Americas are the most generous people on earth. We donate time and money to folks needing a helping hand and support charities working on their behalf. But some government programs are changing the way we give. For instance, “Cash for Clunkers” has reduced the number of vehicles received by organizations using cars as a means to generate money for worthwhile causes. Could establishment of a single-pay health care plan wipe out some of the country’s long-standing and beloved charities?
If we evolve into a single-source system, Christmas and Easter seals, the March of Dimes and various cancer related causes are potential casualties. Then there’s diabetes, sickle cell disease, and the fight against crippling afflictions funded by the Jerry Lewis Telethon. If everyone is on the same health care plan would these efforts be necessary? The government will fund research and treatment for all our medical needs. Right?
How about the hospitals funded and administered by special interest groups such as the Shriners Hospitals for Children, church hospitals of all religions, and other care providers that depend on private contributions such as Saint Jude’s, City of Hope and many more around the country. If we’re all under one plan, won’t we eventually have a nationwide hospital network overseen by the government’s health care czar and his/her team? That means no fund raising efforts will be required to run these institutions.
With limits being placed on charitable giving and taxes rising for the wealthiest among us, contributions will most likely be declining anyway. And for the rest of us, our disposal incomes will be shrinking for years to come as hidden taxes and inflation take their toll. For the increasing numbers of unemployed, working poor and folks on fixed incomes (like pre-boomers and older seniors), charity must begin at home.
If everyone has health insurance and medical care, individual problems will no longer be related through gut-wrenching stories that soften our hearts, and cause us to reach for our checkbooks to help the less fortunate. Instead, we will be multi-digit numbers in a health system administered under the watchful eye of the government through a universal plan that supposedly provides equal treatment for all.
Could this really happen in America? I pray not. It’s time to stop shouting at Town Hall meetings and complaining among friends and family. We pre-boomers need to say to our congressional representatives, “Stop the politics and come up with a bi-partisan plan that addresses those citizens who are uninsured, have pre-existing conditions, are out of work, need to transfer coverage to another state, or have special medical needs. Tackle these and report back to us with the results before attempting to dismantle a health care system that 85 percent of us are satisfied with. And next time, please listen rather than trying to sell us. Thank you.”
Don Potter, a Philadelphia native, was born in 1936 and is a 50 year veteran of the advertising agency business. Now living in Los Angeles, he has written two novels in retirement, frequently writes on marketing issues, and has a blog dedicated to pre-boomers (those born between 1930 and 1945).
Essential reading for every American who must navigate the US health care system.
Why was the Obama health plan so controversial and difficult to understand? In this readable, entertaining, and substantive book, Stuart Altman—internationally recognized expert in health policy and adviser to five US presidents—and fellow health care specialist David Shactman explain not only the Obama health plan but also many of the intriguing stories in the hundred-year saga leading up to the landmark 2010 legislation. Blending political intrigue, policy substance, and good old-fashioned storytelling, this is the first book to place the Obama health plan within a historical perspective.
The authors describe the sometimes haphazard, piece-by-piece construction of the nation’s health care system, from the early efforts of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman to the later additions of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. In each case, they examine the factors that led to success or failure, often by illuminating little-known political maneuvers that brought about immense shifts in policy or thwarted herculean efforts at reform.
The authors look at key moments in health care history: the Hill–Burton Act in 1946, in which one determined poverty lawyer secured the rights of the uninsured poor to get hospital care; the "three-layer cake" strategy of powerful House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills to enact Medicare and Medicaid under Lyndon Johnson in 1965; the odd story of how Medicare catastrophic insurance was passed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and then repealed because of public anger in 1989; and the fact that the largest and most expensive expansion of Medicare was enacted by George W. Bush in 2003.
President Barack Obama is the protagonist in the climactic chapter, learning from the successes and failures chronicled throughout the narrative. The authors relate how, in the midst of a worldwide financial meltdown, Obama overcame seemingly impossible obstacles to accomplish what other presidents had tried and failed to achieve for nearly one hundred years.
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