Thursday, June 28, 2007

Universal Health Care?

I have not seen SiCKO yet, I hear it is getting great reviews and have seen Michael Moore all over television promoting his movie and have heard the excerpts of insurance claims workers that are truly horrific. In the movie Moore explains the history of the HMO, well, I am one of the "lucky" members of an HMO. While I am grateful to have any health care, the hoops that you must jump through in order to have your health care covered are outrageous. You cannot take an ambulance ride without getting it pre-approved (so if you are unconscious and are taken from a car accident, you won't be covered b/c you were pre-approved for the ride), general care has to be referred by a GP (and by general care I mean my yearly OB/GYN appointment), but since that referral is only active for three months, you have to see your GP EVERY YEAR (and pay the lovely co-pay) just to go to your other "specialist" and pay their co-pay as well. Now most people can choose to pay more for a non-HMO plan or pay out of pocket for services, but how is that fair to people who work hard and can't afford that extra cost? All in all, I've realized that HMO's are wonderful if you never get sick or do not have any sort of pre-existing condition that requires regular maintenance, but is universal health care the answer?

I have lived in England and benefited from their universal health care, and while I had lovely experiences of getting my yearly exams with no wait and no fuss, I have heard of people with cancer who cannot receive chemo because it is not deemed "life threatening" and of the long, long, long, waiting lists for people who require surgery not deemed "necessary" by the health care system. There is a reason why the richer set choose to go to private practices in order to pay out of pocket to be seen immediately, which brings us back to health care for the wealthy, essentially the same system we have here, so what is the answer? Maybe Michael Moore's new movie gives us some answers, but I'm not holding my breath.

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