Saturday, March 7, 2009

Universal Health Scare

Okay, this rant is accidental. I'll try to keep it short. I'll not attack the entire topic, but at least this will keep me from yelling it at Ellie May or scribbling it on someone else's facebook profile.

First, my qualifications:

  • I have lived very close to and somewhat inside the medical profession all my life, though I have no actual medical training. I just know a little of what goes on behind the scenes.
  • I have been out of work for (at the time of this writing) 30 months.
  • I pay my own insurance and have for the last 30 months.

Universal health care is for those that cannot afford health care coverage.

No, actually, it isn't. Medicaid is for people that cannot afford health insurance. This system is already in place and has been for a long long time.

Normal folks cannot afford health insurance.

See my "qualifications." Yes, they can. Sensible people with a fair amount of forethought can and do succeed at doing it. The real issue here is that people have unrealistic expectations. They have worked somewhere that provided ridiculously high coverage and never saw the bill for it. It was "free." Decent coverage with a very high deductible is pretty inexpensive. This gives you enough skin in the game that you do not go to the ER for a skinned knee, but gives you coverage when you get hit by a Mack Truck.

Health care is too expensive

It is expensive. And there are reasons for that:

  • As I mentioned: we have unrealistic expectations.
  • We (Americans) are a high risk pool. We are overweight and just not a terribly healthy society. Much of this is directly attributable to the very government we want to put in charge of our health care... But that is another rant altogether.
  • We (Americans) are too litigious. Bad things happen. Good folks sometimes can't stop them from happening. A lawsuit won't fix it. Use some frigging common sense. When doctors quit just because they cannot afford to pay for their malpractice insurance, something is wrong.
  • Medicare and Medicaid. Whether you know it or not, these are probably the 2 biggest contributors to the cost of medicine. It's almost a double tax. You get taxed to pay for them. Then these programs pay less than cost for the services they take. The medical professionals get what they get and not a penny more. Period. Result? Well, if they charge one group of people at a rate that is 60% of the market rate, the remaining folks may have to be billed at 140% of the market rate to make up the difference. (I'm pulling those percentages out of my ass. You get the idea though.) Now, if you give the same coverage to the middle folks (that were already paying for the programs both through taxes and increased medical costs) how do you think that will affect medicine?

The government will be able to do this more efficiently and more cost effectively

On what planet? Where in the world has this ever happened and had a good result? Compare this to the federal insurance that covers folks in known flood plains (and subsequently gives people an incentive to live in a disaster prone area). How well has that worked out? Do you really want to be in a hospital bed dying of cancer and hear someone at the end of the bed say "Heckuva job Brownie"? (Yes, I know Brownie was FEMA and I am mixing metaphors, but it just sounds so poetic.)

Something needs to be done to fix the system.

No, it doesn't. Something needs to be undone. Having the government step in and "fix" medicine is about like having them step in and "fix" the housing market in the Clinton/Bush years -- because that has turned out so well.

1 comment:

Og Make Blog said...

Wow... I'm somewhat surprised to find that even here this topic is a "third rail."