Amid the clamor on the Presidential campaign trail to repeal the HealthCare Bill passed by President Barack Obama, one has yet to hear what will be put in its place. Access to adequate health insurance coverage is still out of reach for many Americans — over 47 million. That number likely climbs daily with the persistent unemployment rate.
Even before we entered the current recession, pockets of poverty seem to be an insidious part of the economic landscape. The faces of poverty seem not to have changed over that same period of time. And too often, a lack of adequate healthcare coverage is one of the constant companions of poverty.
Of course, poverty and a lack of adequate healthcare coverage results in poor health — poor health because families cannot afford to practice prevention by taking care of minor problems before they turn into major ones.
And who make up the country’s poor and uninsured? Blacks, Hispanics, low-income whites, and their children are among the poorest groups in the nation.
And no, not all of these people are on welfare. Many work two jobs to make ends meet. The problem is that many have jobs do not offer health insurance as a benefit. So the hard worker not only works hard but also cannot afford a day off if he/she becomes sick. So often, acute and minor health problems turn into chronic and catastrophic diseases.
Imagine the consequences — long and short-term on our children. Among the many challenges poorer children face everyday, imagine them performing at their best in school when they aren’t feeling well and their parent’s can’t afford a doctor’s visit or the medications to knock out a common childhood infection or illness.
While we are in a serious economic slump, America is still one of the richest nations on earth. It begs the question why do so many Americans lack adequate healthcare coverage? And why do we as a society continue to fail at finding solutions to stem the tide? President Obama is trying with the passage of his HealthCare bill. But partisan opposition rather than trying to improve it or make any necessary changes, would rather make it a political punching bag.
What then should be put in place? Instead of reducing the number of uninsured, and those with inadequate healthcare coverage, “Obama Care” (as it is negatively characterized) if repealed will certainly result in more people being left outside the healthcare system.
Yes, there are government programs, and some private initiatives, to help those in need. But none seems to solve the revolving door of poor healthcare coverage for so many Americans.
The problem is a very complex one, and so is the solution.
But making a concerted effort to reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured should be part of the legislative agenda at all levels of government. And while candidates are seeking your vote in the upcoming Presidential elections, we need to ask them if not “Obama Care,” then what?
Listen carefully to their answers. What is their plan for making healthcare coverage available for forty-seven million Americans?
What is their solution?