Let’s celebrate  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health Care

Let’s celebrate Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health Care

Every year on July 4th we celebrate Independence Day- the day the original 13 American colonies established an independent country.

They subsequently established a government, military, educational system, highway system, public works, and a healthcare system.

We Americans may pride ourselves on not having “socialized” medicine or “national healthcare”, but we do have  a health care system that is a combination of public and private funding and administration. And even private healthcare must comply with a myriad of local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

 

I believe we have one of the best healthcare systems in the world  because of the people who work in healthcare- the people who devote years to education and training and who work tirelessly 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to make and keep us well.  Their commitment, compassion, dedication and competence benefits all of us and deserves our gratitude.

 

 

 

Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty lifting her torch in New York harbor

 

According to recent statistics, the United States government accounts for-

40% of healthcare  spending

$1.3 trillion /year

Covering 100 million individuals

Through 4 federal agencies

Department of Health and Human Services 

Department of Defense

Veterans Administration

Department  of Homeland Security

(JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), June 21, 2016)

 

 

The  United States Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 to guarantee basic health insurance to all citizens.  President Trump vowed to “repeal and replace” this law and currently Congress is grappling with that task.

During the American Revolution the fledgling government extended health care benefits to the soldiers and veterans of that war; that system evolved into the current military health care system which covers service members and the Veterans’ Administration system for veterans.

a Veterans Administration clinic
a Veterans Administration clinic (photo by blogger)
American soldiers serving in Afghanistan
American soldiers serving in Afghanistan

 

 

Two other government healthcare programs- Medicare and Medicaid are over 50 years old. 

Medicaid provides insurance coverage for adults and children who are unemployed or low income.  

Medicare covers disabled children and adults  and persons 65 years and older.

The numbers are rather staggering.

  • Together these programs cover at least 30% of Americans.
  • Together they comprise 25% of all federal spending.
  • Together they pay 40% of total U.S. health care spending.

An infographic from the Kaiser Family Foundation and JAMA explains this further.

 

 

You may not be eligible for either of these programs now, but chances are eventually you or someone close to you will.

  • Anyone can become disabled from a serious illness or freak accident.
  • You or your spouse may lose your job and your employer sponsored health insurance.
  • Your child may have a disability that will prevent them from working when they grow up.
  • We may all live long enough to qualify for Medicare on the basis of age alone.  Your parents or grandparents are near or already at Medicare age.
Senior adults age 65 and older use Medicare.
Senior adults age 65 and older use Medicare.

 

It’s important to understand how Medicare works, since it’s not automatic; even if you qualify, you need to sign up to be covered (with a few exceptions). The rules are summarized here. Or consider an easy to understand book here. 

 

Several government agencies regulate, monitor,  promote and/or support both public and private healthcare including-

 

Food and Drug Administration- FDA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- CDC

National Institutes of Health- NIH

Occupational Safety and Health administration-OSHA

Drug Enforcement Agency-DEA

 

I’ll feature some of these agencies on Facebook as Wednesday Words in July.

I’ll also share posts from their Facebook pages throughout the month so stop by often. 

 

medication capsules
The FDA regulates the development and sale of medications and medical devices and the DEA regulates dangerous and controlled drugs.

Congress enacted several important laws that  concern health care such as

The Affordable Care Act- ACA

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-HIPPA

Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act- EMTALA

Health Information Technology  for Economic and Clinical Health- HITECH

Americans with Disabilities Act-ADA

Family Medical Leave Act-FMLA

 

 

 

 

 

Liberty Bell -replica
replica of the Liberty Bell at Disney World, Florida

 

 

In the Declaration of Independence, the founders of the United States created a nation based on the “self-evident truths”  of  “Life ,Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” and to promote “Safety and Happiness” . 

In the Constitution they vowed to “promote the general Welfare” .

 

I wonder if they envisioned their new government would spend so much time and money providing and regulating health care –

most of which was not available or even imagined at that time? 

 

 

Let’s celebrate!

woman holding a sprakler
Let’s celebrate ! This photo and featured image from stock photo site- Lightstock.com (affiliate)

 

 

 

Comments welcome and encouraged!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Let’s celebrate Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health Care

  1. Thank you for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

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  2. Thanks Aletha for the information on healthcare coverage and the peek into a healthcare provider’s perspective. I work for a nonprofit insurance company (a mutual insurance association). Many people may be surprised to hear that our main concern is also our members’ health and welfare. We live in crazy, uncertain times as far as government and healthcare in the US are concerned. It is my hope that somehow we can all work together for the good of all our citizens. Thanks for bringing this important conversation to #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

    ~Christie

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    1. Crazy and uncertain definitely describes it. The one thing that isn’t uncertain is that people will always need healthcare and that there will always be people like us whose main goal is to provide it the best way possible. Christie, thanks for reading.

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  3. This was a very comprehensive post Aletha. In Australia we have free healthcare (Medicare) available to all plus also Private Health cover if you choose (although that is becoming quite expensive). Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty I have shared on social media. Have a great week and see you at next week’s link up! Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty & Beyond
    http://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au

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    1. Thank you for reading my post Sue and for the information about Australia’s system. I am interested in learning more about other nations’ healthcare payment systems, they all seem to work to some extent, but none are perfect. In my travels abroad, I find that generally we physicians aren’t as concerned with the payment system as we are in the quality of care our patients receive, however it is paid for.

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  4. This post is very informative and definitely bettered my understanding in many areas. Thank you for sharing it at: #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

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