Health Care: 7 Things You Can Do Now

With three complicated Congressional proposals almost on the drawing board and special interest lobbyists strong-arming elected officials even during their August recess, it is easy to throw up one’s hands on health care and cling to one’s employee-sponsored health insurance, that is, if you are lucky enough to have a policy.

But having read the reports of insurance companies that have excluded from coverage pregnant women and families where a single member has a “prior” condition (usually a serious illness, but not always), not to mention those companies that have dropped policyholders on the eve of surgeries, I find it difficult to believe that anyone could conclude, as some have, that the current system does not need reform. The escalating costs are self-evident in light of rising premiums, even if we don’t all agree on the best ways to slow down such costs.


Here are seven suggestions of things we can do right now:

1. Be careful and smart about purported information. Try to get the facts from trusted news sources or public, non-partisan think tanks; sort out constructive opinion from partisanship pure and simple. Mark the difference between those speakers and writers who are making actual proposals for reform from those who merely criticize or misrepresent the efforts elected government representatives are making to solve a real problem. Note who stands to gain what personally from any proposal they offer, and beware of conflicts of interest.

2. Don’t forget the underlying goal—reform that embraces most or all of the 46 million Americans without health insurance and that restrains the runaway costs that threaten the entire economy and our national future.

3. Conduct a personal health assessment of yourself and your family. How healthy are you? Look at your diet, the pills you take, the exercise you get, your sleep patterns, your mental health and any illness you currently have.

4. Assess your use of health care (Do you have insurance? from what source? how often do you use it? what is the quality of service? are you satisfied enough to keep what you have, which is an option given to everyone? Ask: What would I do if I (or my spouse) lost my job?

5. Think about the health of your family/friends. Have any of them lost their jobs? Do they have insurance? What do you see for yourself and your family/friends as you age—the next five years, ten?

6. Contact your Senator and Representatives and tell them what most concerns you about health care and what you want to see in the reform bill. Such contact still weighs in, as do email contacts and blogs, when the government tries to take the national pulse.

7. Finally—and this is related to suggestion No. 6--Ask yourself (and your friends) a creative question: What would I be willing to do or pay in order to improve health care in our country? That is a much more constructive question than “What’s in it for me?” Any citizen can have a bright idea that contributes to health care reform. If you get one, contact your legislator, your newspaper, or someone else who can take it, publish it and run with it. (I have a few of wild ideas, which I’ll propose in a forthcoming blog.  Please add your own ideas in the space for comments.)

Karen Sue Smith

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9 years 5 months ago
As Catholics, let's not forget about one very influential special interest in all of this too: the abortion industry.  I am all for covering all Americans.  However, just recently an amendment that would have insured that our federal taxpayer money would not go toward exterminating innocent life was voted down in committee.  It would have done much to get me and others like me behind the bill.
Do contact your representatives and let them know that you want to see a bill that provides health care for all, even our most vulnerable citizens.
9 years 5 months ago
According to the scoring of CBO on the prevention & wellness program, all fitness centers around the world should close down immediately and all media have to end reporting health tips about prevention.
Immune System & Levee System :
All of the excellent health systems seem to have one thing in common, a expansive, systematic preventative program requiring immense investments. I think a prevention system works as a 'levee'  built against flood by the government, similarly, it also needs non-profit investments from the government 'on a large scale'.
This might offer us the clue of why all of the free states have public insurance policy in place.
It won't be easy to draw some specific numbers on the economic effect of the 'levee' , but the flood measure lacking a stable 'levee' would be a house on sand, as the too high level of 'preventable' chronic diseases in America shows.
At present, about 75 percent of each health dollar goes to treating chronic conditions.
When tests reveal patients are at risk of a chronic disease, physicians have no benefit to help them make necessary changes to stay healthy. Rather, the system today is designed around treating patients once they become sick.
If current health care system could shift a small percentage of total spending into programs that help prevent people from getting sick in the first place, in combination with the KEY 'pay for OUTCOME' reimbursement reform based on IT SYSTEM,  it would dramatically reduce the overall cost of care.
Thankfully, the health care reform bill currently before Congress makes several key investments in preventive care, and those pieces of the PUBLIC OPTION must be maintained.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.", said Benjamin Franklin , and 'Early Detection' goes beyond monetary value as we see the recent case.
As far as I'm concerned, the congress affected by the special interests has impeded the budget request for prevention program in Medicare & Medicaid.  Let's imagine the costs and invaluable lives following the levee breach.
Time is ripe for CHANGE !
To see the forest, get a big picture, massive job creation, promising stem cell research, several times more economic effects of 'from bed to work' , relief on the mental stress and keep-eating-habit caused by deep-seated financial anxiety, which are the epicenter of a number of different diseases, and  beyond  lie ahead, to be sure.
     Thank You !
9 years 5 months ago
-Scare tactics from verbal to physical-
1.  'Takeover and Rationing Cliche' lost ground, as this spoiled menu did the opposite for too long.
     Like freedom of press, Public Well-being as a right, a nation took root in every free nation as a natural part of life.
     The debate about it  is most likely to puzzle people all around the free states. And with so many people uninsured  
     or underinsured, the humanitarian foreign aid ahead will confuse them, too.
2.  Arbitrary Market Theory, Not Fair Market Theory, should not apply to a fundamental human right.
    This last spring, due to the demand decrease, the peak fuel price came down below  $40 per barrel, though, the
    'Similar' insurance premiums keep on rising, accordingly the inaction could bankrupt family, business, and
     government 'BEYOND this recession' , as all across the spectrum agree.
    Basically, as demand diminish, the price tends to reflect it, nonetheless, the insurers that formed a cartel through 
    consolidation have replenished the loss by exercising inhumane malpractices involving denying, capping, rapid  
    premium increase and the like. And this runaway premium ended up in the collapse of middle
    class ranging from finance to mental health, alongside the peak fuel price and fast-growing mortgage rate, as all of 
    us know.
    They could be cited as an objective for anti-trust or anti-corruption.
3.  The Deficit-sensitive groups have a distinctive common ground, they all have a Deficit-driven background out of   
    question. Therefore, I'd say they have nothing to say about deficit unless they come up with a legitimate plan.
4.  These Deficit-sensitive and yet Deficit-driven allies struggle to ignore the positive effects involving massive job creation,  
     promising stem cell research, several times more economic effects of 'from bed to work' , relief on the mental  
     stress and keep-eating-habit caused by the deep-seated financial anxiety, which are the epicenter of a number of
     different diseases, and  beyond, as in the case of sustainable energy investments & the following savings. 
5.  To see the forest, get a big picture, it might be a way to go.
    German firms on Monday 13 July launched a renewable energy project designed to provide European households 
    with electricity from the Sahara.
    Utilities giants RWE and E.ON, electro-engineering group Siemens and Deutsche Bank are among the dozen 
    companies involved in the 400- billion-euro (552-billion US-Dollar) Desertec Industrial Initiative Dii.
    Using high voltage direct current transmission lines, the energy could then be transferred to Europe where it could
    supply 15 per cent of the continent's electricity needs.


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