I was talking with one of my friends this afternoon, someone who voted for President Obama, is a loyal Democrat, and who very much wants to see health care reform. Our conversation on the subject began because he has a niggling medical problem, the treatment for which his physician referred him to another doctor to perform.
Well, it turned out that the second doctor doesn’t accept his health insurance, so my friend will have to get another referral, to another doctor who can treat the problem, but one who does accept his insurance. Annoying, but not really all that uncommon. He is also urinated off because, despite the fact that his portion of his health insurance costs him $61 a week, it still doesn’t cover everything, and he has a co-payment he’ll have to make. the government, he says, just has to “do something” about health care.
OK, fine, that’s what he thinks. But, other than requiring “shall issue” health insurance — insurance companies could not deny coverage for pre-existing conditions — and a requirement that companies above a certain size must offer health insurance for their employees and the employees must carry some form of health insurance, every plan out there, whether what President Obama wanted, what passed the House of Representatives, or what will (hopefully not) pass the Senate, every one of them is based on maintaining the same private health insurance system.
In other words, what my friend complained about isn’t going to be addressed! It will still cost him money — probably more money — and there’s nothing in any plan which would eliminate co-payments. Nor is there any particular guarantee that medical professionals will accept more different insurance carriers; he could well have the same problem of the doctor he wants to see not accepting the insurance his employer provides. Right now, right now, there are many physicians who don’t accept Medicare or Medicaid patients, don’t accept the government’s insurance, for one reason or another.
It seems to me that there are a lot of people who expect the government to “do something” about health care, like my friend, but, judging by the way things are going, if the government does “do something” — heaven forfend! — a whole lot of the supporters (already a minority now) are going to be very disappointed in just what does get done.