And it will all be the government's fault.
I don't understand how conservatives like Sarah Palin can make the leap from government run health insurance to death panels. I guess it's the same sort of logic that Reverend.James Dobson used to connect the gay marriage to legalizing bestiality.
As for the warnings of rationed care, we've already got that. If you have health coverage, your insurance company does it. Ever have an MRI? You can bet someone at the hospital or imaging center will call your insurance company to see if they'll pay the bill. If your insurer says no, you could still have the test done, but you have to pay for it yourself. That could be anywhere from $1,000 to $3500.
If you're stinking rich, it's not a problem. You get your test done and pay the bill when it arrives. But if you're like most of us, that's a big chunk of change and you have to make a choice. You can either go into debt (or deeper into debt than you already are) or not have the test at all.
Of course there's a lot of self-rationing of healthcare as well. People who are uninsured will often deny themselves or members of their families medicine or visits to the doctor because they just can't afford it.
Despite what the conservatives say, the American health care system is not the best in the world. According to the World Health Organization, the country with the best system is France, the United States comes in 37th. That ranking is based on a number of different factors including overall health of the popluation and fairness of financial contribution.
Here is the one great truth that I hope all our elected officials keep in mind when working on health care. The number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States is the inability to pay medical bills. We are the only industrialized country in the world where that happens.
We've got lots of nifty tests and a whole host of options available to us if we get sick. But they all cost money and the price just keeps going up. Having health insurance gives you the illusion that you don't have to pay for it. But you do. You pay for it with higher premiums, with job losses (GM's generous health care benefits to retirees helped bring the company down), with increased health care cost that occur when hospitals pass on the cost for caring for the uninsured to everyone else.
I am not optimistic about the health care reform. I don't have much faith in my elected representatives. Between the pharmaceutical lobbyists and the screaming "grass roots" anti-death panel movement, whatever passes--if it passes at all---won't make much difference in fixing the problem.
And for the record, I have excellent insurance through my husband's employer. I also know that we are just one layoff away from losing it. So are all the "Hands Off My Healthcare" fokls, but they don't seem to get that.