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Ohio Health Care…Where Do We Go From Here?

What is the future of healthcare here in Ohio? Single-payer system? Government-run? Let market conditions dictate rates for consumers and allow insurance companies to compete for consumer business?

 

Ohio Health Care

Ohio Health Care Exchange

 

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has said that, by 2011, he hopes to reduce the number of uninsureds by 500,000. He also hopes to increase the number of  small businesses that offer health insurance to their workers.

Generally, uninsured Ohioans:

·Live in households with a full-time employee

·Graduated high school

·Have been uninsured for more than 12 months

·Live in urban areas

When compared to insured residents, uninsured Ohioans:

·Are in poorer health

·Receive less  care

·Receive less preventive attention

·Are less productive

·Have more medical bills

·Live shorter lives

So…without bankrupting the state and unnecessarily charging consumers, what can be done?

Ohio health care coverage for uninsured residents must focus on prevention, continuity of care, and ease of use. Existing public and private health care systems should be the backbone of the reform. Major health insurance companies should remain an important part of the solution…not just taken for granted.

Some  principles that reflect Governor Strickland’s goal of reducing the number of  uninsureds are:

·We  must take personal responsibility for reducing health care costs, which includes taking proactive actions to keep ourselves healthy. Naturally, getting annual physicals is a start.

·Reform must be sustainable, and have a measurable impact. Obamacare may not be the answer.

·All residents, including people with serious medical conditions, must have access to affordable health care.

·Ohio health care coverage should include ways that allow its residents to maintain good health, and seek medical help, if needed, as quickly as possible.

One of the best ways to encourage individuals to obtain quality and affordable coverage is to provide tax credits for a portion of the premiums, and make preventative treatment a condition to continue those tax credits.

Perhaps, by 2011, such an initiative will become a reality. But don’t hold your breath.

Approximately 1.3 million Ohioans are without health insurance. Most of them do not have access to affordable coverage. And more than likely, many are not receiving the appropriate medical treatment to maintain healthy lifestyles.


UPDATE: Actually it is 2011 right now (June) and there are still plenty of uninsured here in Ohio. National health care reform has created the state high risk pool which helps a little. But the real test will come in 2014. A lot can happen between now and then. Preventive benefits are included on most policies now so that’s a positive.
UPDATE: 9-24-2013. Open Enrollment for the Ohio Health Exchange begins in about eight days. The high risk pool is gone and will be replaced by a new medical delivery system where everyone gets approved when they apply for coverage. Tax subsidies can potentially pay up to 100% of premiums.
Premiums will rise for many individuals and families, especially if they do not receive any subsidy assistance.  And of course, it is now against the law if you do not buy qualified and approved coverage by January 1. The $95 per year tax will increase every year. In 2016, the tax penalty can be as much as 2.5% of your household income.
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