By Timothy Postlewaite
Healthcare is crucial to prosperity in America, as it assists in the facilitation, participation, and productivity in a multitude of aspects from the standpoint of those whom the rest of society would categorize as “underdogs,” individuals who require more assistance to find their version of “normalcy.” Medicaid is a prime example of a program that attempts to assist with this, as it assists the impoverished and the disabled by allowing them to have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. From an early age, I have experienced the pros and cons of Medicaid. The program allocated funds toward my first electric wheelchair, which allowed me to enter Kindergarten with the ability to participate with a diverse group of kids. Moreover, not only did this experience begin the process of acclimating me to social expectations, but it also assisted me in terms of forming my identity, providing me with a steadfast foundation of freedom and independence, two characteristics that have remained with me to this day.
Not only has the program provided me with the ability to be mobile within my community, but it has also played a significant role in terms of giving me the ability to sustain my overall health. The program has provided me with cheap co-pay fees, the opportunity to receive my annual physical checkups, and the ability to maintain adequate oral hygiene through regular visits to my dentist. These are just a few of the services that Medicaid provides to millions of those who encounter physical or financial struggles on a daily basis. As a result, this is another example of how Medicaid works to help myself and others obtain independence and achieve prosperity.
On the other hand, although Medicaid has played a significant role in my life for approximately 2 decades, it is hardly a perfect system. As bureaucrats pull the strings, dictating where funds should be allocated, many people of the disabled community, including myself, are at risk of being severely limited, as medical equipment has the tendency to breakdown or sustain damage that hinders the functionality of these necessities. From my personal experience, the flaws of the Medicaid system manifest during these critical times. In my younger years, I have been left without an adequate source of mobility for months at a time; essentially, until Medicaid gives the green light to Numotion and other companies that specialize in medical equipment, the process of repairing faulty medical devices is placed on hold. It is during these periods that I find myself to be a bit more limited than normal. As a child, I was able to write this setback off as a mere annoyance; however, now that I am well into my adult years, situations regarding my medical equipment are much more impactful, as more responsibility falls on my shoulders. The obligations that accompany adulthood have inevitably become increasingly dependent on my mobility.
Due to this dynamic, I would venture to assert that the governmental bureaucracy imposes its authority over the disabled community and the level of normalcy and freedom that is enjoyed by disabled individuals. For example, although the process has improved tremendously in terms of repairing medical equipment, other aspects of the program continue to remain dismal. For example, due to the extremity of the discounted rates that the program forces medical professionals to endure, many highly qualified professions opt-out of accepting Medicaid recipients as patients. This aspect has affected me personally numerous times; it has presented limitations as to which medical professional I am able to see. In turn, this limits society in its ability to sustain a healthy and productive dynamic for the “underdogs.”
Moreover, in many ways, this is another example as to how Medicaid, while a decent and beneficial program on a multitude of different levels, is incredibly flawed. In my opinion, the flaws of this program are ultimately causing inflation within the healthcare sector of the economy, leaving many people without healthcare plans. In order for this problem to be solved, programs like Medicaid needs to have the ability to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies.