Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Health care reform: Obama vs. McCain

The question of health care reform came up during the presidential debate tonight. Since it is something that affects diabetics, I wanted to mention it on my blog.

When asked about his health care plan, Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, described a plan where people can keep their own employer-sponsored health insurance — but those who aren't currently covered can get the same insurance provided for Federal employees.

Referring to the government-sponsored health insurance, Obama stated, "No one will be excluded for pre-existing conditions, which is a huge problem."

He ain't kidding. If I didn't have health insurance through my husband's employer-sponsored group plan, as a diabetic and a self-employed person I wouldn't be able to get health insurance.

Here, let me say that again, in case you missed it: As a type 1 diabetic, I cannot go out and buy an individual health insurance plan. The only time I can get health insurance is when the insurance company is literally roped into providing it, i.e., via an employer-sponsored group plan. That's because health insurance companies care more about making a profit than taking care of our health.

Because of my own situation, health care reform is one of the political issues I feel the most strongly about. It's not right that diabetics and others with pre-existing conditions can be discriminated against by a bunch of greedy multi-billion dollar companies. Aside from my liberal leanings, this is the biggest reason why I am voting for Obama.

And McCain's plans for health insurance reform? Well, let's just say it's not much of a reform. Sure, he'll give us each $5,000 a year in tax credits and encourage us to go out and buy our own health insurance, but he's not doing anything to ensure that people like me — people with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions — can actually buy health insurance.

In fact, McCain's plan would enable us to cross state lines to buy health insurance. As Obama pointed out, if that happens health insurance companies will all flock to the states with the fewest regulations... making it even harder for people with pre-existing conditions to find coverage.

So not only would I be no better off under McCain's plan, I could actually potentially be worse off.

This is why I am voting for Obama, and why I think you should too. Think about it: I was diagnosed as diabetic at age 22, with no history of it in my family before.

It could happen to you, too. And if it does, wouldn't you rather your health be seen as something that should be taken care of, rather than a liability?

No comments: