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Posts tagged ‘insurance’

NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)

I was reading this article about how upset the Harvard professors were over the changes to their healthcare plan. I have to admit a certain amount of malicious enjoyment as major universities, such as Harvard, were behind the impetus for the Affordable Care Act. Like congress, I guess they wanted to make laws that would only affect the “other guy”.

Faculty members were quoted as “not being concerned for themselves, but for less well paid employees”, and “It’s the principle”. No, lets face it, any time you give something to someone, there is an outcry when you take it away. The fact that they are the elite of American society, living in a world where they are largely sheltered from the realities of poverty and having to make ends meet makes their belly aching less palatable. The objections they have are what the rest of us have been living with for years. MOST healthcare plans have high deductibles and copays.

I say “why not?”. We need insurance to pay every time we go to the doctor? How about save that sort of transaction for those horribly expensive things, like surgery, cancer, etc. I know there are those who would argue that health care should be free, a right. The sad truth is, nothing is free. Every “free” thing you have ever gotten was paid for, just not by you. Why don’t we educate doctors for free, then they won’t have high debt, so won’t need high salaries? Why don’t we pay their malpractice insurance, relieving them of that cost, so they can distribute their services for free? Why don’t we pay pharmaceutical companies for their R&D, so they don’t have to charge large amounts for their medications? If those ideas sound ludicrous, why then do we insist someone else should pay at the other end?

When all this health care debate started, I had hoped to see some of the basic issues addressed. Insurance distorts the cost of health care. The insured person has no idea what the cost of something, but doesn’t care because he’s not paying it. The insured and the providers have this weird dance going on of formulas and partial payments, obscuring the real cost. Without a direct market, there is no competition, no advertised prices and a huge chunk of the medical cost goes to insurers, who are not directly involved in health care at all.

If you pay 2,000 dollars a month to Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and only use 50$ of that for your health care, does the other $1,950 go to another subscribers bills? Not hardly. Not when insurance companies have enough profit to sponsor every last sporting event and charity in your community. While I don’t mind that they are using that money back in the community, wouldn’t be nicer to have that money to spend on health care? If we have to pay a parasitic third-party, why don’t they take all their profits and use them to open clinics in underserved communities? Or pay the outstanding medical bills for someone who is uninsured or underinsured.

The more we monkey with the system, the more cumbersome and less responsive it becomes. Look at our tax system. It’s all one big complicated game with real winners and losers. Health care is the same. Maybe these Harvard professors, now that they see how superficial the changes they championed are, will go back and lobby for some real change. Lets just make sure that we all experience the changes, that way if they don’t work, they will be quickly scrapped.

Let me know what you think. Does all this get your dander up, like it does mine? Do you feel common sense is sadly lacking in the higher echelons of power?

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I am Forced to Rant About Healthcare.

This blog is my outlet for my rants when my loved ones get sick of listening to it. The whole issue of health care is one of my rants, but I have avoided talking about it for the most part, since it is pointless, no one in power even hints at my position. After hearing what is going on with several of my friends, I have to talk about it. You can say our current system is broken and needs to be fixed, but I think that is like asking the fox to fix the hen house.

Medicare has a part A and a part B. According to the older people I have been talking to, Part A is what you get automatically when you turn 65. That only covers hospitalization. Part B is what the government has been tinkering with, and you have to buy that, like regular health insurance. Depending on which plan you choose, the price and benefits vary. Now you can get Part B subcontracted through regular insurance companies. According to my sources, if you buy Part B insurance at age 65, it is around 150$ a month. If you wait, as they have done, till you are in your 70’s the price jumps to over 1000$ a month. The rational is that those who bought at 65 having been paying in over time, while the late comers will draw more than they pay. You could easily argue that those who bought it at an earlier age have also been using it more, so it evens out, but that is not the governments reasoning. My friends said that barring serious illness, it is cheaper to pay the doctor.

Which brings me to my point. I think all that we have been doing so far is silliness. Why is the government dealing with health insurance at all? Rather than pay insurance companies, and add a layer of bureaucracy to the whole mess, why not subsidize health care directly? Pay all doctors a flat salary, say 50,000$ a year. They could then charge a sliding fee on top of that, so that the poorest and richest could each afford to go. Make it illegal to not treat someone, regardless of ability to pay. Hospitals too, would get a base amount, to help keep them afloat, for treating the poorest people for free, or at a limited cost. Cap what they could charge, so greed wouldn’t get out of hand.

Universities already get billions in tax dollars and endowments, they are the ones creating new medicine.  Let them partner with companies to develop new treatments and drugs.

I’m not saying I’m all in favor of the government running the show at all. We seemed determined that that is the way to go. All I’m saying is if that is what we want, lets do it without lining the pockets of the insurance companies that exist for no other reason than to siphon money out of the health care system. They do what they do FOR A PROFIT. Which means they charge MORE THAN IS REQUIRED. Not to mention they don’t produce ANYTHING related to health care.

I’m Ok, Just lost my breath for a moment. Really, I’m ok. I AM calm.   Seriously though, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work better. I know why it won’t happen. It’s too big. Insurance, existing only to make money, has money. Money is Power. It would be like trying to slay Goliath to get rid of health insurance now. Not to mention that it is entrenched in our mental view of the world. No one even talks about affordable health care, only affordable insurance. We have blinded ourselves to the elephant in the living room.

If anyone out there can point out where I’m wrong, or has a better idea, I’m all ears. Please enlighten me. I don’t mind, I have plenty of other soapboxes to climb on.

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