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September 16, 2012

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD

Digital hospital cross

From The Democratization of Health Care Series

Posted July 17, 2012 | Updated September 16, 2012

By Gary A. Puckrein

Published on the Huffington Post

The Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of critical provisions of the Affordable Care Act brought to a grinding halt in the second round of the great American health reform debate. The first round culminated in President Obama signing the bill into law. The small government community (Smallers) is now orchestrating a round three, a November plebiscite — because they cannot believe that a majority of Americans, given the direct opportunity, would really vote to reform the system so that 38 million of their fellow citizens can have access to health insurance.

Health insurance is essential. It is the medium through which the promise of health and medical services is transformed into life-sustaining care and treatment. You cannot help but notice, when you walk into a point of care (physician’s office, hospital, pharmacy), before you meet with a professional or receive any services, you are greeted by someone who politely demands your health insurance card. The card evinces the ability to pay and communicates which products and services you are eligible to receive, at what price, for how long, and the copayment for which you have personal liability. Of course, the consumers and providers are free to negotiate services and financial arrangements outside of what is reimbursable under the terms of the insurance plan. But that rarely occurs. 

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