For the vast majority of Americans, affordable health insurance is made possible through their employers. 98 percent of all companies with 200 employees or more provide health insurance to their employees. By 2019, another 9 million with employer-provided insurance will join their ranks. People employed by large companies, companies having 200 or more employees are fortunate, in that their employer is able to provide health insurance at a discount. The number of people enrolled gives them this leverage. Up until recently, if you weren’t employed by a large company, health insurance was too expensive to obtain. That is now slated for change, big time!
The medically uninsured are so either because they are too poor and unemployed to purchase health insurance, or they are too poor, employed by a small business that can’t afford to provide insurance without severely impacting their bottom line, or are self-employed individuals who don’t make enough money to purchase affordable basic health insurance.
Aside from being able to receive treatment for an illness when it occurs, those with medical insurance are able to get essential, early preventative treatment. Those who don’t have medical insurance will wait until the illness is critical and then go with their crisis to a hospital emergency ward. Much of the high cost of health care is precisely because of this practice. Emergency room care is the most expensive treatment you can get. If these people, waiting until their disease is an emergency, had affordable insurance, instead of lifting the cost of health care to all time highs, they can go to a physician while the condition is still easily, and relatively inexpensively, manageable. With health insurance, they can receive the many benefits of preventative medicine.
In addition to the practical consequences of not having affordable insurance, there is the moral shame that so many people – 25 million at least – must suffer with no help from their communities or their country. Life takes second place to money, and when life is viewed as cheap, the moral integrity of a country sinks. Bitterness, hatred and envy rise. The security of a nation can be threatened when too many of its people are so alienated. More than once has a crime been committed to get funds to pay for a sick child that health insurance coverage could have paid. For a safer, more caring society, affordable insurance is a must.
To take care of this problem, the people of the United States have just enacted a law, enabling all of its citizens to receive health insurance. $350 billion has been allocated to subsidize the poor who cannot afford health insurance. Self-employed people and small businesses are also being given an opportunity to obtain affordable insurance, through the creation of health insurance exchanges. Using the power of numbers to bring quantity to health insurers, exchanges will be able to offer small businesses and self-employed individuals medical insurance at somewhat the same rate charged employees of large corporations. Provisions are also being made to help Medicare patients weather the ups and downs inherit in the various Medicare plans. One of the most admirable provisions of the new law prevents insurers from dropping a sick person and prevents refusals to sell a policy to those with pre-existing conditions. Rates for the sick will not be any greater than for the well. The new Health Reform Law has made the United States a more humane nation.