Letter: COVID-19 crisis should make us rethink our current health insurance approach
When an emergency shows up that puts individuals and communities between the proverbial rock and a hard place, our community seems to come closer together (not physically in this case). We now all feel the same predicaments though many citizens feel it more than others based on their economic and social status.
In terms of health insurance and a medical safety net, this crisis seems to put many workers and employees in harm’s way.
- They lose their health insurance because it is tied to their job.
- Having no job makes it difficult to pay for their health insurance.
- Those on leave can’t afford to pay for their portion of their health insurance.
- Employers who go bankrupt leave employees without health insurance or pensions.
- Unions can be dismantled easily in this time, losing health insurance benefits.
And on the other side, small to medium businesses are endangered as well.
- They can’t pay for their portion of health insurance for their present employees.
- They do not have the resources to continue health insurance for their employees on leave.
- They may have a difficult time finding a health insurance plan they can afford.
- They may not be able to offer health insurance to their new employees.
I wonder what would have happened if we had a national health insurance plan in place for all Americans, not tied to their jobs? The response to the coronavirus could have been more organized. It could have been prepared much earlier. There could have been a unified national approach. It could have used the preventive approach for positive health outcomes. It could have prevented this crisis from being an economic and political football.
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A national health insurance plan for all sounds a lot like “Medicare for All.” Sometimes, the positive result of a crisis, such as this one, may force us to rethink our present health insurance approach. National health insurance may now seem more acceptable because of this pandemic.
Many reluctant employees with employer health insurance may now better understand the advantages of a national health care plan. One that is always there for you in times of crisis. Maybe this is one of the potential “silver linings” that Lisa Schlichtman mentioned in her “From the Editor” column.
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