It seems that the more discussion there is in regard to health care reform, the more discussion there is in regard to health care reform cons. Undoubtedly, there has been a need for some type of health care over haul. Now that health care reform is a reality many Americans are faced with determining the pros and cons and how they will be affected beyond simple access to health care. In this article, we’ll discuss different cons or concerns by those opposing and supporting health care reform and focus on the “biggest con of all”.
Pros typically go hand in hand with cons. However, based on numerous emails and request we’ll focus on the biggest con associated with health care reform and provide a follow up article addressing pros (aside from the following couple of pros/reasons for a reform).
1) As of 2008 there were more than forty million Americans who were uninsured.
2) A 2009 American journal of medicine study revealed that sixty two percent of 2007 bankruptcies were the related to medical expenses.
Obviously with so many being uninsured and filing bankruptcy, one would say that there is definitely a need for health care reform. However, when we take a closer look, we see different ways that the change will affect us as well as shed a light on deeper issues. First, the forty plus million uninsured individuals could be somewhat tainted in that these figures likely include undocumented immigrants. Second, of the 2007 bankruptcies (sixty two percent of which were related to medical expenses) over sixty percent of the individuals had medical insurance!
That leads us to one of the biggest cons and one that should be reviewed very closely. That is insurance ignorance (being insured without the knowledge of how your plan works). Sixty percent of 2007 bankruptcies were medical related and sixty percent of those had medical insurance. The problem here is quite simple in that individuals securing health coverage are doing so without truly knowing what their coverage means. Does that sound familiar? How about the recent housing implosion? The housing crisis stemmed from many different contributors.
However, it is a widely held view that many new homeowners simply had little knowledge of the terms of their loans and/or those who held the knowledge (lenders, appraisers, originators etc) failed to do an appropriate job in educating or even attempting to educate potential new homeowners. Many times an individual may be “covered” by an insurance carrier. However, in an attempt to have low monthly premiums, the individual may choose to have a high deductible.
A monthly premium of $100 or less sounds fantastic until a major health issue or accident arises and the individual must come up with thousands in order to meet a deductible. Bear in mind that a car accident causing the need for major medical work can cost $3,000-$5,000 per day in hospital stay alone (this does not include the actual surgery to repair the damage). In most cases individuals have no idea how much a hospital stay will run them nor do they have any idea of the bankruptcy statistics.
There are certainly other cons associated with health care reform. Some include longer wait times for individuals to receive diagnosis due to an increased number of insured individuals. However, the “pro” ponents of health care reform would say that this opens the door for more jobs. Other cons include the growth of the federal deficit and increase in taxes we pay. As well as it being difficult to administer because it is too hard to determine what type of coverage should be the minimum guaranteed.
There are many more cons to reform. However, the one that we find most troubling is the knowledge of what an individual will receive in their newly gained policy. Let’s not walk down the path of mandating insurance for all individuals without mandating certain information that must be shared with the end consumer. The statistics speak for themselves. More than half of the bankruptcies of 2007 were medical related and more than half of those individuals had coverage. It may be possible to help individuals find credit relief prior to their downfall. However, it will start with the “reformers” implementing health plans and health education based on the statistics that we currently have at our fingertips.