Health Care Reform and Obamacare

While congress continues to role play an unconvincing fight between Democrats and Republicans, has anyone noticed that no matter who wins, the health insurance companies stand to make a tidy haul?

Is anyone surprised that health insurance companies cancelled so many policies? Built in to the Obamacare plan were enough clauses to expand coverage for which, of course, companies would continue to offer coverage, but at a gut wrenching increase in price for inflated coverage. People whose income is just over the poverty line are the most threatened if they trust their insurance companies. They’re already struggling to survive and risk being sucked into poverty unless they check out subsidies they are entitled to.

While some of the health insurance companies have got to be laughing themselves all the way to the bank, alert state insurance commissioners like Kentucky’s Sharon Clark know how to pull the rug out from under the sting of companies like Humana. Humana sent out letters that encouraged customers to do nothing and their new policy would include all the Obamacare requirements (but at a much higher price they would learn of later.) Kentucky not only fined Humana for sending out misleading information letters to customers, they freed 2200 respondents from their obligation to Humana and allowed them to shop for insurance through the Obamacare with a start date of Oct. 1, (for a much better deal), according to Dylan Scott of Reader Supported News.

Also in the news this week was the World Happiness Report 2013, put out by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, which identified six factors that happiest countries have in common: a large GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy at birth, lack of corruption in leadership, a sense of social support, freedom to make life choices, and a culture of generosity.

Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands and Sweden topped the list. In Denmark, health care is a civil right, Danes feel a responsibility to each other reflected in a high rate of volunteerism. Danes create a real sense of belonging as a civic duty that includes economic security and a work-life balance to support it. Happy countries have very little direct involvement in war or other conflicts. US ranked 17th on the list.

We would do well to learn from happy countries as we grapple with health care, food, water, energy, education, employment, and environmental issues that affect us all. What would it be like to see a drastic reduction in the unemployment, terrorism and chronic illness that we allow to keep us bumped down the line?

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