President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office have been marked by plenty of controversy and questions on how he can lead our country.
One of the most contentious issues facing the Obama administration is health care; how do we change it, and where should we go from here?
When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a disease of the colon that causes chronic inflammation. As a result, I’ve spent many hours in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, usually with the formidable goal of relieving my symptoms.
As Obama moves past his first 100 days, I am concerned about how government-sponsored health care will alter my current health insurance and change the way I manage my illness. As a self-employed freelance writer, I cut a check every month for private insurance to cover my family. Although expensive, it provides me with a level of security I do not believe I could maintain with government-sponsored health care.
Doctors who are free to practice without extensive government oversight have incentive to compete with one another to earn patients and positive reputations. Because they can set their own fee schedules and arrange their own practices, health care remains a field in which physicians pursue avenues of continued education and determine their own patient rosters.
In a society of government-sponsored health care, I fear such incentives will evaporate. Doctors under the government’s firm thumb will struggle to fill their offices with as many patients as possible to earn the same income as before. Waiting times for simple procedures will increase dramatically, and taxes will have to increase to support this new government expenditure.
Currently, I can call my general practitioner and be in her office the very next day — sometimes the same day, if her schedule allows. If I need lab work or ancillary tests, flexible appointments and relatively fast results mean health problems do not have time to escalate.
Additionally, I am concerned about the seniors of our society. The life expectancy in America has increased dramatically over the last several decades, which means there are more senior citizens requiring health care. The bureaucracy and red tape surrounding current government-sponsored programs, such as Medicare, paint a grim picture for a more universal application of the same system.
I realize I am fortunate. My income from freelance writing is sufficient to provide my family with health care, and Obama’s first 100 days have been focused on those less fortunate than I. However, I fail to see how creating a government-sponsored health care system will improve the lives of American citizens.
According to BarackObama.com, the initial goal for government-sponsored health care was to “lower health care costs by $2,500 for a typical family.” However, the Wall Street Journal reports that Democrats are considering their options and may choose a plan that isn’t in line with their original intentions.