We are human…
I am right smack in the middle of this mess. It is a mess and it is so disheartening. I have grown up around the world of healthcare. My mother is a nurse and has worked for Greenville Hospital System as long as I can remember. She has worked as nurse manager in the operating room, worked in the emergency room, became a nurse practitioner, and has served in many free medical clinics.
As a new media marketer, I have clients that have many different positions in this healthcare debate. I work with a hospital association (SCHA) that advocates for the patient, major hospital system, insurance provider, insurance broker, and I am a small business owner paying my own medical insurance. I see many different view-points of this debate.
Each month, I write a big check for my HSA plan to cover me and my wife. It is expensive and for a while Sarah and I went without insurance. I am also an advocate for access to care. I have produced more short documentaries showing those who cannot and will not ever be able to afford health insurance and decent medical care. I also have sat in the emergency departments and listened to my mother tell stories of those who have abused the system…from Medicaid, Medicare, and the list goes on. So why do I write about this topic…because I am human.
When you sift through the semantics and the political maneuvering…the bottom-line, we are humans. We as humans should be able to have access to those who can provide care. I remember doing an interview with a woman who had lost her job, looking for work, and all she needed was her high-blood pressure medication. She was so embarrassed to ask for help. This free medical clinic provided six months of medication for her…and let’s think how this has helped. If she did not receive this medication…her risk of having a heart attack increase dramatically. If she has a heart attack, 911 is called, she would be transported to an ER/ED, put into a critical-care unit, and the bill starts mounting up. Guess what…she would not be able to pay. The hospital would have to eat the cost of these services. Simple preventative medication and access to this care can prevent thousands of dollars in written off billing. This scenario happens everyday.
When I mean that humans deserve access to care, I believe in preventative care. Access to preventative care and patient education is key to the success of tomorrow healthcare system. I believe in providing affordable, competitive insurance to those across the board. Why is it that the one sector of business in American, the one that drives this economy, cannot afford access to affordable insurance. Small business like me spend more on expensive insurance premiums, these resources can detract from innovation. Yes…writing the check each month to a insurance provider can seriously destroy the entrepreneurial experience because it is such a huge economic barrier of entry for care.
When I interview these individuals in free medical clinics, or those who have used Medicaid to have a child…I think that could be me. They look like me…they are fighting through this troubling economic time period plagued with the healthcare debate. The more time we spend debating, fighting each other in court…the more money is spent not solving the real problem, providing an affordable healthcare solution to those who can provide to care.
This debate is driving innovation right out the door. Small practices are having a hard time surviving during this debate wondering if they should join the big box hospitals to whether the storm. Small practices that want to be innovative yet cannot survive in this costly debate.
I will say it here…I may not agree with the complete healthcare package but I believe that this package has forced reform. This country needs reform in healthcare. There are too many americans without access to care and they are the same ones who are driving up costs. It is a cycle, lack of affordable coverage that leads to individuals treating the local emergency rooms as primary care physicians. Lack of coverage has led to less access to preventative care. Less affordable coverage is actually the main reason why our premiums are too damn expensive. Please, re-read that last sentence…it may not make sense, but think about it a bit.
Just a few weeks ago, Sarah and I found out we have been able to finally get pregnant. I run a small business and we are crunching numbers to make sure we have our finances in order to cover the cost of the next 7 months…then transitioning to coverage for three people. It is expensive for a small business and an entrepreneur. It is necessary. But, imagine those who cannot even consider to have this conversation. Imagine removing programs that provide care for those who are having children and cannot afford insurance. They are all around us. Young families just starting out and they look like you and I. They are not taking advantage of the system, but they want to have a healthy family. Will removing the access to care help the state and federal bottom-line, if that child is not born in a manner that is provided the best possible care…that child will end up in the ER/ED and drive up costs for unpaid services.
*The image above is from a two-day free medical clinic that provided thousands of people with free medical, dental, and vision care in 2010.