The Downfall of Health Care

May 19, 2011
By Brianna.Grunewald BRONZE, Wilsonville, Oregon
Brianna.Grunewald BRONZE, Wilsonville, Oregon
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Healthcare Inquiry
Currently, many Americans are living without healthcare. Healthcare insurance has become very strict, and people are suffering, and not getting the proper care they need, due to not being able to afford it. I believe that everyone should have the right to healthcare, and no one should have the fear of not being able to afford what they need. I have heard many stories where people who have been diagnosed with a disease, and they aren’t able to afford health insurance because of the expense of it, and the expense of medicine. I also don’t believe in not being able to get be provided with health insurance if you’re already sick; everyone should have the right to proper care. I am interested in this topic mainly because I have seen many shows on people who have lost their loved ones, and could potentially lose their life because of not being able to afford the care they need. One woman, who was diagnosed with leukemia, wakes up every day in fear of not being able to afford all the treatments she needs to overcome this disease. No one should have to live this way, and I think this a subject that should definitely be taken into attention.
I’m aware that there are reasons for there being really strict rules for the healthcare policy, but I believe that other things can be done, so that people aren’t suffering, and in constant worry of not being able to afford the care they need. I still have questions on why there has to be such strict rules, for example, why was there a decision made that if you get hurt or sick, why aren’t you able to get healthcare at that point? No one is able to determine when they may become sick or get hurt. Most people simply just can’t afford it, so when those people become sick or get hurt, I believe they should be given proper care regardless. The healthcare needs to be researched on some more, and people need to consider the people who are suffering day in and day out, and losing their lives, as well as losing loved ones; no one wants to go through that.

Exploring the Crisis in Healthcare
Once I figured out what I wanted my topic to be (healthcare policy), I was able to come up with many questions. Although I had many questions, it was almost too much, to where I wasn’t able to narrow it down enough to get the facts I need. Some questions I had were “who determines who gets healthcare,” “what is currently going on with the healthcare crisis,” “what age group is suffering the most from the healthcare crisis,” etc. The problems with my questions were that they were too broad, and I wasn’t finding the information I needed. I knew that once I was able to find the information I was looking for, I would be able to go off the facts I was finding, and it would help me lead into something else. It took me awhile to come up with questions that weren’t too broad, and would help lead my research, and some of the questions I came up with were based on the right of having healthcare to the people living in poverty. That led to basing my research mainly on children uninsured. I chose to mainly focus on this because I believe that it is a huge problem we have going on in our world, where people who really can’t afford proper care are suffering. I started my research with finding information on the current crisis, which led me to information on children living without healthcare, and the vast numbers of uninsured children. The website I found most helpful for my topic was “Facts on File: Issues and Controversies.” Healthcare represents both issues and controversies going on, so it helped explain what that is in healthcare, and the arguments and different viewpoints involved. I also found that “Opposing Viewpoints” was also helpful to get different viewpoints. The best way I believe to understand something is by looking at both sides of the story. Also, looking at the pros and cons of the topic will help get you farther in your research. I was really stuck on thinking that everyone should have the right to healthcare no matter what, but I needed to do some research on what the negatives were for everyone having the right to healthcare. I was able to find information for both sides, more for the importance of all children being provided with care, but also why it hasn’t been able to happen. People who are able to afford the care, but don’t need the insurance at the time, is part of the reason why healthcare has become so difficult to have. Also people who are taking advantage of programs like SCHIP is another reason. I chose to research on this topic is because of recent documentaries I have seen on people suffering from not having healthcare, getting blamed for things they didn’t do, and going broke having to pay for everything out of pocket. I also found similar information on this topic during my research.

After I had done a lot of research, I was able to find out what is expected in the future with the healthcare policy, and what steps are going to be taken to help this issue. My goal was to find as much information possible on the healthcare crisis going on in our world, and even though I wasn’t able to find out about everything, and all the reasons for it, I learned more than I ever thought I would.

Health Insurance in Today’s World
Our health insurance currently in America is not successful. There are millions of people living without health insurance, and the numbers are increasing. “A record 46.6 million had no health insurance in 2005, and more than 8 million of those uninsured Americans were under the age of 18” (The Uninsured). The reason behind children being uninsured is due to their parents not having jobs to provide healthcare benefits, as well as their parents not being able to afford health care insurance on their own.

Although, since 1965, children whose families have earned less than the federal poverty level have qualified for free health care through Medicaid, a government-run entitlement program. The government does not provide the care itself, but it pays physicians directly for care. Without health insurance, even the most basic check-up can be extremely expensive for a lower-income family, and more complicated procedures, such as surgeries, are out of the question. “Medicaid has been named a success” (Universal Healthcare). However, in the mid-1990’s, some politicians said that it was not fair that the bar for Medicaid eligibility was set so low. Most families earning twice, or even three times the federal poverty level often had a hard time securing healthcare coverage for their children. Then a new program came out, SCHIP (State Children’s Health insurance Program). This program paid for the healthcare coverage of children whose families earned too much money to qualify for Medicaid, yet could not afford to pay for private care. “Between 1997 and 2006, SCHIP received an average yearly budget of $4 billion; by 2006, SCHIP boasted an enrollment of more than 6 million children” (Healthcare for Children).

In 2007, SCHIP was heading towards being cut off. In its renewal bill, Congress proposed raising SCHIP’s budget to approximately $12 billion a year for the next 5 years. President Bush disagreed with this, and he wanted to set the SCHIP budget at about $6 billion for the next five years. Congress ended up passing its $60 billion proposal in September 2007. President Bush vetoed the bill the following month. Supporters of this issue believe that we need to supply as many children possible. The question is, should SCHIP’s budget be expanded dramatically to $60 billion, or slightly expanded to $30 billion? In my opinion, either one could be taking a risk. If it is expanded to only $30 billion, then SCHIP wouldn’t be able to take in more children, but if the budget was expanded to $60 billion, there are risks that come with that.

Opponents believe that SCHIP is already big enough, providing health insurance to families making as much as 350% of the federal poverty level in certain states. Supporters say that up to $6 million children will be added to the SCHIP through their proposed expansion; under Bush’s planned SCHIP budget, just 100,000 more children are expected to enroll in the program. The federal government should be providing health care for as many underprivileged children as it can. Many advocates argue that, compared to the hundreds of billions of dollars the U.S is spending on the war in Iraq, $12 billion a year for SCHIP is next to nothing. I agree with this because the war in Iraq and people being provided with healthcare is the same importance to me. There are not always positive things happening in Iraq, and sometimes money is being thrown out when our troops are losing the battle; money to save people’s lives, which is guaranteed, is just as important.

The major goal for healthcare reform is to cover the enormous numbers of uninsured. The questions that come with that, is how big is that group of people? Who are they? And how important is it to cover all or most of them? In my opinion, I believe that no matter who you are, everyone should have the right to health insurance, and should be provided with good care. If people can’t afford health insurance, then I believe it’s critical to do everything so that whoever can’t afford health insurance are assured the care they need; especially children who have not control whatsoever on being provided with health insurance or not. I have heard of many people who have lost loved ones and have suffered due to not being able to afford what they need to get better. Waking up every morning knowing it’s going to be a constant struggle to get through the day. No one should have to live this way, and our country should be doing everything in its power to finally fight back, arguing that every American living should have access to health insurance.

Although I argue that it is so important that everyone have health insurance, there are things holding the government back. Critics point out that the ranks of the uninsured include many people who have chosen to not have coverage or are only temporarily uninsured: workers who could afford to pay, but decline their employer’s coverage; the self-employed who choose not to pay for more expensive individual coverage; healthy young people who prefer not to buy insurance they may never need; people who are changing jobs; poor people who are eligible for Medicaid but have failed to enroll, and also the illegal immigrants. People come illegally to America to experience what America is known for, so I believe that America needs to prove its greatness, and provide for as many people possible despite being an illegal immigrant.

This specifically doesn’t apply directly to children living without health insurance, but it does apply to them in a way because listed above are some of the reasons children don’t have health insurance. I believe that the government needs to come up with a plan that will benefit the children living without health insurance, and people who can afford it, but choose not to, will face the consequences later of needing it, but not having access to it. A plan that could be successful is having states come up with their own healthcare plan, and come to some type of agreement on how that will work for their state. Another alternative method is bringing in more money for things like SCHIP, and having more programs to provide for the uninsured. It’s important that people who can afford health insurance take advantage of it, because you never know when you may need it, and those people should be thinking about the less fortunate as well as children, and how grateful they would be to have health insurance.

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