The Public Option

I recently spent two days in the hospital.  I received surgery, anesthesia and all the other bells and whistles that come with a hospital stay.  Unfortunately I just had returned to America after several years overseas and had just started a new job. So I had no health insurance.   But I left the hospital without paying a cent and was told after answering some questions that I was eligible for a 60 percent discount. I am still investigating payment options, too. So I am not worried — yet.

I was very happy with my care there.  The hospital previously had a poor reputation, but I had no complaints.  Someone mentioned that they had just been bought by another health care company, so it is possible care improved as a result of that. But that is just speculation.

The stay has made me think of all the hoopla about the state of health care in the United States and the proposals of the Obama administration.  Health insurance was one of those things I neglected to think about when I arrived here.  Under Obama’s public option, it is my understanding I would have been required to have it.  To me, that’s a good thing. Sometimes a little pressure pushes us to action.

On the other hand, any tinkering with a health care system, which by reputation and now by my own personal experience is probably the best in the world, that reduces its quality is a bad thing.  Like many Americans I have a great distrust of anything run by the government when it comes to quality. 

Can we have both quality health care and a public option which makes affordable health insurance available for everyone? Here’s hoping that the answer is, “Yes we can!”


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