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Be An Aware Health Care Consumer. Ask Questions. Get Answers

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., encourages all who read this blog to really take it to heart.  We have a general election coming up in Nov. 2016. If the Republicans win the presidency, and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the most important piece of legislation implemented under President Obama, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will be in grave jeopardy. It is  imperative that those of us who benefit from the ACA, be actively involved in understanding how it works and hold care providers accountable for how charges are billed for the services we receive.  Even more important, Americans NEED the ACA. 

More than 22 million people now have health care coverage.  In the #1 country, there should not be millions of people who cannot afford health coverage.  We all need to be actively involved.  Here is an excellent example of consumer involvement.  Yes, it is a part of his job, but in the person of Mr. Stossel we have an important lesson: 

John Stossel, Fox News Consumer Reporter, He Has Lung Cancer. Why should that matter to you or to any of us?

Because when this report was published, he was in the hospital. As a health care consumer, he is getting first hand information about what happens in some of our hospitals.  It can be truly frightening.  With short excerpts from Stossel's article in the Washington Post, OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc is encouraging our readers to be proactive health care consumers.  Be An Aware Health Care Consumer.  Know  What Is Being Prescribed and why before you go out and buy it and consume it.

  • Stossel is making some excellent points.  Health Care consumers NEED to be more proactive.
  • DON’T HELP THE HOSPITAL TO DRIVE UP COSTS. ASK QUESTIONS.  Do you need 3 chest x-rays in 3 days? Why?
  • Hospitals are ripping us off; they are the ones driving up the cost of health insurance.
  • Don’t just accept a bunch of tests; know what they are for. Ask questions. Don’t just say yes to what they order, ask about the benefits and the possible side-effects. We hear about people getting hooked on prescription drugs.
  • How long do I need to take those pills? How many am I getting?

Here is what Stossel wrote: “But as a consumer reporter, I have to say, the hospital’s customer service stinks.”  It does not hurt to keep in mind that Stossel identifies himself as being a libertarian.  (Libertarians believe in, and pursue, personal freedom while maintaining personal responsibility. Stossel has been harshly criticized for having biased objectives, and for framing a report to prove his predetermined point)

“I get X-rays, EKG tests, echo-cardiograms, blood tests. Are all needed? I doubt it. But no one discusses that with me or mentions the cost. Why would they? The patient rarely pays directly. Government or insurance companies pay.”

“Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialist bureaucracies,” Stossel added. “Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies.”

   I don’t agree with Stossel on many things.  I do agree that sometimes “Government ‘help’ encourages (some) poor people to be dependent and passive,” he wrote last year. “Dependent, people stay poor."  This is too much of a generalization for me.  People who are uninformed are often taken advantage of.  This is why OneWorld advocates for self-empowerment through information.  "Also, most government handouts don’t even go to the poor. They go to the middle class (college loans, big mortgage tax deductions, Medicare) and the rich (corporate welfare, bailouts to banks ‘too big to fail’)."

  • It’s important that, as health care consumers, we pay close attention to, and be active participants in the health care we are getting.  We should know why we are getting specific tests and prescriptions. 
  • Try as best we can ascertain if we have allergies to certain medicines.
  • Learn about side potential effects before we take specific medications.
  • With the ACA, there are many who want to make it difficult for the program to continue.  Do your part to keep the ACA accessible to those who need it. 
  • Do not allow those who are playing politics to affect your health and well-being.

"The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been one of the most controversial pieces of social legislation enacted in recent history. Much of the debate, however, has been partisan and ideological in nature. A considered discussion of the law’s successes and failures to date is long overdue."

In a new collection of publications, The Commonwealth Fund looks at whether, after five years, the ACA is meeting its aim of expanding affordable health care coverage—and improving the functioning of our health insurance and health care system. While the law’s coverage expansions have been widely followed, few critics, or even supporters, are aware that the ACA constitutes the nation’s largest effort so far to improve quality of care and contain costs. It is this combination of coverage and delivery system reforms that, if successful, will help bring about a sustainable health system that works well for everyone." In a careful study published in May 2015, The Commonwealth Fund published two reports.  They are linked below. The more we know the better we can benefits from as well as understand the system.

To learn more about how the Affordable Care Act is changing the face of U.S. health care, OneWorld encourages you to read:

It is time to let the facts guide our discussions of the future of the Affordable Care Act.

 OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement. 

We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities.  Our objectives are to inform and positively engage the broader community in meaningful and thoughtful dialogue.  How can we change things for the better?

Thank you kindly,

N’Zinga Shani, M.Sc., MBA

Executive Director and Program Manager

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Comment by N'Zinga Shani on April 23, 2016 at 2:16am

"The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been one of the most controversial pieces of social legislation enacted in recent history. Much of the debate, however, has been partisan and ideological in nature. A considered discussion of the law’s successes and failures to date is long overdue." Whether we benefit directly with coverage under the ACA or not, as a member of our community we benefit.  It is imperative that the ACA be fine-tuned and improved over the coming years; we cannot allow the GOP to eliminate it. As a civilized society, prior to the implementation of the ACA, having more than 46 mil without reasonable access to health care coverage is barbaric.  The ACA provides health care access to 22.6 mil. We can do better, but it's a good start; let's be aware and involved.

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