Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has stated that, by 2011, he hopes to reduce the number of uninsureds by 500,000. He also hopes to increase the number of Ohio small businesses that offer health insurance to their workers.
Generally, uninsured Ohioans:
• Live in households with a full-time worker
• Are high school graduates
• Have been uninsured for more than one year
• Live in urban areas
When compared to insured residents, uninsured Ohioans:
• Are in poorer health
• Receive less timely care
• Receive less preventive and primary care
• Are less productive
• Have more medical debt
• Are less productive and live shorter lives
So…without bankrupting the state and unnecessarily charging Ohio's insureds, what can be done?
Ohio health care coverage for uninsured residents must focus on prevention, continuity of care, and ease of use. Ohio's existing public and private health care systems should be the backbone of the reform.
Major health insurance companies should remain an integral part of the solution…not just brushed aside. And websites such as http://www.ohioquotes.com can help Ohio residents find affordable health coverage.
Some guiding principles that reflect Governor Strickland's goal of reducing the number of Ohio uninsureds are:
• We all must take personal responsibility for reducing health care costs, which includes taking proactive actions to keep ourselves healthy.
• Reforms must be sustainable in the long-term, and have a measurable impact.
• All Ohioans, including people with serious health conditions, must have access to affordable health care.
• Ohio health care coverage should include tools and techniques that allow its residents to maintain good health, and seek treatment, if needed, as quickly as possible.
One of the best ways to encourage Ohio's uninsureds to obtain quality and affordable health care, is to provide tax credits for a portion of the premiums, and make preventative treatment a condition to continue those tax credits.
Perhaps, by 2011, such an initiative will become a reality. But don't hold your breath.