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.