by Glenn Mollette
My mother use to take me to see Doc Ford in Inez, Kentucky. He would give me a shot in my sitting place. It hurt. He would then give my mother a package of pills, charge her a couple of dollars and send us out the door.
It is no fun to be without health care insurance. My first wife died from multiple sclerosis. We battled the disease for 12 years.
Some people live a very functional life with MS while others have progressive MS. She had progressive MS.
After teaching school for many years and taking leave the system found a way to eliminate her health care insurance. This was during a time that her medications were a minimum of $1,200 to $1,500 per month. My job at the time paid a total of about $35,000. While my two young sons and I could buy health care insurance, we could find no one to insure her.
The financial toll was staggering. We were eventually able to work with Medicare via disabled Social Security and we were able to survive. Yet, we experienced the pressures and distress from the weight of lots of medical bills. We were willing to pay for health care insurance by whatever means it would take to scrape together the premium. However, no insurer would take on someone diagnosed with MS.
Health care insurance should be available to everyone who wants to buy it. The government should never mandate that anyone "must" buy it. Where is the liberty in this? However, we live in a day where you will be financially devastated without health care insurance. Therefore health care insurance needs to become competitive.
We should be able to cross state lines to buy insurance. Someone in Florida should be able to buy in California or someone in Indiana should be able to buy in Texas. New insurance companies must be encouraged to grow and develop. Can you imagine our country with only one health care insurance company? The premiums are already staggering. The fewer insurance companies we have the higher our medical costs.
Can you imagine our country with only federal insurance? We will sit in doctors' offices for hours. We will wait for weeks and maybe months while bureaucrats make a determination. Taxes to cover such federal insurance will only increase to pay for less and less coverage.
As Americans we must have the freedom and liberty to choose. In most cases the only reason any American would choose not to have health care insurance is because of outrageous costs.
We must lower the cost of insurance and medical care. Competition on all sides of the spectrum is imperative.
Our government must guarantee that what is taken from taxpayers to pay for Medicare and Medicaid is not raided for other purposes.
All Americans should be eligible for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and any government-imposed barriers should be eliminated.
Government must provide tax credits and deductions for all medical expenses.
Government should eliminate the employee's portion of payroll taxes if diagnosed with a terminal illness. If a spouse is a caregiver to a spouse or child with a terminal illness also eliminate the spouse's portion of payroll taxes. This would allow the family to retain a little extra money that would help pay for needed health care.
Government has a bad track record with how it has handled the post office, Social Security and Medicare. We can keep Social Security and Medicare. All citizens have the right to provide for their own long-term health care insurance. One problem we get into with Medicare is the government making decisions about whether or not you will be allowed to have a particular surgery. When you become a certain age it may be determined that you are too old to have a certain medical surgery. Therefore the government will choose to just let you die.
Medical decisions need to be made between the patient and the doctor without the dictates of the government. If medical attention is necessary, it should never be the decision of a government worker in a state or federal office to decide if it's okay or not based on cost. This must be decided between the patient and the doctor, not the government.
Medicaid should exist for those who cannot take care of themselves. If someone is truly medically disabled from doing any kind of work then it's appropriate as a society that we help. Medicaid should not be given out carte blanche to people who are able to do something for a living. While you may no longer be able to do one type of job there are often other kinds of jobs that an individual can do. The invalids of our society should never be turned away and refused medical attention.
Finding cures - We must work to find cures for diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, eye diseases and more. Can you imagine the savings on health care when a cure for cancer is discovered? Our government should invest money into finding cures for diseases such as cancer, neurological diseases and others. This would be money wisely spent.
Socialized Medicine is a bad idea. This will entail taking too long to receive treatment. Doctors have to play the insurance game and hope to gain approval before they treat a patient. We must keep government out of the doctor's offices and fight for the patient/doctor decision about treatment and surgery.
Health care doesn't have to be painful all the way around.
Glenn Mollette is the author of American Issues and hundreds of articles, stories and books. You can hear him each Sunday night on XM radio 131, 8 EST.