Is Healthcare back in the spotlight?
Â Ninety days after the signing of the Healthcare Bill, much of the nation is still in the dark as to its effects on their personal lives
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
Â As the government ponders healthcare care reform, many still wonder, ‘what will it do for me and my family?’ Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama commented on the continuous effort to implement the new law and announced the release of new regulations implementing the patients’ bill of rights protections included in the Affordable Care Act.
Â The President met with Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, state insurance commissioners, and insurance company CEOs to lay out a plan to inform the public while warning insurance companies that ‘business as usual’ is over. But idealistic as it sounds, meetings in the Roosevelt Room at the White House will not deter rate gouging insurance companies no more than similar meetings helped to stem predatory practices in the mortgage and banking industries.
Â History has taught us that greed does stop voluntarily; it has to be reined in by an equal force–the force of the law. And because of the litigious nature of this society, be assured that lawyers as well as insurance companies will ultimately benefit. (There is an adage: ‘after an accident, see your lawyer before your doctor.’)
Â According to statistics, foreign drug companies are reaping enormous benefits selling drugs to Americans; prices have continued to rise for individual insurance premiums; the medical community is overly apprehensive about malpractice lawsuits; about one in 5 health insurance claims is handled incorrectly and the list goes on and on. Even the Red Cross was fined $16 million over blood screening and a organ recipient received the lungs of a 30-year smoker.
Â In addition to the meeting with the officials and members of the insurance industry, the President later spoke to an inclusive audience that also including Americans have already benefited from the new law, some members of Congress, consumer and disease groups, labor and the business communities.
Â Like with almost every facet of life, acquiring and understanding the proper health information, can not only prevent catastrophic illnesses and save lives, but it also provides relevant information on a variety of health-related topics, such as specific diseases and conditions, family health (prenatal care, pregnancy, newborns, children and adolescent health, pregnancy prevention), environmental health, and workplace health and safety. And that may be just the beginning; the President’s position is that in order to do the aforementioned things or to be pro-active, it takes adequate and affordable health insurance coverage.
Â It may be remembered that as a candidate, then Senator Obama often referenced the quality of healthcare coverage that the federal government provided for its employees including, of course, senators. And he equated that with the coverage, he would fight for, to see that every American got that same quality, affordable healthcare coverage.
Â And as president, he never wavered one iota. President Obama called healthcare reform “a moral imperative” and asked the public to increase pressure on Congress to act on healthcare reform. There were naysayers, but the public did and the Congress acted. Now, his move is implementation of a hard-won battle and that is what the meeting last Tuesday in the Roosevelt Room was all about.