In the United States, many citizens do not have health insurance. Some people cannot afford health insurance. A recent CNN article explains that other people are unable to obtain health insurance because they have pre-existing medical conditions.
People that have group insurance plans are able to receive health care coverage even with pre-existing conditions. However, some people do not have group insurance plans because their employers do not provide health insurance, they are self-employed, or they are unable to work. These people have to apply for individual insurance plans. Twenty-one percent of people who apply for individual insurance plans are rejected, charged higher premiums for insurance plans including coverage for their pre-existing conditions, or offered insurance plans excluding coverage for their pre-existing conditions.
The health insurance industry’s trade association created a proposal to reform health care, which promises to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions provided that the United States government requires its citizens to purchase health insurance. As sociologists, we should question: If the United States government implements these suggested health care reforms, who stands to benefit and who stands to lose?
In the United States, people have difficulty obtaining health insurance when they are poor or have pre-existing conditions. In contrast, all other industrialized nations have universal health care systems, where people receive health care based on their needs. Perhaps, the United States government might consider reforming its health care system, using the universal health care systems in other industrialized nations as guides.