Medicaid virtually wipes out crippling medical expenses among the poor. Medicaid improves mental health and provides economic security to some of the most vulnerable people in the state. Financial protection is the reason most Americans who can afford health insurance buy it. If insurance against devastating medical costs is a good thing for us middle-class types, it’s a good thing for poor people too. The links between insurance, medicine and health may be impressively mysterious, but staving off medical bankruptcies among low-income Americans is no small policy achievement.
The primary purpose of health insurance is to protect one financially in event of a catastrophic medical shock. Almost any cost is catastrophic if you’re poor. Lower-income people who receive Medicaid at least have economic security against medical expenses that might otherwise cause them to lose what little income they have.
We are the richest nation in the history of the world. We can surely afford to give every American the basic security that comes with access to health care. I sincerely hope that the Commission’s recommendations and the vote of our legislatures will see expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire as a win- win for everybody.
Sylvia R. Kennedy, M.D.