Is Healthcare a Right or Entitlement?
By Kathy H. Wood, Ph.D., FHFMA
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act--most changes will take place by 2014. Many people view healthcare as a right; others view it as an entitlement. For me, it raises a number of considerations for healthcare administrators and students: Do we feel government should pay for our healthcare? What about in the cases of chronic illnesses brought about by the patient making poor choices on diet, exercise, etc.? In the proposed healthcare reform, having insurance will be required. Should employers be mandated to offer insurance as a benefit? And what about children being covered by their parents until the age of 26 – can we anticipate the impact this will have on the insurance industry?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is better known as Obamacare by citizens and the ACA by healthcare providers. There are several key features including: patient rights and protections (i.e., assistance to find insurance coverage, appealing health plan decisions, preventive care, patient’s bill of rights, pre-existing conditions, your choice of physicians, ER); insurance costs; elder care; employers; governmental funds expansion; early retirees. The US government has a site dedicated to explaining the details: http://answers.healthcare.gov/
Why is this subject gathering so much attention from the media? It appears that it has become a debate between the Republicans and the Democrats, when the impact is on all citizens regardless of political affiliation. Here are some questions for you to ponder:
- Should the US government provide healthcare for its citizens like other countries? Should all citizens (non-citizens), regardless of contribution via taxes, be eligible for the same level of care?
- Are the expectations of our citizens with regards to healthcare too high? For example, in some countries with socialized medicine, wait times for certain procedures may be months. We are accustomed to very quick response times.
- Does the elderly receive the same quality of care that the non-elderly receive? For example, in some countries, only people under a certain age can have special surgeries or procedures.
- Do we put too much emphasis on life in general and quality of life?
Discuss your thoughts with me on Twitter or leave a comment below.
Dr. Kathy Wood, Ph.D., FHFMA is the University Dean of Health Sciences at Colorado Technical University. Explore her background or connect with her on Twitter @CTUHealth.
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