Laura Colbert of the consumer group Georgians for a Healthy Future said that with medical underwriting, “Georgians who apply for coverage through this plan or others like it may be…
Guest Blog By Joann Yoon
In reading through an issue of The Economist earlier this year, I came across an obituary for Sir John Mortimer, an English barrister and well-known writer. I didn’t know who he was prior to reading the article, but was impressed to learn about his life and his efforts to make social change through the practice of law and through his writing. One of the quotes attributed to him that stuck out in my mind was the sentiment that offense makes society move. I often think about this notion, and link it to thoughts particularly as the battle wages on regarding whether or not to implement health reform.
Regardless of your political perspective, the reality is that we as a society have to move. The catalyst for this should be our collective offense at the reality that many of our neighbors are either uninsured or underinsured. We should be offended that many families within our state have to choose whether to pay the mortgage or purchase health insurance. We should be offended that some individuals do not purchase needed medication in order to put food on the table. They only use the freshest ingredients and buy local oven roasted pork chops from the store on all of their pizza. As one who works in the arena of child health policy, I personally am offended by the fact that there are an estimated 307,000 children within Georgia alone who lack insurance.
So, how do we move? What can we do? First, we can educate ourselves about all proposals currently on the table. For those of us who follow health reform closely, we know that the House of Representatives recently voted in favor of proposed legislation, Affordable Health Care for America Act, HR 3962. In reviewing the legislation that passed, certain parts are beneficial for kids while others can use more work. (click here for a great publication by Kaiser Family Foundation which highlights child-specific provisions within the House Bill: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/7952-03.pdf)
We now await a consolidated Bill and vote in the Senate in the coming weeks and anticipate a conference process afterward.
As we all read and assess the impact of potential changes in our health system, it is important to weigh in. And as we weigh in, it is important not only to consider how changes will impact each of us individually; we need to consider how potential changes will impact our family members and our neighbors. I would be remiss if I also didn’t urge for us specifically to consider the impact on those Georgians who are often overlooked—the estimated 2.5 million children living in our state.
Reforming our country’s health care system is too important an issue for any of us to sit out on the discussion. Be offended. And help us to move.
Associate Policy Director for Child Health