Earlier this week the house passed a healthcare reform bill. It is a 2,000 plus page document and I remain unsure that our representatives have actually read all of it. I have not read the bill in it’s entirety (good thing I’m not your representative), but I have been alerted to a huge change that voters everywhere must be aware of and take action on.
With the new heathcare plan, vision and dental plans for children would be separate than that of adults. Let me explain to you why this should have you on the phone, emailing or snail mailing your local congressperson.
Insurance companies take large groups of people and split the risk between them. If you work for a multinational corporation then your “group” is likely to be tens of thousands of people. The insurance companies use actuary tables to find the average cost per person, then they add a little so that their shareholders are paid back on their investments. The nations largest vision and dental providers are not for profit, and I’m not convinced that this should change. Currently my family enjoys vision and dental care. With the new plan, my children would be moved to their own vision and dental plans and 26,000 small businesses would be negatively impacted as well.
The new healthcare plan would create separate pools for children’s vision and dental insurance. I’m unclear what benefits would be offered to the kids with the new plan, but right now when you visit the dentist in addition to monitoring the health of your teeth and gums your dentist is the first person would would detect cancers in the mouth, lips or throat.
When my kids go to the pediatrician for their annual exam they read from an eye chart. They cover one eye and that’s pretty much the extent of it. If eye exams are rolled into medical I worry that kids will lose the proper eye exam they need each year.
Because my son was diagnosed with strabismus and ambloypia while still an infant, he has had an exorbitant number of eye exams. In addition to reading from a chart (don’t get me started on the early years…. they were tough) the eyes are dilated. With a dilated pupil and a skilled optometrist the eye provides physicians with an opportunity to see bloodflow and assess vascular health without being invasive.
One of the side effects of the obesity epidemic is a dramatic rise in type two diabetes. A thorough eye exam can give as much as a seven year advance warning to the onset of type two diabetes. With an advance warning people can change their food and exercise habits, and increase both their lifespan and their quality of life.
After my miserable day spent trying to get my son the H1N1 Vaccine in a county clinic setting, I saw the need for reform firsthand. To say that the level of care was substandard is a gross understatement.
I don’t have a solution. I wish I did, but I’m a Mom and a Housewife, not a lawmaker, not a healthcare worker nor a student of public health.
I can tell you this. Taking children and separating their dental and vision care from the parents (and this is mandatory folks!) is not an acceptable piece of this legislation.
It is critically important that you call or write your congressperson immediately and ask them why children would have separate policies. Ask your congressperson what vision care will remain. Ask them what dental care will remain in place? Tell your congressperson that our children deserve the diagnostics of a comprehensive annual vision exam, a complete exam performed by a physician that we choose. Tell your congressperson that our children deserve full dental examinations in dentist’s offices, and that this is about more than cavities and reading glasses.
Please contact your congressperson and explain to them that making an insurance group comprised solely of children is a terrible plan and that healthcare isn’t just about responding to illness. It should be about health.
If you don’t care about kids (I know I didn’t care that much before I had them) you should care because your wallet tells you to. An unhealthy nation is a poor one.