Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cutting Healthcare Is Russian Roulette - Go Single Payer!

Little blue sparks. I have recently seen little blue sparks in my field of vision. It is completely freaking me out, because it might be something or absolutely nothing.

Since the age of 8, I have worn corrective lenses. I hate it. It's hereditary, and more than half of my family has suffered this annoying fate (and not because they are over 45!). My grandmother, bless her, even has glaucoma. It is easy to imagine how nervous I got when I began seeing little blue sparks.

From what I have read, little blue sparks are caused by changes in eye pressure. Eye pressure can change from any number of things, including aging. I have (literally) always seen the world differently than others. Blue sparks are not completely abnormal for me. Getting them once a day, however, is a little odd.

Three months ago I would have had to pay out of pocket to see an eye doctor. Now I have complete coverage thanks to the healthplan Christian has through his work. I can't help wondering how this would have ended if it wasn't something as simple as aging when I wasn't covered. What if I was uninsured and had a retinal tear? What would I do then? I cannot imagine what I would have to spend just to see.

This might not be a life threatening situation, but it certainly addresses the issue at hand. Many businesses want to cut costs, so they limit what kind of insurance is available to their full time employees. Christian was one of the lucky ones to have vision and dental included in his plan options. Not all full time employees are so lucky. Part time workers can forget benefits altogether.  I love my job, but I have to negotiate even paid prep time. People at both of our jobs depend on us and rely on us. Being exposed to sharps, heat, and solvents, Christian has great potential for injury. I work with the public, and am constantly exposed to viruses and bacteria. Wouldn't it be nice if we had good preventative and after healthcare? But that is incredibly expensive for most businesses.

Because of this excess expense, it seems all businesses would benefit by backing a single payer system. Even Walmart wants a single payer system, because it would be one less cost to the company and they understand the importance of a healthy workforce.

Unfortunately, we're a long way from a single payer system. If Mitt or Newt (what's up with these names?!) comes into office, it will move even further away. In the mean time, businesses still need to pay to protect their employees' health.

When a company denies healthcare, they are not just telling their employee his or her life is expendable. If a person has a serious and chronic medical condition, a difference in coverage can literally be life or death. Therefore an unwillingness to pay or a denial of coverage are both kinds of death sentences. I don't know about you, but I wasn't aware we had begun executing innocent people in the name of money.

Yes, private healthcare is expensive. Rather than complaining about the cost of private companies that frequently deny coverage, let's change to single payer. Businesses should all support this idea - it benefits them by ensuring their workforce is healthy while also removing a potential cost. Plus, business owners might sleep better. Their decisions wouldn't result in untimely deaths.

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