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4. Ask Yourself: How Could Your Health Care Be Better?

This can be trickier than it seems. “I think it’s very hard for people to evaluate their own health care,” says Schoenbaum. For one, many of us have a tendency to accept things as they are. We forget that other ways might be possible. There’s also a natural fear of giving up the health care system that we know for something unknown, says Duritz.

Ask yourself:

  • Are your co-pays and premiums getting harder to afford?
  • Have you had trouble getting coverage for an appointment, test, or procedure?
  • Are drug costs eating up more of your budget?
  • Do you sometimes skimp on treatment – avoiding the doctor, not filling prescriptions – because you can’t afford it?
  • Can you see the doctors you want to see?
  • Do you get adequate preventive care, the screenings, vaccinations, and checkups that could prevent or detect a health problem early?

Don’t forget to consider other ways health insurance may affect your life. Some people stay in jobs they don’t like because they’re worried about losing health insurance, Duritz says. “We also hear about small business owners who want to expand, but don’t because they’re worried they couldn’t afford coverage for the extra employees.” These sorts of anxieties are directly relevant to health care reform.

5. Speak Out

The U.S. is on the brink of making one of the biggest changes to health policy since the introduction of Medicare in 1965. This is a historic moment. And it’s one in which you, as a citizen, have some real power.

What can you do?

  • Write or call your elected officials. Let them know what you think about health care reform. Talk about your own experiences. Many politicians are looking to voters for guidance. Here are links for finding and contacting:
  • Join an advocacy organization. No matter where you come down on health care reform, there are advocacy organizations you can assist, and in doing so make your point of view more widely known.
  • Talk to your family, friends, and co-workers. Once you understand the issues at stake in health care reform, make your case to the people around you. A lot of people are confused by the debate and anxious about reform. They could use your help in understanding what it might mean for them.

Remember, we all have a say in how health care works in this country. This is a moment when your family, friends, neighbors, and elected officials are listening. So make your opinion about health care reform known. It matters.

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