Healthcare | National Issues |

Force Insurers to Cover Preventative Foods

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Shouldn’t everyone have equal access to quality foods that help prevent health problems down the road? What better way to do this than through the health insurance system. Free quality fruits, vegetables, low fat foods, and fresh squeezed orange juice for everyone. But why stop there? Wouldn’t it be even better to force insurers to give everyone a free home gym as a preventative measure? I could use one of those Bowflex machines myself.

Thanks to the absurd new health care law which gave Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius unprecedented powers. About a week ago, she declared that health insurers must provide birth control and breast pumps for free without co-pays along with other services for women.

Now we could discuss the extreme power that a single unelected official now holds over private enterprise and the health care industry. But instead l would like to take a look at the definition of the word insurance itself.

Insurance: “the act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one’s person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.“

Simply put, health insurance does not equal free health care. In fact the very nature of insurance is the part of “payment being proportional to the risk involved”. Requiring an insurance company to hand out free breast pumps is quite absurd. Due to the expensive nature of children, if someone cannot afford a $60 item when having a child they should either rethink their family planning or get a paper route. As for those in actual need there are already government programs such as WIC or charities that can help out in many cases. As for the birth control, if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t be engaging in activities that require it. It’s a pretty simple concept. Moreover it’s a concept of personal responsibility for ones actions. While those in power may think they are doing a good thing, all this decision does is further erode the whole concept of personal responsibility while reinforcing that insurance should just be a free handout instead of a safety net.
Moves such as this explain one facet of health care cost, insurance premiums and the benefits they bring. While there are still affordable plans to be found they are growing harder to find as companies weigh the cost of benefits provided against what the majority of the population demand. Can someone making $25,000 a year afford to go to the doctor and pay for the office visit? The answer is yes, I have been there making less. What they cannot afford is a few days in the hospital or a debilitating disease. This is where a reversal of direction in the thought process of what insurance really should be needs to take place; a safety net for the case of major injury.

While the cost of an office visit or an x-ray may run a few hundred dollars it is not a cost that cannot be overcome by most patients. In fact most medical facilities allow patients to make payments as well as offering discounts for paying in cash at the time of a visit.  But in the end it may require an extra job to pay the bills.  But it can be done.

Why is this an important conversation?  Because it’s really is not the government’s job to declare that free services, preventative or otherwise be made available by insurance companies. Preventative care should be left to each individual and should be a personal priority in a free society. One role the government could play, however, would be to ensure that every citizen had access to competitive insurance for life altering events. By allowing competition across state lines, incentivizing insurance companies to provide low cost higher deductible policies with prescription coverage in case of long term disability and ensuring that insurance companies are running an honest business.  Also government could help the consumer by allowing greater payroll tax deductions for health insurance and medical care, making health care a little more affordable for every individual.

This edict by the Health and Human Services Secretary will only add to the cost of health care in the long run, making it harder for those without coverage to attain it while increasing the costs for others and putting an even bigger strain on insurance companies as some are already eliminating policies due to the health care act passed last year.

P.S. As always if you think I am wrong feel free to submit an article telling me why.

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This post was submitted by American_Innovation.

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