The health care reform debate continues to heat up even as the U.S. House and Senate are gearing down for the August recess. Proponents of reform say the current system is not working, it’s broken and much too expensive. AARP State Director Jane Wiley says while her organization has not endorsed any of bills that have moved out of Congressional committees, the organization does see the need for those on Medicare and those who struggling to make ends meet in this uncertain economic climate.
“If you’re on Medicare and you’re receiving this Part D prescription drug coverage those savings alone would be very beneficial. Also if you lose your job, and in these uncertain times that could be a likelihood for many folks unfortunately, you would have a public plan you could go until you’re employed again or you become eligible for Medicare,” she says.
Wiley says individuals, businesses, health professionals, and government all have a stake in improving access to affordable, high quality health care.
Wiley says she heard the charges from opponents that the voices for health care reform coming out of Washington are actually beating the drum for socialized medicine. Wiley says for decades millions of persons have been the beneficiaries of government Subsidized health care.
“I hear folks say ” i don’t want anybody to mess with my Medicare because I don’t want any government run program.” I have to point out that that they’re in a government run program and it’s been pretty effective. This is not socialized medicine, most people will still be covered through their employer.”
Wiley says those who are harping on the term “socialized medicine” are just using rhetoric and scare tactics because they don’t want to see health care reform for whatever reason.
Wiley says as she examines the proposed health care reform measures, the feature that must be a part of the bill that ultimately comes up for a vote must have affordable health care options for persons with pre-existing conditions.
“Right now even if you can afford a policy, if you have something like hypertension or diabetes or high cholesterol, an insurance company may not want to cover you and if they do the premiums would be so outrageous, you couldn’t afford it.”
Wiley says she has heard the critics saying that health care reform will hurt small business. Wiley says her organization has partnered with with the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. Wiley says the Chamber’s President Frank Knapp says reform will help small business obtain quality coverage for its employees.
“He says it will not affect most small businesses, 85 percent of small businesses will not be affected and there will be subsidies in place for small businesses to offer coverage to their employees. most small businesses. most small business owners I believe, and I”m not an expert on this. but from what I heard. would very much like to do it but it is way too costly right now.”