Healthcare has never been universal; the government has never been able to shoulder the burden of the millions of Americans who cannot afford treatment. Now, with a 14 billion dollar budget reduction for this year, healthcare is in danger of suffering even more cutbacks, potentially forsaking more people in need of medical attention. Clearly, some sort of reform is needed in order to alleviate the annual cost of healthcare while simultaneously expanding it to aid those who cannot currently afford it. There is no practical way of completely transforming the healthcare system overnight. However, it is important that we begin to redirect more of our budget towards healthcare; that we add more government involvement into the system; that we try to shift away from a “healthcare industry” and move towards a more publicly accessible, forgiving, manageable, and beneficial system of caring for our ill.
For these reasons, I support the plan of Governor Schwarzenegger. The Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act is a vital stepping stone towards making healthcare more readily available without putting a strain on the state treasury. It is important that this plan be put into action as soon as possible. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle commented that the “looming deficit is an argument for health-care reform now. Its potential for an infusion of federal funds - along with a lowering of the burden of treating the uninsured in high-cost emergency rooms - would mean that California could deliver more health care without a net drain on the state treasury." The Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act promises to do just that. Through federal and private aid, the Act promises to bring in $13 billion in funding for healthcare in the next year without siphoning finances out of other crucial areas of the budget. This influx of funding, combined with government involvement, will allow for our state hospitals to expand their healthcare programs. In addition, the state will be given the ability to manage the distribution of funds, which will give it more flexibility to respond to changes in California politics, as opposed to what the governor called an “autopilot” funding program.
While it is admirable to give the needy such a boost in their medical funding, the Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act also addresses the financial pressures of healthcare on a long term level. To curb the rising price of treatment, the Governor plans to spend part of the budget on “prevention” programs, which aim to reduce the number of long-term treatment diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and lung cancer through instruction and an encouragement of a healthy lifestyle. Over time, the diminishment of these expensive illnesses will allow for surplus in the healthcare budget. The saved money could then be used to fund healthcare for those who cannot afford it, allowing easier access to treatments for the needy. Healthcare is, after all, the preservation of human life. We cannot simply leave behind those who do not have the money to pay for their treatment. The Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act will make healthcare cheaper, more affordable, and thus more universal.
My personal belief is that healthcare should not be run as a business. It is important to realize that business is required by definition to make profits. With the rising cost of treatment, many health care businesses have had to turn away needy customers who were more expensive than profitable to treat. This manner of running our medical system leaves a much larger medical bill for those who do not qualify for insurance, condemning them to misery. While healthcare is dangerous to be run as a business, which places personal profit above general welfare, I am willing to compromise if a measure were devised that would allow more people to have access to coverage. With the passage of The Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act, a lower cost in health care would mean that businesses would not have to turn away so many low income and chronically ill patients. Those who make a living off of providing healthcare do not have to give up their livelihood, while simultaneously those in need of financial support can receive the money they need to continue a healthy lifestyle. The Health Care Security and Cost Reduction Act will assist everyone and open new doors for a more charitable means of caring for our state’s ill through its policies.