America is the only developed country where people can lose their home, or die because they do not have health coverage. If that statement does not outrage you, then read it again. We can have the type of society we want. However, many of us are not happy with the society we have. One of the big concerns of our country is healthcare.
Compared to other developed countries, America has spent the most money for healthcare. Many speak of universal healthcare as “socialism,” but I would argue that we already have universal coverage in our country…we are already paying for “their” healthcare. It is called the Emergency Room. Only, this system of care is very expensive. It mushrooms the cost of healthcare and takes up the time in ER’s for non-emergency cases. One concern is that rural hospitals will have to close in response to this; while the other concern is that the cost of healthcare will continue to rise.
America has begun to think about the issue with the Affordable Care Act, however many states are against change. Medicaid Expansion (A key part to the Affordable Care Act) has been a hot topic around the nation, which would increase healthcare to around 500,000 people, depending on the state, whom cannot currently afford it. According to the article I read, the federal government will pay the full cost of covering those who are newly eligible from 2014 to 2016, and even will cover 90 percent after that. This Medicaid expansion would do three main things for the country. It would save lives, create jobs and stimulate the economy. This means it would help the state budget and the state economy, at the same time providing health insurance for its citizens.
Some of the GOP are beginning to realize this however, seven states have completely changed their minds on the expansion, so there may be hope yet for the remaining states that have not agreed to it. Much of this was because of community awareness from health professionals, social workers and other advocates. I have seen and been a part of this in my own state, of North Carolina. The Historical Thousands on Jones street assembly addressed this issue this month in Raleigh, N.C where thousands of people from all over the state came to stand and march to the Capitol (Associated Press, 2013). In addition to that over 10,000 letters have already been sent to Governor McCrory asking him to veto this bill. It may seem though, that no matter how much a community protests that change will never happen.
There is power in the voting booth and decisions are made by those that show up.
Written by Lydia Long, SW Student
SJS Staff Writer