I’m sick about healthcare

I’m just about ready to become a single-issue voter. And that issue is healthcare.

In the past month, two friends have had their partners struck down by serious, completely out-of-the-blue medical events that have left them in intensive care in the hospital.

Both have insurance, but one of them knew that it wasn’t going to be enough to cover the extraordinary cost associated with her partner’s care. The GoFundMe notice popped up. In this time of terrible trauma, she was also dealing with the added burden of, “How are we going to pay for all of this?”

I see it almost every week in my Facebook feed — another family facing a medical crisis and a fundraising campaign to help them out. Or stories about treatment delayed because of worries about cost.

Is this really what we want?

I believe that healthcare is a fundamental human right. And I believe that here, in the richest country in the world, people shouldn’t have to worry about financial ruin because someone they love got sick unexpectedly.

So what can we do about it? One thing you can do is VOTE, especially in the midterm elections this November.

I believe that the Republican party is making our healthcare system worse. They are doing everything they can to undermine the current system without replacing it with something better. And their budgets seek to cut Medicare and Medicaid and other critical funding sources for the current system.

Last week, it was announced that healthcare premiums are going to go up 10% in 2019, mainly as a result of moves by the Republican congress. It will lead to more people sick and less coverage for those who need it.

Do I think “Obamacare” is the end-all/be-all? Of course not. But the chicken-shit tactics that the current administration and the GOP are using to underfund the current law of the land is playing politics with people’s lives.

I have my own theories about why they’re doing it, most of them pretty cynical. But even if they’re doing it based on principle, they have a responsibility to replace it with SOMETHING that will decrease the burden on the people they were elected to serve.

Better Options for All

I’m convinced that one of the reasons the GOP fights so hard against the Affordable Care Act is that it forced congress to live like the rest of us.

Obamacare required our elected representatives to use the same healthcare options that we have and not their sweet federal employee plan. But if they blow-up the ACA, congress can go back to their sweetheart deal.

Maybe the way forward is letting ALL Americans access the FEHBP program, which even conservative outlets have called “a showcase of consumer choice and free-market competition.”

(Snopes has a pretty good explanation of how the FEHBP system works.)

Plus, most members can purchase FEHBP insurance after they’ve left political life. Wouldn’t THAT be nice?! When the rest of us leave our jobs, we can COBRA for 18 months, but then we’re on our own.

The Problem with Employer-Sponsored Healthcare

Employer-sponsored healthcare is the elephant in the living room. (Here’s a nice historical primer on how we ended up with the current system.)

Personally, I believe we should disconnect health insurance from employment (something that many conservatives agree with) but even if you don’t, we still need to answer the question, “How do you care for the millions of people who fall outside of the employer-sponsored health insurance system?”

Medicare and Medicaid are one answer, and giving more people access to programs like “Medicaid for All” would be one solid approach. (Even the Koch brothers say it will save money.) Obamacare was another way to try and answer this question; if the GOP hates it, what’s their bright idea for solving the problem?

Politically, all of this is difficult. Employer-provided coverage has been the status quo for so long, many are understandably terrified of the alternative. But the system will likely die on its own eventually, given how economically unsustainable it is.

This is my main problem with the GOP — they don’t have a real plan. (“What do conservatives want American healthcare to look like?”) Some thoughtful conservative voices are wrestling with the problem. But party leaders show zero inclination of dealing with the real issues.

This will require real leadership. And it will require us, the people, being vocal about what we want from the American healthcare system.

I’m fed up. If you are too, please vote.

About the Author

John Kovacevich is a writer and creative director based in San Francisco.

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husband, father, writer, ad man, occasional actor

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John Kovacevich

John Kovacevich

husband, father, writer, ad man, occasional actor

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