The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Why mandatory Health Care?

 

September 28, 2017



To The Eagle:

After reading the recent article in The Eagle about questioning the need for health care, I feel I need to share my thoughts.

First of all, I have never met a person that never needed any health care provided to them. Everyone eventually needs it – whether preventative or reactive. We all know that without it, a sick person risks wiping out their family’s financial well being. As a nurse friend of mine that works at a hospital recently said, “Even with health care, most people are never more than one bad health issue away from bankruptcy.”

Here’s the rub though. If a family is broke and Johnny breaks his arm, Suzie has a bad infection, or dad has a stroke/heart attack, they’ll need professional care immediately. Without health care and a doctor, they’ll usually go to the closest hospital’s emergency room. They’ll be treated, but the hospital is kept whole by bumping up their rates to their health insurance partners, due to the collective costs of treating uninsured patients (and at emergency room rates I might add). If you don’t believe me, just ask a nurse or doctor that’s actively practicing. Anyway, that means us – those that pay for health care – end up paying more to cover those that go without paying for any. To me that’s the equivalent of someone needing food, going in to the grocery store, and stealing some. Ultimately, that would force the store to raise prices for theft loss, which the rest of us end up paying for in higher prices.

Better yet, it’s like if a family could refuse to pay school taxes because “mom will never get pregnant,” and after years of not paying taxes, she does. She’d raise her child, and naturally enroll the child in the local school system. Again, others would be paying for that family’s financial responsibilities

To me, people being required to have health care is similar to drivers being required to have liability car insurance. To say there isn’t enough money to go around at the end of the month could be interpreted as either people being indifferent, or poorly prioritizing. Regardless, for those less fortunate, there are usually state and federal programs to help cover out of pocket health care costs.

I’m glad my community members pay their car insurance. I’m glad my community members pay their schools taxes. I’m sick of paying increasingly higher health care costs though, so I hope in time all Americans pay their fair share for health care as well.

As the world’s preeminent country, we have, and have had for years, the highest “cost” of health care, without the assumed highest “quality” of health care. This is not an opinion, nor a political stance. It’s a fact, backed by many leading organizations. The Affordable Health Care Act was finally a first step to alleviate this. We finally have something nailed to the wall, that we can adjust , tinker with, negotiate all costs on, and shape into what’s ultimately needed. This will take time and patience, but there needs to be an objective understanding by all on the need.

Bill Wainwright

Cathlamet

 

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