The holidays are right around the corner. It's no wonder I've got shopping on the mind. And as with the contagion of Christmas music in a mall, I can't help but join the carol of intrigue surrounding the new health care marketplace.
America spends more on health care than any other country in the world, despite our uniquely non-socialized system, yet our health outcomes are at or below the bottom of the range for developed countries. Why?
The breadth of the ACA's impact so far clearly shows the discussion of the successes and failures of the ACA needs to extend well beyond the narrow focus on website functioning, enrollment in the federal website, and the cancellation of some health plans.
The intense media hype around the troubled Obamacare roll-out threatens to obscure the real issue at hand: how to go beyond the piecemeal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and build a truly universal health care system that provides equal, high-quality care to everyone.
The unpopularity of the Republican right-wing agenda is demonstrated in poll after poll. Congress itself has never been more unpopular in history. And yet, according to Krauthammer, the problems with the healthcare.gov website "will discredit Obama's new liberalism for years to come."
I am a 57-year-old with a pacemaker who takes blood pressure medication. I am not exactly the kind of person the health companies enter into bidding wars over.
We should reframe our philosophy on what health care actually means to our society. The early colonists took care of one another, often with the aid of the indigenous people and their medicines. Do we value our own people enough to make sure they are healthy and happy, or do we see their illnesses as a way to extract money from them?
Through the Cancer Experience Survey we learned that 83 percent of cancer patients found it important to be "involved fully" in their care. What this data tells me is that patients are demanding a different and deeper connection with us.
The Affordable Care Act is the end of the beginning of reform. We must not focus solely on ACA implementation while ignoring the corrosive effect many insurance companies have on our health care system.
Let's take away the politics right now and look at what I feel are the three most important pieces of each health plan that you should understand with no exceptions.
Now that November is history, will the Obamacare website work flawlessly from now on? Or, as the president has said, will it at least work for the "vast majority" of people who need to buy insurance on their own?
That alternative medicine is a consumer movement is well known. Less known or appreciated is how a powerful group of consumers shaped the movement to implant these alternatives into conventional treatment.
As more people gain health insurance coverage, and as the health care system looks to save money and emphasize keeping people healthy (not just treating them once they're sick), primary care is becoming more important than ever.
What these companies promise, that has never before been available in the health care market, is price transparency. We have yet to see if this new marketplace can substantially lower health care costs overall. But as more and more patients like me are left "holding the bill," I can't help but imagine that it will.
The latest polls on Obamacare are bleak. But those poll numbers will change as more people are finally able to shop for coverage on the new health insurance websites -- and find coverage that is surprisingly affordable.
Some of the most vigorous opponents of the legislation expressed outrage that those who are young and healthy are being forced to pay -- out of their pockets, in higher taxes -- for those who are old and infirm. That's not fair, they argued. I don't need the benefits -- why should I be forced to pay for them to benefit others? Let them pay.