Healthcare: Right or Privilege?

Written by Joanna Morrow

Joanna Morrow, Principal and Founder of Employer Benefits & Advice, is an employer consultant and advocate who has worked in the employee benefits industry for over two decades. She works diligently to help employers overcome obstacles in their business by sharing her expertise in Human Resources, Benefits & Compensation, Process Mapping, Risk Management and ERISA/DOL/IRS compliance. She is a licensed life and health insurance professional in the State of Arizona and is an active member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).

Healthcare: Right or Privilege?

Does it Matter?

The final article in this series addresses a long-standing debate of whether healthcare should be a right or a privilege.

The truth is the answer to that question is irrelevant. Healthcare is a necessity – end of story.

Demand for Healthcare Is Constant

As long as we are living and breathing on this earth the demand for healthcare is a constant. A very small few of us may be lucky enough to go our entire lives without suffering any major medical event, but most of us at some time or another are going to require healthcare in some shape or form. That said, we must accept that each time we access health services it creates a cost.

That is the single fact related to healthcare on which we must all start in agreement.

Health Care Financing

Health Insurance on the other hand is simply a mechanism to finance our healthcare costs. Allowing people the right to choose whether or not they wish to purchase health insurance is simply giving them the right to decide whether or not they wish to finance the 100% certainty that they will access healthcare at some point in their lifetime.

Since the Obama administration passed into law in 2014 the Individual Mandate which requires everyone to purchase a financing mechanism for their healthcare (health insurance), people have argued that such a requirement is an infringement on our personal rights and freedoms.

That may very well be the case. The problem is that in our current system a big factor driving the cost of care are the number of people, approximately 20 million, who, for various reasons, do not finance their medical care. We make it a rule that people can refuse to buy health insurance with only a small tax penalty, but hospitals can’t refuse to deliver care.

This dichotomy in accountability costs the system millions each year.

If you’ve been following this series then you recognize by now the common theme that suggests we can’t truly reduce insurance costs until we first address the cost of care for all. Making healthcare more affordable requires we unravel the true costs of care instead of focusing on what it costs to finance that care.

The Right Conversations

As long as we present a health risk as an entire population then there must be both an acknowledgment of that risk as well as a plan for each of us when it comes to financing our medical care.

As discussed in this four-part series, everyone has the opportunity to make an impact when it comes to reducing the cost of care, provided the right people are talking about the right things and at the right time:

Conversations for Individuals

Conversations for Employers

Conversations for Politicians

As the country continues in what I hope to be a clearer and more relevant discussion around factors that make financing healthcare difficult, I hope that each of us will continue to ask new questions and consider new conversations that will ultimately lead us in the right direction.

Ready for a New Discussion About Health Insurance and Employee Benefits?

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