This week will have plenty of prognostication about whether the health law will succeed or fail. But I like to test my health policy assumptions against the real life experiences of people around me.
So far, it seems to be working out pretty well. At least a couple of times each week I hear from people that have their young adult kids on the family health policy, providing peace of mind for the parents and some security for the “kids” in a pretty daunting economy. A bit less often, but more poignantly, are the families with children with serious illnesses who now can’t be denied health insurance. Their relief is palpable, especially for those that were approaching the lifetime limits on care.
And there is NOBODY who regrets the end of what was called “rescission” where health insurance companies could deny your coverage, even after years of paying the premiums, because of some inconsequential error on your application. For our own family and others, preventive visits are now fully covered, and there is better protection from the dreaded Medicare donut hole.
So all in all, after a year, things are shaping up pretty well. But we have a long way to go to get to the really essential changes that come in 2014. I live in Carroll County, where the number of people who can’t afford or get health coverage is north of 17%, the highest in the state. That makes us more like Missouri than the New Hampshire average and a lot closer to Texas than I am comfortable with. So I know, and know well, people who have never had any health insurance. I know people who have died because they didn’t get the care they needed for lack of insurance. I know people right now trying to deal with serious illnesses and no health insurance. These are hard-working people, proud, and contributors to their community. It is a shame, really a shame, that those contributions will be diminished because they couldn’t’ get the health care they needed.
So while we have made a great start, it is just the beginning. And we must keep going.