When I owned my own business, getting health insurance was always a chancy proposition. Usually the most affordable policy I could find was a catastrophic policy, and I had to switch these every few years because the rates would inevitably skyrocket.
In 1991, my son was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his arm. The doctors caught it early, it was well encapsulated, and his treatment was successful. From an insurance standpoint, the policy had just barely been in effect long enough before he was diagnosed so that it didn’t count as a pre-existing condition. I still had to pay thousands of dollars a year in deductibles and co-pays, but that was insignificant compared to the hundreds of thousands I would have had to pay if the insurance company had decided not to cover it.
How has this informed my thinking on health care?
- People should be able to get the health care and treatment they need without going bankrupt.
- No one should have to make a choice between groceries and medication. Unless you have good insurance, the price of pharmaceuticals has soared in recent years. We need to find ways to get those costs under control. A large part of the problem is due to lawmakers who take big donations from Big Pharma.
- The Affordable Care Act is the only protection for many people with pre-existing conditions.
- The middle of a pandemic is not the time to cut Medicaid.
We need to come up with a better way to make health care available and affordable. Having your health insurance tied only to your employer is proving to be a bad idea in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated layoffs. Every industrialized country except the United States has universal health care. The interesting thing is that all their systems are different because they are based on the historic health care system in each country. We need a plan that can take Americans from where we are today to where we need to be.
If elected, I’ll work to make sure that our state has a plan to cover all of its uninsured individuals. Before the pandemic, an estimated 750,000 Ohioans lacked health insurance. This figure is much higher now, which makes it urgent that we act quickly! It’s cheaper to provide health care that emphasizes preventive care and healthy aging than it is to have uninsured people come to the emergency room in a crisis. The emergency room is the most expensive and inefficient way to deliver health care.
Our next step is to offer this type of care to those who are underinsured—folks who might have catastrophic coverage but not much else. Providing them with better access to health care would help make the general population healthier, which in turn would drive down costs. Other ways to drive down costs would be to give the agency supervising this care the power to negotiate with providers and pharmaceutical companies on charges.
Over time, people who are currently satisfied with their employer-provided health insurance would tend to migrate to this new plan for a variety of reasons. Some people will want to retire before they are eligible for Medicare. Some people will want to pursue their entrepreneurial dream and start a small business. If this health care plan can be made attractive enough, some people will decide that it is better to be covered by this plan than by their employer’s plan. Together, we can develop health care options that are better than our current messy, expensive, and inefficient system.