President Obama is quite rightly calling for Congress to address health care. The availability of health care for all at reasonable and affordable prices is essential to the physical, mental, and spiritual health of our citizens. However, we must address the cost of this tremendous undertaking. Otherwise, if we keep financing America by borrowing from other countries, we will eventually be owned by China–not a good prospect from my point of view, but undoubtedly intriguing from the Chinese point of view! If we tax the average middle class citizen, other difficulties present themselves, as these middle class citizens–including myself–are already struggling to cover their financial needs.
As a teacher in Pasadena, CA, I paid under $200 per month towards my family health care benefits. As a teacher in Albuquerque, I pay well over $300 for health care benefits that require greater out of pocket co-pays than in Cali. Additionally, my salary will decrease next year due to greater payments into my retirement benefits. When U.S. senators airily talk about taxing employer provided health benefits, I cringe at the thought of having to possibly curb basic health care expenses my family currently incurs. Cancer follow-up CT scan? Will I be able to pay for it? Chiropractic for my son who needs therapy following a broken foot injury? Co-pays of $25 per visit or hospital co-pays of $250 for colonoscopies add up extremely quickly. Wisdom teeth extaction? Root canal for an aching to What kind of health care benefits do U.S. senators have, anyway?
My family cannot afford to purchase a house on our current salaries, and is preparing to finance a son’s college education. We fall into the middle class category of having too much money to qualify for aid for low-income families, but not enough money to easily finance basic items such as a house or education–most importantly, essential health care even with our current level of benefits is challenging.
Even as I consider ways to suggest for improving health care for all, I call on our elected officials to seriously grapple with this issue of just how the government can pay for health care without overloading the averag citizen.