I have been following the new health insurance changes in Massachusetts, and I really hope it is a success.
In Massachusetts, they have made it mandatory for everyone to have health insurance. As a proponent of universal health care, I like the Massachusetts plan because it:
- Spreads the health care burden to all tax payers
- Encourages disease prevention and screening
- Provides health insurance to people who could not afford it otherwise
What if you can not afford it?
The Massachusetts plan provides their low income residents with either free or subsidized health coverage. Some people will argue that they should not have to pay for other people’s medical insurance. They do not realize they are already doing that through Medicaid and emergency room funding.
These people also do not realize that it will be less expensive to provide disease prevention and screening now than it would be to pay for disease treatment later.
Some people will argue that they can not afford the coverage even if the government says they can. The truth is that they can not afford to not be covered.
No one expects to develop a debilitating disease, but it happens. Health insurance is like a seat belt. It is something you must have, but hope you never have to use.
But I am healthy
Some people will argue that they are healthy and their money will simply provide health care for sick people. Everyone should have medical insurance. No one knows what the future holds and we should all be prepared even if it has to be forced upon us.
Health insurance is not only for the ill. Having health insurance encourages regular doctor visits for disease screening and disease prevention education.
I am not sure if this plan will work in Massachusetts. Even if it works there, it may not work anywhere else. But I sure hope it does. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
by Kalvin C. Chinyere, M.D.