If you don’t believe that politicians are meddling in your health care, perhaps you missed the news this week.
Listen closely and you’ll hear the cries of “death panels” echoing. And the chorus of hypocritical rants against expanding Medicaid, a move that would have aided hundreds of thousands of people in Missouri and Kansas.
First, a 500-plus page report assessing the medical care that many Americans receive in their final days was released. The study emphasized what anyone who has helped guide an aging parent through their final years quickly learns.
Costly procedures are often prescribed, rather than pain care management and health care help in their homes, care that many elderly people say they would prefer. Some of this can be managed with more attention given to advance care planning, where people make sure their wishes are known in the event they may no longer be able to articulate desires themselves. That’s work that needs to happen within families, encouraged by hospitals and medical teams. It’s not death panels.
Otherwise, accessing Medicare coverage for more in-home health care services will take congressional authorization. But that is a problem for our stalemate-prone Congress.
Other reporting is tracking one impact of Obamacare at hospitals.
In the metropolitan area and nationwide, hospitals are raising the bar for how much income people can have and still meet financial assistance guidelines for their care. Hospitals are trying to balance budgets as more low-income people gain access to health care. A lot of moving pieces are involved here. But numbers of newly insured aren’t what they could be locally, in part because politicians in Missouri and Kansas refused to expand Medicaid, which would have accepted reimbursements from the Affordable Care Act. GOP hard-liners are behind it.
Bucking even fellow Republicans, some want to make Obamacare — and by association President Obama — look bad (as if the program’s rollout didn’t cause enough angst). It’s a political strategy, nothing more. People’s health care options aren’t part of the equation.
With the November midterm elections approaching, health care is one issue that voters ought to weigh heavily. Is your choice for office trying to make political points for his or her ideology, or are they really looking out for the health care of you and your loved ones?