Can We Wait Until 2014?
Oct 14th, 2009 | by Chris Whistler
Category : POV on Health Care Reform
The US Senate Finance Committee just approved a health care plan that includes a provision that would significantly expand Medicaid. This is great on so many levels. However, it has one flaw. That being, the full expansion wouldn’t actually start until 2014. Is it just me, or does that seem to contradict the whole idea of protecting the most vulnerable first?
Yes, it’s true that we’ve been trying to fix the health care system since at least 1948. So from one point of view, spending another few years trying to get it right doesn’t seem out of line. But imagine if all you hear around you is that health care reform is going to make a difference in the lives of the 47 million uninsured Americans right now, but then you find out that you have to wait longer than everybody else. Then, to make matters worse, your income is among the lowest in America and is the primary reason you are uninsured in the first place.
The unfortunate truth about this health care plan is that once again, those who are most in need are expected to wait longer than the rest of us. This includes hard working people with low incomes who just don’t happen to have dependent children – the current ticket for most people to qualify for Medicaid. And parents who are doing all they can to make ends meet for their children who are blocked from Medicaid coverage because their very limited income is deemed too high for them to qualify. The list goes on.
Where’s the justice in waiting to expand Medicaid until 2014? Or, maybe more pragmatically, where is the preventive care and coordination that is going to enable the right care at the right time in the right setting – you know, rather than causing the first stop to be in an emergency room after waiting until the cancer spreads, the diabetes worsens, or the heart attack occurs.
Doesn’t it make sense to have health care coverage for those that need it most first?