Mandatory health insurance has been the talk of the town ever since President Obama initiated healthcare reform. Some people believe it is unconstitutional to force citizens to have health insurance. Others think it will prevent non-paying individuals from abusing the system. Which side is right in the debate? More importantly, if this does come into effect, how will it affect traditional medical insurance coverage?
Well, contrary to what some believe, mandatory health insurance is not a new concept. In fact, Massachusetts has enforced the idea since 2007. This was two years before President Obama got elected. The end result of this legislation was positive and negative. On the positive end, there were insurance options for everyone. However, a price had to be paid for these options. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the mandatory insurance in Massachusetts resulted in a ten percent increase in all health-related costs. As a result, there is an increase in the most unfortunate group; individuals who are too poor for health insurance but too rich for Medicaid.
The situation would be worse if mandatory health insurance was initiated on a federal level. President Obama hopes to quell this problem by providing government insurance, but this is certainly not a cure-all. If government insurance costs $ 100 or more a month, a person making $ 20K or less a year may not be able to afford it. This is especially the case after they subtract their main living expenses. Indeed, for some households, a health insurance bill could affect their ability to put food on the table!
If mandatory health insurance is expected to work, there must be overhauls in the whole system. Costs as a whole must come down to make healthcare affordable to everyone. There should also be a cultural push towards preventative healthcare. This starts at home, not in the doctor's office. With the way American culture is now, many people think they can pop a pill to solve all of their problems. Those are the types that should be the ones penalized … not individuals who are simply too poor to afford insurance. But to achieve this, health providers in general must take a different approach themselves. Instead of trying to avoid paying out claims, they should find a way where they can get the best of both worlds. Most importantly, they need to think more about the needs of the people and less about their wallet.
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