Healthcare – The Great Debate

There has been so much debate over President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. As I listen to the different points of view I realize, as always, it’s mostly your party affiliation that makes your decision. Generally if you are an Obama supporter you like it and if you’re not you don’t. However it shouldn’t be that simple. The bill is huge, and unless you have read approximately all 2,074 pages how can you really make an informed decision on whether you agree or not? The whole bill is online for anyone to read however it would be nice to have a five or 10 page (or less) abridged version….a bullet pointed synopsis of exactly what it means for Americans. I started this week to read five pages a day. While it will take me a while, at least I will be able to make an informed opinion on what is written. I have always supported universal healthcare. No one should have to worry about getting sick – as the worrying will make you sick! What I know and like thus far is this: 30 million uninsured Americans will have healthcare. No one with a pre-existing condition will be denied health care; families with children under 26 can keep their children on their health insurance policies; and prescription drug costs would go down for seniors. In addition, I am thrilled that President Obama has consulted with leaders in the alternative healthcare field such as Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Dean Ornish about it. Senator Tom Harkin has been a longtime supporter of alternative healthcare and proposed having things like massage, acupuncture, naturopathy and herbal medicine covered. The burden on insurance companies and the system can be greatly reduced if people take care of themselves by keeping their weight within a healthy range, eat right, exercise and practice stress reduction. There are so many ways to stay healthy, and regain health if illness strikes, by various methods of healing – including: herbs, aromatherapy, energy healing, acupuncture, homeopathy and naturopathy, to name a few. Education also needs to be part of the plan (it may be but I haven’t read that part yet:). As a holistic wellness consultant, I find that many people really need guidance about their health and lifestyle and even a mentor to help them make changes.
What I don’t like is that the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies helped write this bill however I understand that President Obama had to make some compromises to get this passed.

Much of what I have heard from people who oppose it are the same issues…..”people shouldn’t be forced to have to pay for healthcare. What if you can’t pay”? If you can’t afford it appears you will get help much like the Medicaid system. The other issue is that there will be people abusing and mooching off the system. Yes there are people who abuse the system and will be until the end of time. That needs to be dealt with and policed but we cannot deny human beings coverage because there are some bad apples. In addition, you can’t throw stones at poor people who need help. You never know when you may need government assistance someday.

The other issue is that some people may not want healthcare or to even participate but they are being forced. I have to read more about this. My initial reaction is that no one should be forced to take it. But on the flip side we all get sick at one point or another. So clearly at some point we are all going to need some form of healthcare. If you are in the 1% that can pay your bills cash, great, however, most people can’t and one visit to a hospital can bankrupt you.

Clearly this is a heated issue and there are pros and cons of this bill. You will never please everyone. My hope is that over time, as with social security when it was started, the bill can be tweaked to further benefit Americans. Information is power so the first step is to be informed. We can’t complain about the problem unless we are willing to be part of the solution.

Be well,
Maria

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