By Tammie Allegro
There has been a lot of talk about making health insurance mandatory and charging a fee for those who don’t carry it. And there are arguments to be made on both sides of the fence. So many people go through life thinking how things will directly affect them and their inner circle. Yet, very few people view life with an understanding for the other guy.
One of the controversial issues of healthcare reform is the provision that makes purchasing health insurance mandatory for all Americans, with fines for those who do not comply. Many bristle at the idea of being forced by the government to buy health insurance if they feel they don’t need it or simply don’t want it. But the simple fact is that premiums from healthy individuals help to offset costs for the chronically sick.
In a day and age when life has been made PC to the point of absurdity, people take this issue of “brother’s keeper” very seriously. It is easy for someone to ignore the issues facing another person, as long as it doesn’t affect them directly. Long gone are the days of taking time to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. In my opinion, that is the primary reason why this potential law has so many people aflutter.
On one hand, there is the healthy single man who only really needs preventative care, if he ever uses that part of his coverage. Why should he have to pay for insurance for something that might never happen? He will probably never get sick enough to really need that insurance, but his premiums offset care for those who frequently get sick.
Then, there is the family of four. One parent and one child are both chronically ill. They cannot get good coverage with low deductibles because the system isn’t balanced. Why should their child go without much-needed care just because some don’t want to pay for insurance they may never need?
Many states, including the state that I live in, have mandatory car insurance requirements. In addition, it requires fire and flood insurance on homes, as well as life insurance. There are two reasons why people pay for insurance. One reason is the “What if” scenario: “What if my house burns down?” “What if my spouse passes away?” The second reason is because it levels the cost for everyone paying in. If every person who was using the medical industry paid for insurance, the premiums and coverage would improve tenfold.
We live in a free country, but that freedom isn’t free. There are costs associated with everything we do and everything we have. Can one really put a price tag on the value of saving one life? My uncle was recently diagnosed with cancer. Due to unforeseen circumstances, he doesn’t have insurance. It has been so hard to watch him not get the care he deserves as a human being just because he is “uninsured.” He has worked his whole life and has always had insurance. But, now when he really needs it, the insurance isn’t there.
As a chronically ill person, what do you think about mandatory health insurance coverage? Do you feel like it only makes things fair? Or do you feel guilty for needing the assistance in the first place? Is there a better answer to our current healthcare situation?