Here’s what has happened to us as a result of mandatory, universal health care:
1. We still go to the same doctors.
2. We’re still on the same medications.
3. We still use the same pharmacy.
4. All other medical facilities we use – imaging labs, hospitals, blood testing labs, physical therapy — have not changed.
5. As far as we can tell, our insurance premiums have not changed or have changed slightly.
6. Our co-pays are lower, but we’re on Medicare.
7. If I had stayed in the same HMO plan I had before Medicare, some of my co-pays would have increased, such as alcohol and drug treatment, and prosthetic limb fittings, not that I used any of those benefits.
8. We both have reduced our prescription drug regimen and increased our weekly exercise, in part, because our insurance now encourages prevention by paying a nice benefit for going to the gym.
9. We feel more comfortable being in crowds at the grocery store, movie theaters, or in close quarters at the barber shop and hair salon, knowing everyone there has access to health care. That means everyone we deal with is less likely to be spreading infectious disease than they were three years ago.
10. We’ll feel even better when this year’s flu season comes around, since school children, teachers, bank tellers, store clerks and others dealing with the public can get the necessary vaccines or treatment to contain this year’s flu, no matter how rich or poor they may be.
And that’s the truth.
So the point of this post was to highlight that nothing has changed for the people of Massachusetts except that almost everyone is “covered.”
Of course, what Paula fails to realize that this is exactly what can’t continue…the status quo in the state with the most expensive health insurance in the country. Will she say this in 8 years when her payment is $1600 a month? What about in 16 years when it’s $3200 a month?
It’s not who pays…it’s how can we restructure healthcare to start paying for value rather than quantity.