I have been studying the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since it was first crafted by President Obama and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. Now that the ACA has become the law of the land, I am watching its impact upon individuals and the whole society. My original sense was—and remains—that the ACA is primarily an updated insurance program. It is not healthcare reform in the basic sense, other than in its attempt to provide coverage for more people with the same old insurance model we’ve been living with for decades. The ACA is going to be costly to the government (and indirectly to taxpayers) and it is a boon to the insurance industry. At this point, only time will tell if it adds any real “health” care and supports preventive services as it has been purported.
Decades ago, I became a proponent of a preventive approach to healthcare, this during an era when “fix-it” care was the standard and there were few alternatives to what is frequently referred to as the allopathic or Western medical model. My nutritional and detox approach to natural and preventive care was not widely respected then, and even today the massive medical, pharmaceutical, food and other linked industries are doing little to promote its expanded use by U.S. Citizens. I find it ironic that “preventive care” is listed as one of the core priorities of the ACA, yet we’ll need to see what transpires this year.
IS THIS HEALTHCARE REFORM???
Let’s consider a more sensible and economical way to cover more people and spend less money. Keeping people healthy is first and foremost up to each of us as individuals, and to parents for their children, of course. There is a great deal each and all of us can do to promote our good health—even in our senior years—and avoid many costly visits to physicians, specialists, ERs, surgical centers, and the pharmacy. Yet, even with all of our best preventive efforts, there are inevitable occasions with some of us experiencing problems that need expensive testing and treatments. In this respect, I agree with the ACA that everyone needs “catastrophic” coverage to prevent the huge costs of hospital and emergency care, where costs have also gotten out of hand. Also, having basic insurance can allow better rates for many services because companies contract for special, lower rates with hospitals and labs..
In my view, we need to be thinking about our health care very differently than is the current approach. I think we need to think “car insurance” for our “body vehicles” as well as our autos. We can require real “insurance” to cover serious accidents and injuries to our selves, others, our cars and other’s property. Let’s have the ACA mandate and cover people for real mishaps and major medical costs. That’s the basic plan that will protect people from the “medical bankruptcies” that are common nowadays.
Beyond “body vehicle” insurance, I recommend the rest of our coverage be whatever healthcare coverage we want and can afford—we would leave this aspect up to the individual and/or the employers. If someone wants more benefits, they can buy a fancier policy, just as people decide how much they wish to spend on their cars or their insurance coverage—some have a full policy that covers everything, while others pay less to not worry about dents and collisions. Still, the body is protected from catastrophic loss.
In past decades and really since its advent, health insurance has been seen as a “benefit” to use, and not just insurance for covering accidents, injuries, or major illnesses; we have called this “major medical.” We have used it to support our health care, often losing sight that our lifestyle and the choices we make is our true health insurance. Let’s all care for our health, as well as the other loved ones in our sphere, and we will reach our goal—better health for less expense!