Straight Story: Still waiting for a cure

Economics editor Chris Farrell

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Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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Chris Farrell, you're absolutely right about the healthcare crisis being the most critical aspect we must deal with as a nation. The general public is at threshold with respect to insurance costs, availability, and coverage. I'm a Boomer. Social Security/Medicare age limits have been raised and we're asked to work longer. Some of us have one, if not 2 or more jobs to make things work out. Many have lost those jobs and quite possibly their insurance. Their house follows. It's that simple. Families falter and separate. Healthcare is the fulcrum that makes or breaks our society. Without immediate attention and long term, thoughtful planning, the crisis affecting SOME of us now somewhat will affect ALL of us severely if we don't take action. Whether or not we already bailed out the banks and corporations is irrelevant. To pay or not to pay for healthcare now is not like putting off the purchase of a new car. This nation has waited too long already and this, too, is a crisis. People are getting sick now, need care now, along with prescriptions and operations. Either they will not get care or will go broke paying for it. Personally, my employer does not offer insurance. My private policy, just for myself...no children or spouse...is 25% of my take-home pay. That's before deductables,co-pays, or prescriptions. Were I to apply now for my coverage, I would be denied. We are at a watershed moment. Do we permit the greed of the insurance companies to destroy the fabric of our society or do we rein them in with controls and guidelines and make them take everyone? The government needs to collect taxes to pay for programs and the deficit. Make sure the working person has access to good medical care for us and our families and we're more likely to last longer to help pay those taxes. We need universal healthcare immediately.

I'm on Medicare. I have noticed that the clinic I go to has reduced the screening/prevention testing in my annual physical. Is it possible or probable that providers are scaling back on prevention care because of lower Medicare reimbursements? If so, how can future health care costs be controlled? This seems like the door being closed after the horse gets out - upside down priorities. Mr. Farrell is right - my concerns aren't going away, they're getting deeper.

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