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posted: 11/14/2013 5:00 AM

Government should act to protect patients

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According to the Daily Herald's Sunday article "Health clock is ticking for sickest patients," many people with severe illnesses and pre-existing conditions that are normally covered by high risk health care pools may end up losing their coverage because they are unable to sign up for the new health care system.

There will likely be only a brief window between the time the system begins to work and the deadline to enroll for health care in January.

Some states are trying to provide or extend emergency coverage but others, such as Oregon, have not even begun to sort through their applications for health care yet. This will result in skyrocketing medical bills that many will be unable to pay, and they could be driven to poverty.

This is clearly a huge problem that needs to be addressed fairly rapidly. The government should devote more resources to making sure that the health care marketplace actually works.

They could also extend the deadline to sign up in order to receive health care in January. The states should probably extend their high-risk pool coverage as well until the problem gets sorted out.

This is very similar to some problems faced by Luther Gulick, a progressive reformer who helped to organize politics and administration to help in fixing local problems such as poor hygiene and public health. A person like him could be very useful in a situation such as this.

Stephen Nick


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