As a pharmacist, I think three items in our paper today (May 2) about healthcare are worth a comment.
A page A6 poll article states 3/4 of the public want federal protection from large unexpected bills from out-of-network doctors and hospitals. Sixty-eight percent want lawmakers to act to lower prescription drug costs, and 64 percent want them to protect the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of pre-existing condition coverage.
Flip to page B4 Digest column for more. Trump administration and Republicans want a federal court to overturn the Affordable Care Act which could leave millions (including myself) uninsured. On the same page, the Congressional Budget Office took a look at the pros and cons of changing the current mix of private and public financing versus some sort of national health program. They concluded such a switch could be complicated and potentially disruptive. No kidding. And it’s not like our current system isn't already complicated and disruptive.
Consider what happens when you lose your job (and the insurance it provides) and are offered COBRA insurance you can’t afford.
Consider a young couple who want to get married before the baby comes but can’t because pregnancy is a pre-existing condition to the father-to-be’s insurer.
Consider the cancer patient whose bills have maxed out the $2-million coverage cap leaving them uninsured.
The system for health care in our country is already complex and disruptive. Drug and insurance company executives are getting rich; patients choose between medicine or buying groceries or paying the rent; the working poor and not-quite-old-enough for Medicare can’t afford a doctor’s visit. And we all have a yearly headache trying to figure out which plan is workable this year for our family.
Our system is not so great and I think we can do better. Let’s have that conversation.
Karen Clausing, Charleston