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Economics: Healthcare in the USA
I believe that the most important economic issue facing the USA at this time is healthcare and prescription drugs. Affordable healthcare and prescription coverage should be available to everyone. Coverage should also have options for small businesses and the self-employed. Recent surveys state that some 47 million U.S. residents have no health insurance, and the numbers keep growing. This is a very personal issue for me as I am one of the 47 million people without health insurance coverage.
I am employed full-time for the State Comptroller’s Office as an Administrative Assistant. I actually am employed by Accustaff, a temporary agency. I have worked for them for 2 ½ years without any benefits. Prior to this employment, I had 22 years of employment with the County of Columbia and always had benefits, which included health insurance. I was making $50,000 a year and I am now making $21,000 a year. I was told that I make “too much money” to be eligible for Medicaid. The health insurance available through my employer is extremely expensive and the coverage is “limited” and is full of deductibles and exclusions. I was recently sick and went to St. Peter’s Hospital Emergency Room. The ER doctor saw me for 2.2 minutes and diagnosed me with an upper respiratory infection. No other diagnostic testing was done. He gave me prescriptions to fill and I was sent home. I had to request prescriptions that were on the Wal-Mart $4.00 list otherwise, I would not be able to afford the prescriptions. I received a bill for $600.00 just for walking in the door and $298.00 for the “evaluation” – which was a few questions and a look at my ears and throat and listening to my chest?????????? Yet I have friends who are recipients of Medicaid and they get free “EVERYTHING” from prescriptions, to ER visits, to well-care visits, to mental health and substance abuse treatment etc…… What is wrong with this picture? EVERYTHING is wrong. The price of prescription drugs is out of control. Even people who have insurance coverage can have trouble paying the deductibles for their medications. I am in need of an anti-anxiety prescription that is very expensive and there is no generic alternative to the drug at this time. There are other drugs that are “similar” to the drug that I need, but they all make me feel “drowsy” and “out of it”. So I am left without my medication. I even have friends that have prescription drug coverage through employment and the insurance companies will not cover this specific drug because it is “too expensive”. Yet I know for a fact that Medicaid recipients can get this prescription “FREE”. There are so many abuses in the Medicaid system. It makes me very angry.
This is just a small sample of what I believe is wrong in the health care system. There is no fairness whatsoever. I recently went to the free clinic in Schenectady, New York and I was there for 4 hours because it was so crowded. It was unbelievable. I met someone that day at the clinic who told me about the “free” cancer screenings available to individuals over 40 years of age. I am in need of this screening because of a strong family history. One of the screenings that I am in need of because my mother died from the disease is not available to me because I am “too young” and I don’t fit the criteria. So I guess I’m out of luck. If my mother had been tested early enough, she would still be alive. I don’t even have the choice to be tested or not. I cannot afford it and that’s the final answer I guess. In a country like France, the government provides health coverage for everyone. Our government wastes sooooo much money on stupid things and there are so many “high ranking” officials making six-figure salaries to do nothing. Why can’t our government use some of this wasted money on health care? So many unanswered questions. Healthcare should not be a “privilege”. It is a basic human right that should be afforded to everyone. No one should ever have to decide if they are going to eat today or take their medication.

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