As the Supreme Court begins debate on the Healthcare Reform law, I wanted to take a moment to once again declare my strong support for it.
This support is very personal for me. My sister, Linda Bloom, might be alive today if this law was in place in 1990. Linda was unable to get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, even though she had a job and could afford the premiums. Her employer did not provide, nor did it make available, any type of group coverage and she earned too much money to be eligible for Medicaid, but not nearly enough to pay doctor or hospital bills. When the benign tumor on her pituitary gland caused her to lose sight in one eye, she lost her job and became eligible for Medicaid, but by then, it was too late and she died following an 8-hour surgery. She was 50 years old.
In addition to my personal reasons, unlike most Americans (according to recent surveys), I have taken the time find out how the 2010 healthcare reform has already changed the lives of millions.
It has brought insurance coverage to more than 2.6 million previously uninsured young adults now that children up to age 26 can remain on their parent’s policies.
It has cut prescription costs by a total of $3 billion for millions of seniors by closing the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D prescription coverage.
It has eliminated co-pays on preventative services such as child immunizations and cancer screenings.
It has eliminated lifetime claims caps for more than 80 million policyholders.
In 2014, millions more Americans will be relieved of the threat that their insurer can dump them or jack up their premium to unaffordable heights just because they have fallen ill or been injured.
No longer will people be bankrupted because they have a bad gene or a bad accident.
According to a Mercer study, backed up by reports by CalPERS and the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been a slowdown in the rise of cost of health benefits directly attributed to the healthcare reform act.
The reason we have to have the Mandate is because younger healthier people tend not to buy insurance. If we have to rely on older people buying insurance, the premiums will skyrocket to unaffordable levels for everyone.
Conservative analysts Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office Analyst and Vernon Smith, a Nobel economics laureate at Chapman University, wrote an op-ed in the WSJ that the benefits of the individual mandate would cost insurers $360 billion over 10 years without the mandate, but produce a gain of $6 billion with it. For insurers, they conclude that the mandate nearly perfectly covers the costs.
As an employer with 19 people on our payroll, I provide health insurance for everyone in our company. It is expensive, but it is well worth the peace of mind it brings them, and me.
Full implementation of the healthcare law may cost my firm, and me personally, a few thousand dollars a year. It is an expense I will gladly pay, knowing that someone else’s sister won’t die because health care was unattainable.