The other day I had an experience that got me thinking our current state. Preventative care is not stressed and/or valued enough in our nations health care. Maybe that's due to the fact that there is a lot of money to be made on sick people, more money than if these sick people had the option of preventing their illness in the first place.
Through my job I have the option of putting some of my monthly salary into a "flex" account. This account can be used for medical expenses like co pays, prescriptions, glasses, over the counter medication, etc. The nice thing about this account is that the money is taken out of my paycheck before it is taxed. So it is a benefit in that I am getting more for this money as part of it is not being taken away from me before I get it. Since the new school year has just started, the year end on the flex account is quickly approaching. The one catch with this account is that any money you don't use by the year end date is lost. I haven't been told where it goes, but it doesn't get pushed into the next year and it doesn't get sent back to me in a check. When I first signed up for this account a few years back, that fact bothered me a lot. But over time I realized that if the deadline was getting close and I still had money in the account I could quickly spend it on over the counter meds like aspirin and cold medication. I have never needed to spend this way before because I have always used the amount in the account. This past year I put a bit more into the account than previous years since in previous years I have run out of money a few months before the year end. I thought this additional amount would even me out over the year and, as it is tax free, would be more beneficial to me. However, at my year end I have about $150 left in the account.
Off to Target I went this weekend to stock up on the year's cold medicine (NyQuil, DayQuil) and big bottles of Tylenol and Excedrin. I also added some bottles of my multivitamins to the cart. All of the medication went through without any problems, but the vitamins were not allowed through. Apparently I am not allowed to use this flex account on vitamins - vitamins that will hopefully limit my need for all the chemical-driven cold medicine that I need. I still bought them, with my regularly taxed money, but I think this very small experience says a lot about our country's views on this issue. I think it also says a lot about why the drug and insurance companies don't want government getting involved in health care. If we are well, they don't make money.
A few year's back I had a conversation with a friend of mine who has contacts in the movie industry. Apparently the industry's insurance is very good. Something that struck me as funny (not haha) was that the insurance didn't cover birth control for its insured females, but it did cover Viagra for its insured males. (I guess that's a little funny haha, and pretty ironic).
I, luckily, am not one of the many Americans who don't have health care. My school district provides me with health insurance and foots the bill for all of it (for now anyway). I could say it was good insurance as, with a slightly higher copay, I can choose to go to any doctor (including specialists) that I want. I won't say it's good insurance because about 2 years ago my regular doctors stopped accepting my insurance because they got tired of dealing with the insurance company.
Politically, I swim in the left on most issues, but occasionally dip my feet into the right side of the pool. I truly believe however that health care is not a liberal/conservative issue. It's a life/death issue. Politicians need to get the politics out of health care and do something to fix this system. It is clearly not working for a lot of people (republican and democrat).