…Sadly, there have been many days when I have had to fight the horrific feelings of despair, anger and even resentment at times when I have looked at them with tears streaming down my face and asking, “Why do you deserve healthcare and I don’t?“
Among the recent headlines, such as the February 19 Denver Post article titled, ‘Why Obamacare is good for America; More Coloradans will have access to health care, and small businesses will benefit. It’s the right prescription’ addressing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often referred to as ‘Obamacare’) is an article published by Forbes yesterday titled, ‘Early Signs That Obamacare Is On The Right Track To Reduce Costs’ in which author Rick Unger writes,
One of the more controversial aspects of Obamacare is the expansion of the Medicaid program that is expected to bring some 16 million more people into the program. Of course, such an increase comes at a price—presently estimated by the CBO to raise the federal portion of Medicaid from the current 1.7 percent of GDP to 2. 5 percent in the year 2022.
If you understand why the ACA has embarked on this approach, you know that the expansion is based on the notion that getting more people access to the healthcare system when ‘small’ illnesses can be treated before they become more complicated and dramatically more expensive, we will save considerably more money than we spend in the long term.
The study involved giving health insurance to some 26,000 previously uninsured people in Richmond, Virginia, allowing them to access primary care services in the area. The demographics of those participating in the program were designed to match the demographics of those who will be affected by the expansion of the Medicaid program in 2014.
Similar to Medicaid, participants were responsible to re-enroll in the program proactively for subsequent years.
Citing results of a study done by The University Of California Irvine and the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Unger quotes David Neumark, one of the study’s co-authors as saying,
“A lot of the debate about healthcare reform surrounds the issue of whether we’re setting up something that’s going to cost us more by increasing use of medical services or something that will cut costs through more appropriate and timely use of medical services. Our research shows that, over time, costs can be reduced through increased use of primary care and reductions in emergency-department visits and hospital admissions, but it may take several years of coverage for substantive savings to occur.”
As someone who always had employer-based healthcare – and therefore took healthcare and the access to such care, including prescription drugs for granted until I was laid off from my job as an operations analyst at the top of this recession – I am both stunned and encouraged: stunned by the opposition coming from many on the right who don’t think access to healthcare is important or necessary for people such as myself (and others) and encouraged by the provisions provided in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
I won’t stand to benefit from this program (ACA) until 2014 – and was already denied access to Medicaid (and any other assistance) because I don’t have children under the age of 18 years, am not elderly nor disabled. As noted below, Colorado has decided to limit access to Medicaid to 10,000 ‘Adults without Dependent Children (AwDC) and will determine how those 10,000 are selected by conducting a ‘lottery’.
The extraordinarily high rate of savings that occur as a result of allowing persons such as myself to see a physician when needed rather than waiting until illness/symptoms are so bad that a trip to the ER becomes necessary, would appear to be obvious, common sense. At least that’s what one would hope.
I have personally experienced just exactly this dilemma – not once but twice in the last 2 years – and both times I tried desperately to find a clinic or a doctor that I could see in the weeks prior to heading to the ER. Sadly, the demand for healthcare services for uninsured (and, for the most part, often ‘newly indigent’) persons such as myself as measured by 3, 6 even 12-month waiting lists for new patients make it nearly impossible to get the (cheaper preventative) healthcare services and medications when needed. This is exacerbated if an individual (who is often among the tens of millions who are currently searching for work) doesn’t have any financial means to pay for such visit – not to mention the financial means necessary to pay for much needed and often very expensive prescription medications.
Continued in CO limits Medicaid to 10,000 ‘Adults w/o Dep.Children’; will conduct ‘lottery’