Also, the Fresno Bee comes out for health reform. Let’s hope California’s Central Valley Blue Dogs, Representatives Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa, are listening:
There are 47 million Americans without health insurance, and we all pay for their health care through our taxes and in increased insurance premiums. How do we cover them at a cost that doesn’t break the U.S. treasury?
There are at least 12 million Americans who have “pre-existing conditions,” allowing insurance companies to deny coverage or put them in a costly high-risk pool with high deductibles and limited coverage. This must be fixed because this is one of the most unfair parts of the current system. The concept of pre-existing conditions was developed by insurance companies to pad their profits by limiting their payouts. Insurance is based on spreading risk among a broad pool of people. But if the insurance companies only have to cover healthy people, why have insurance at all? People with health problems must be covered at a fair cost.
Millions of Americans are stuck in their jobs because they fear losing their health insurance if they go to another job. We must find a way to allow workers to move from job to job without worrying about whether they’ll have health coverage.
We must make an investment in preventative care to limit the overall cost of health care. That will improve the quality of life of individuals and be a wise financial decision in the long run by treating illness before they require costly hospital care. There must be incentives for Americans to lead healthy lives, including maintaining a healthy weight and stopping smoking.
We must rein in the escalating costs of health care in a way that does not compromise care. That can be done in many ways through efficiencies such as improving the wasteful and duplicative billing and insurance claims system.
It’s time to step back and look at ways to improve the nation’s health care system for everyone. But right now the debate is being seen through a political lens, and that is a losing proposition.
Access to quality health care at an affordable price should not be a political issue.
The Central Valley will have a key role to play before health reform is done.