When I reached 65 and Medicare kicked in I figured there was no need to worry about future doctor and hospital bills. My health was good, and thankfully still is, but I had a nagging feeling the health care insurance situation was too good to be true. It’s beginning to look as if my hunch was right.
The first problem I faced was some doctors balked at Medicare’s terms, so I had to find the right PPO. In addition, some hospitals in Los Angeles no longer accept the major insurance plan I have as the supplemental coverage. In spite of that, my premiums continue to escalate; this includes the prescription plan. Thank goodness, I had locked in long-term care insurance, which I hope I never have to use. Nonetheless, until recently, I felt the combination of all my plans would see me through the rest of my life.
Now, there’s a strong indication the government is going to pass a health care plan designed to be sure everyone’s covered. I have seen first-hand in California how those without insurance use emergency rooms as health clinics, because by law no one can be turned away. Of course, in a perfect world everyone would have health coverage, and a college education, and a house, and a car and…
The problem I see for those of us born between 1930 and 1945 is that we may be denied medical treatment so another person can have it. That’s right, after all the years of paying premiums and trying to live a somewhat healthy lifestyle, there is a possibility the pre-boomers may be among the first to not receive the care we need when we need it. Look at Great Britain and Canada; people needing diagnostic work are put on a waiting list. And once the need for a medical procedure is determined, the patient is placed on another waiting list. We understand that possible transplant recipients are screened and put on a list; those that are too sick or too old are passed over for vital organs. It’s reasonable to assume that, in order to control costs under some kind of universal health care system, rationing will become the rule rather than the exception. Is this what you want?
In the US, many states are considering their own health care plans. Massachusetts has a plan that’s failing, according to residents. There are red flags waving every step of the way, but the administration is insistent on pushing something through as quickly as possible. With all the other spending on stimulus packages, bailouts, and a couple of wars in progress, it seems reckless to move too fast on something as important as health care. But lots of people have expressed concern about the other big budget programs that congress pushed through without our elected representatives having read the bills much less engage in extensive debates.
We can’t let it happen again, especially when this could be a matter of life and death to pre-boomers. Read up on the health care subject, let you’re representatives in Washington know what you like and don’t like about various elements of the possible legislation. Most importantly, don’t wait until it’s too late. There are some 40 million pre-boomers, let our collective voices be heard.