Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Price of Existence

It sounds like a noble concept: “universal healthcare”. Everyone gets the medical attention they need. What could be wrong with that?

A few statements to start:

First, in the U.S., we aren’t talking about universal health care, we’re talking about universal health insurance. There is a huge difference, make no mistake.

For years, this country did have universal health care; doctors and hospitals were available to anyone if they were needed, and you paid them for services rendered when and if you used them. It wasn’t until the early 70’s and the Nixon administration that health insurance really took off.

Now we speak of “health care” and “health insurance” as if they are synonymous. They are not.

Second, there are (at least) two main reasons why our current healthcare system is broken and cannot be “fixed” in it’s present state:

1) It is a “for profit” system. Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums. They do not make money by paying claims. If claims start cutting into profits, they will either raise premiums or deny claims or both. They do not care about you; they care about getting your money. Period.

2) People expect to get something for their money. Nobody wants to waste money. People pay thousands and thousands of dollars into their “healthcare plans” every year. Is it any wonder why they take themselves or their children in to the emergency room for every sniffle, cough, ache or pain? They’ve paid for it; they want to use it, even if they don’t really need to. Having insurance encourages people to use it as much as they can, and as the claims go up, so do the premiums.

Knowing that, it’s interesting (but no surprise) that our “fix” for healthcare is to make it bigger; to expand it so that everyone has to be a part of it whether they want to or not. The following article is a couple of weeks old; I just haven’t gotten around to addressing it. You can read it in it’s entirety, but the title really says all you need to know:

Senate bill fines people refusing health coverage

“Mandatory insurance” is not a new concept. It’s mandatory that we have insurance to drive a car. It’s mandatory to have insurance if we have a mortgage on our home. But this is different, because in all other cases, the insurance is mandatory only because we chose to do something that we didn’t have to do (drive a car or borrow money for a home, for instance).

This insurance would be mandatory on everyone simply because we exist.

Think about that for a moment. Think hard.

If we can be forced by law to be a part of a system against our will, can we also be forced to do whatever that system tells us we must do?

Logic says that if the uninsured are being forced to participate in mandatory insurance because they are a “burden” on the rest, then everyone will be forced to do what we are told by this healthcare system for the same reason. And, like the system itself, you won’t have choice in the matter.

Vaccines, drugs, exams, blood; whatever we are told to do, we could be forced to do, whether we wanted to or not.

We need to understand that once we give up control of our lives, they no longer belong to us.


Anonymous said...

Hi Blaine, just stopping by to say hi !! I tried contacting Catherine today to see if she's OK. I haven't heard from her in a long time and I was a bit worried, but I see she posted here, so that is great !!
Please give her my best wishes and I hope to hear from her.
Everything is great here, so please let her know.
So sorry to put the message on your blog, but I didn't know how to get in contact otherwise.
Greetings from The Netherlands.
God Bless

annest said...

You make a very good point. I don't pretend to know the solution to the problem of millions of people without a way to pay for healthcare. Even those with insurance are left underinsured, or lose their insurance when they need it most. By having a system where those with insurance are paying for those who don't have it (through higher premiums, higher charges, etc., called cost shifting), we all suffer. We have access to healthcare problems caused by fewer people wanting to go into the practice of medicine due to declining reimbursements for their hard-earned expertise. We have an unhealthy population of people who either don't take care of themselves (by eating well, exercising, etc.), or who can't or won't seek care for health problems before they become serious, expensive-to-treat conditions. I don't like the idea of government saying we all have to have insurance (I don't even know how they can enforce that). I do like the idea of all of us sharing in the risk/expense so that when we need it, medical care is there for us, and we can afford it. Spreading of the risk and the costs will allow for all health plans -- private and government-funded -- to get rid of policies that deny coverage for pre-existing, chronic conditions. As for overutilization -- that's what deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket caps help control. As for universal health care... we do have a form of it now called the emergency room. And that's not the most cost-effective place or way to get our healthcare needs taken care of. Just a few more thoughts.

Ella said...

Excellent points! Socialized health care has never worked and there is no reason to believe that it will begin to work now.