of June.

Why can't we be more like Cuba or France and offer a plan that allows every citizen the coverage that all need to be healthy and productive? Why can't the Republicans and all the opponents to Obama Care see and understand the need for health care reform?
In my opinion, a healthy and educated nation is needed to be able to compete with other nations. If this government is not able to provide health care and education to all its citizen, the USA will become another third world country in the near future and that will be a shame.

But there still some light at the end of the tunnel, and I can't wait to see the end of this. I really hope for health care for all. Health care and education should be a right and not a business.

A devastating clip from Moore's film, "Sicko",
a must see for anyone interested in the problems
Graciela raises in her essay.

1 comment:

Freddy A Fuentes said...

Very, very interesting this article makes it clear that the economic power of large pharmaceutical corporations and insurance carriers that seek only thing is big business no matter the future of the nation. It posibleque in the coming years this nation fall and become a third world country