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One Life Coach’s perspective on the health insurance debate

Today is the last day I, my husband and my college age daughter will have the privilege of having health insurance coverage, previously supplied by my husband’s employer. My husband was laid-off just about two months ago from the local government. He is a building inspector. Weighing in on the health care debate, one might think that in my current position, losing my health care insurance, I would be in favor of passing the public option health plan.

It would be so easy for me to say, yes, help me get coverage so I may feel more comfortable and won’t worry if I get sick or if my daughter or husband gets ill. It would be so simple. Having known this was coming since May and consequently watching the frequent publicized disagreements about a massive plan to insure most of the uninsured, afforded me the opportunity to look at a much bigger picture, than just my own personal situation.

Life Coaches, such as myself assist people in uncovering their potential. I gave serious thought on how this relates to our current health insurance crisis and the uninsured people in America. This big picture thinking set me on a path to wonder how the poor, underemployed and unemployed end up needing such basic rights as being able to receive good, quality affordable health care coverage.

America is a place of dreams and opportunities. Many people come to this fair land knowing that if you work hard you can be and do anything you desire. Well at least it has been that way for centuries.

Which brings me to the public health care option. When did we become a nation of accepting the mediocre. When we hand out health insurance run by our government, what incentive does it give the general population to rise above their condition? Forcing the public option keeps people where they are, accepts and endorses their life condition, instead of looking for a way to rise above the unacceptable.

Are there exceptions? Of course, those who are physically and mentally disabled, the elderly and children deserve assistance in a public plan and we have a moral obligation to insure they are well taken care of. Not able bodied healthy adults,who are capable of contributing to their own life with support of another kind.

Instead what policy could we look at that would invest trillions to the uplifting of people  which supplies the chance of providing for themselves? The majority of Americans are proud hard working people. If given the opportunity to be educated, retrained and their gifts and talents recognized and utilized, more Americans would be able to afford to pay for their own health care plan and would feel better about themselves in doing so. So what is the answer to rising above our current condition? Education.

Could we consider for a moment a highly educated America. One that creates and inspires innovation and contributes back to our society. By investing in, and providing for quality free higher education of all our children and all of our adult population. People would have the choice to elevate themselves, rise out of their current condition and be able to afford to provide for themselves and their families. Investing trillions in America’s human capital, the people, would be by far a better investment than handing people a way to stay where they are. An educated public would be a healthier public.

Would there be those who are perfectly capable but reject participating in receiving a higher education than High School? Of course there would still be some. This is America the land of choice. Its my guess the majority of people would take the opportunity and would choose to help themselves.

If we are to socialize anything it should be that every American has the wide open opportunity to receive lower level and higher level education, providing the chance to rise out of their current condition.  It is not the role of government to endorse or agree with conditions of  the unemployed, the uninsured or the able bodied poor.

Over time an educated society would create jobs, invent, teach, cure, provide leadership and prosper. The playing field would be truly one of equal opportunity. America could actually be the land of dreams once more.

So that’s my two cents on a trillion dollar issue. I respect all comments and would love to hear what your thoughts are. Please leave your response below. All fair minded, respectful replies will be approved.

10 Responses to One Life Coach’s perspective on the health insurance debate

  • Allen Taylor says:

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  • admin says:

    Thank you so much responding and reading this post. I’ve been like so many, hashing out in my mind, the moral aspect vs what would stregthen Americans instead of weakening our world. I feel better now that I’ve been able to get this out of my head and on to the paper. I appreciate your support Allen.

  • Mysticle says:

    Hi Sue,

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter. Anything we can do as a nation to help people achieve their full potential, is the goal (my goal at least).

  • David Keenan says:

    I would like to live in the America that you describe, but there are so many factors to consider.

    The medical care and health insurance industries have simply caused/forced/allowed prices to spin out of control. They’ve had plenty of time to right this if they had any inclination. They didn’t. Now, government gets the chance through public demand. It’s so bad that the average American cannot afford to pay for it themselves unless it is provided by employer. This passes the costs on to consumers. This is just one example, but I may not want to pay more for an uninsured hospital expense or higher premiums for my self purchased health insurance just so that hospital workers get a low premium and good coverage through their employers. Also, anybody who is against government run health care should also check and see if the company they work for isn’t already receiving business tax deductions to pay for their good plans.

    Keep in mind that even if everyone is highly educated, someone still has to do the low paying jobs that don’t provide health insurance (and don’t enable them to purchase insurance at current prices). There is a synergy that cannot be ignored in a society. Therefore, someone will always be at the low rung of the income ladder no matter how educated we become as a nation.

    One big complaint I often hear is that if everybody gets government subsidied health insurance, over 50 million additional people will be seeking health care. This will leave another possible problem of long waits for care. We have to be able to accept this fact as we move forward, otherwise we are just admitting that selfishness is our motivation to keep things the same.

    I’m sure that I could debate this further…It’s such
    a complex and volatile topic…I think everybody would agree that it needs to be fixed in some way.

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond…

    David Keenan

  • admin says:

    David, you make some great points. Agreed that something has to be done. When discussing this topic with friends and family, agreeably we see that our public policy makers only look to the two or four years ahead of the elected year. This is not a new problem indeed, nor a simple one. The bottom line is we need to encourage people to enter and remain in the medical field. If payment to physicians and specialists are reduced there is no incentive to practice medicine. There is however an emerging field of physicians who are making great strided in the medical field with Holistic medicine. My doctor is an MD and treats the whole person not just the condition. He doesn’t accept any insurance and after four years of seeing him for a chronic supposedly incurable condition, I’ve been healed. The trouble is, the pharmeceutical companies reject this kind of medicine even though it has a great track record of success. Unfortunately it’s about the lobbyists for the pharmeceutical firms that block this from entering the minds of our congressman. They have deep pockets and a fear that if we were to actually look at root causes, gee they might go out of business. It’s a tangled web for sure. No one wants to deprive anyone of health care. The other option is to look for waste and fraud. My daughter works for a group of pediatricians. She tells me people who have been on medicaid and who then find employment with employer paid plans, present both medicaid and their employer insurance. Using medicaid as a second insurance. Once you have an employer plan , we leave it up to the individual to tell them they no longer need the govt. supplied insurance. If this isn’t working correctly, then what are the assurances that a new public option will. Until we work out the bugs in the current system, I ask how can we present another one.

    PS. I love a good debate

  • admin says:

    Thanks for reading. It’s hopefully not nieve of me to think we might solve some major problems including the ones in our medical arena with education. I appreciate your support.

  • Franklin says:

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness in arriving at your position. I do hope that you and yours will be able to be insured quickly.

    I can only tell you that I support a public option because I honestly need one. In June 2008 I was in the process of switching from one insurer to the other to be on the same policy as my wife. In the time between insurers I was hospitalized for congestive heart failure that was caused by a congenital heart defect that I was not previously aware of. Because this was considered a “pre-existing condition”, my wife’s insurer refused coverage, as has every subsequent company I’ve applied to, including Medicaid. My state offers coverage to people in my situation but it is exorbitantly priced.

    I’m a professional musician. Due to my illness, I no longer have the strength to perform and I am not able to work a full guitar teaching schedule, which has been my other income source(I am renewing a commitment to coaching that I had been involved in many years ago). My income is less than half of what it was before my illness. My wife has had to carry more than her share of the responsibility for our finances. We are tapped out. I have not been able to schedule regular appointments with my GP or cardiologist because I am paying out of pocket and I just don’t have the money. I am slowly recovering my strength and stamina but will likely have as much as a few years more before I am back to full capacity. I’m exercising and eating well so that I can do the most I can to prevent any further illness.

    I need an option that is not currently available. I don’t anticipate that I will need it forever, but until I can afford health care, I need help to receive the care that is critical to my recovery. As I take on more coaching opportunities I know I will increase my wealth greatly. As that becomes a reality, it would be a great service to me to be able to go to my doctors when I am supposed to, rather than when I have a few extra dollars in my pocket. I am currently faced with declaring bankruptcy because I have not been able to pay doctors, banks and hospitals.

    I do appreciate what you’re saying about education. I really feel that humans are on the cusp of a completely new way of creating our lives. I hope that these new developments will lead to the quality of life that doesn’t require health care or a debate about it. Thanks for giving a space to reflect on my situation.

  • admin says:

    I appreciate your response. I agree that education is a long term proposal, not a short term fix. I too have a pre existing condition and it would be cost prohibitive for me to purchase health care. We were in this same boat just two short years ago and incurred a lot of debt as the health care premiums were as if we had an additional mortgage payment. If we could make it mandatory for insurance companies to take people with pre existing conditions and offer competitively priced options, we may all be able to afford health care. The government run option isn’t free at all. We will all pay for it thru taxation and rationing. Preexisting condition or not. If you look at how the universal coverage works in Canada and the UK the quality suffers as a result. I believe all people deserve to have the best health care available but not to the detriment of our health and the postponement or odds of your recovery decided by a board or panel on whether its ok to invest in your continued treatment. That choice should be yours and yours alone.
    Many Canadians, I live just accross the border from Canada, come here for necessary care because the rationing has created a supply and demand crisis.Their system is ready to implode. The same with UK. You deserve the very best treatment for your condition despite your age and financial status and not left to a governing board of people who will calculate your condition against the treatment expense that others like you have incurred and the governing board will determine whether you are a priority or not. I feel your pain financially and otherwise. The answers are out there, but I’m not convinced that the answer lies in a public run option.
    My daughter works for a group of doctors, she said that there are people comitting fraud with Medicaid coverage, currently supplied by our government. If they can’t get their arms around something that they currently provide, my confidence level is greatly lower in the ability to run a public plan. I wish you the best and I will pray that your health and quality of life improves daily and your financial status changes dramatically. I agree we are all in a shift of consciousness and that our new life is just around the corner. I’m glad you shared your story with me. Bless you.

  • David Keenan says:

    Hey Sue…

    Thanks for keeping the topic going. I’m sorry for this long response, but there is so much to mention…

    My valid points go unanswered whenever I bring them up in a debate. It really just comes down to the opposition saying that they don’t want to pay for it, and that they don’t want to be inconvenienced by the unknown variables of a new plan. Are they content to keep things the same without providing a viable alternative? I’m also tired of the misinformation that keeps getting circulated out there. People hear scare tactics, and they just follow along without checking into the facts. Conservatives always seem to want to keep things the same, fair or not. Our American history demonstrates this over and over. Our history also demonstrates that progressive ideals and fairness eventually get addressed despite conservative opposition. Why would anyone trust a conservative agenda on health care when they have never shown any inclination to fix the growing problem? In the past, they barely even acknowledged that there was a problem that needed fixing at all.

    You are admirably thinking ahead to a time when common sense, uninfluenced political agendas, more natural care, and holistic alternatives are seriously considered. You are also correct in believing that education is the future on how to attain these goals for a better society. The more immediate issue has to be about what can be done to improve today. I agree that alternative and complementary medicine should be pushed to the forefront and utilized. It would reduce costs. My business would almost certainly benefit from this. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies, lobbyists, even doctors and health care workers might not easily accept these kind of changes. They are part of the problem in the first place, and might not be the best ones to consult when trying to revamp the financial part of the system. There is a chance that they will be paid less for what they do, but most likely only those at the top levels would be at risk for that. The ones making money don’t want to lose their financial status, even if it may have been attained through a faulty system in the first place. It’s human nature for people to want to protect their interests. It’s also worth pointing out that it’s likely that there would be job growth in the health care industry due to the inevitable fact of more people seeking care. It’s also possible that taking excessive bureaucracy away from insurance companies might enable doctors to earn more by reducing administrative staff and unnecessary costs. We need to transfer health care industry workers to more functional jobs. Let’s streamline the whole operation.

    Complaints about rationing of coverage and other problems associated with similar social systems are very real concerns. There is nothing that’s written in stone saying that we have to operate the same way as Canada. Maybe America can do better if we hold the government accountable and learn from mistakes. Even though a public option might be substandard for some people compared to what they have now, it will be much better for others who had nothing. Low income earners and those not fortunate enough to have an employer supported plan are already not choosing the health care they want because they are not receiving any care at all. As I’ve said before, not doing a public option because of the fear of rationing is like admitting that our system is destined to automatically doom some people to never getting the care they need. It is admitting defeat. This whole debate turns out to be about pitting the upper middle class vs. the middle class vs. the lower class vs. the poor.

    What would happen if we forced people to pay for their own individual policies? No more employer coverage. It’s sending them to ruin the way things are now. Make everyone find and pay for their own plan based on the current industry prices. They would be bound by their own pre-existing conditions and other discriminations that are currently allowed to deny people coverage. Then we would see how many more millions of people suddenly want to consider public options. People who can afford it are generally content not to change anything. It is not urgent for them. They don’t fully comprehend how broken the system is. It’s patched together just enough to keep a full blown breakdown and revolution from happening.

    Once upon a time, liberal activists and unions fought for employer based coverage to be included as a benefit of employment. They were the ones who made it possible for people to enjoy the benefits that they currently have. These benefits weren’t gladly given by generous employers or recommended by business backed politicians. Conservatives at the time didn’t want these reforms either. I doubt that these same conservatives would voluntarily give up these benefits now, just as I doubt they would recognize or thank those who were instrumental in negotiating those benefits for them in the first place. Now liberals and progressives are trying to strike a better deal that doesn’t require employers to take a hit anymore. It really is just shifting costs from private businesses (that caused increased consumer costs of goods and services, higher business administrative costs, more job losses, and lower employee salaries) to the government (use of our tax money). It would help businesses succeed if they didn’t have to worry about these expenses.

    To be continued…

    David Keenan

  • David Keenan says:

    Lobbyists are definitely a major cause of problems. It doesn’t seem to be an efficient system when the more money spent ends up being the main factor influencing congressional votes and how presidents run their campaigns. This lessens the democratic process overall. They push from one direction and pull from another. It all adds up to higher expenses for doctors and patients. Also, would somebody explain to me how a poor person will ever have his interests truly represented if it costs money to pay lobbyists. It always ends up being an advocate group formed through activist charities to enable poor people to have any voice, while rich businesses buy the lobbyists they need. This shows how badly lobbyist reform is needed, not just for health care, but other issues and industries as well. The Obama administration has taken some steps in restricting lobbying. We’ll see if anything changes.

    I think everyone is afraid of what big government will do (with good reason). It’s easy to see how it contributes to bureaucracy and waste. Abuses can be expected with any organization so large, but at least the public has some form of oversight over what government does (voting, media disclosure, etc.) This is often more difficult with a corporation who is abusing the system. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid are big expenses, but what would be a better option? Are these benefits still worth the tax costs to society? What would happen if we halted these programs today? Does a small percentage of fraud make it a good idea to completely mistrust the whole system? I know it’s probably naive and realistically asking to much, but maybe this president can make an attempt at reform. There will be less need for abuse if people don’t have to pay exorbitant prices for basic health care. Some of the bureaucracy and fraud of Medicaid might be wiped out if a newly designed public option can be implemented. I’m all for reform, oversight, and regulation if it can be accomplished. Why is it that people seem to want better regulation and fraud monitoring of how our tax money is spent, but ignore or prefer less investigation about how money is earned in the first place? I think there is enough corruption to go around and it’s well distributed throughout every aspect of our financial system.

    The fact that some people have to pay more in taxes is the price of being able to use the capitalism system we have in America. People have the ability to make money because we have the system we do. Voters ideally decide how much socialism they want in government. It comes down to whether more people want health care included or not. The fact that there is a debate about it shows that there is a strong interest in change. There has been for a long time. It will save most people money. People who don’t have health care will be able to afford it and seek out medical care. Of course, this is all depends on the plan not being too watered down to be effective.

    Maybe mandatory coverage of pre-existing conditions and other potential solutions besides the public option would be a better way to go, but how will this happen? And when? There were plenty of opportunities over the years. Too much time has past for trusting the health care industries to fix themselves. In my lifetime up until now, nobody has made a concerted effort to address the problem. Conservative administrations never touched it. The Clinton administration tried briefly in the early 90’s, and now the Obama administration. Otherwise, who has done anything? Time is up. Government always gets called upon to bail out when things turn bad. It’s the de-regulation over the years that has caused problems, and then eventually an over correction becomes necessary to remedy the situation. It always comes down to this. The capitalism system only works with these types of social safeguards built in. Now, finally, somebody has a plan. I’m willing to see if it works, and over 50 million people have nothing to lose anyway.

    David Keenan

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