Great post over at BuzzMachine the other day about the Health Care War. The post is pretty good but the best part is the comments (62 at last count).
This is an issue that I've been thinking more and more about.
It got me thinking that insurance deductibles are backwards - 100% backwards of how they should be. They penalize the people who use the service very infrequently and reward people who use the system more. Think about it, your average person doesn't get everything from insurance that they put into it. The people who use it a lot are the people who are getting best bang for their buck. Now, before you think I'm some cold-hearted bastard who doesn't think that people should given service, let me stop you there: Nothing, nothing, could be further from the truth. But think about the way deductibles work, you pay some amount over some period of time and if you continue to use the service it is free after that. I think it should be the opposite - the more you use it, the more you should have to pay.
With Health Insurance it might act as a way to prevent people from going to visit the doctor for every little ache and pain or cough. It might also prevent people from harming themselves with obesity, cigarette smoking, etc. "I'll have to pay more if I want to get my tummy stapled." [full disclosure - I smoke]
I think I've been to the doctor 3 times in the last ten years... and one of those was just a physical when I turned 30. Another was a freak soccer accident that I'm too embarassed to share here! Anyway...
Now, of course some diseases might prevent people from being able to afford to pay for service. The insurance companies should continue to take care of those people (maybe they do?), that is the business they are in. Actually, what I'd like to see are the combined profits of all the insurance companies over the last ten years... I bet the number is staggering. I know, we live in a capitalist society, they should be free to run their business any way they want - and some of them do have shareholders to answer to... but, come on, if these people choose this business because of the money, well, sorry, I think there is a certain amount of moral responsibility that comes with it.
Another issue here are the drug companies - they have a pill for everything nowdays, huh? I think they're doing some wonderful stuff with medicine, but again, I think there is some moral responsibility that you should shoulder.
Actually, I'd like to see average annual profits of the health insurance and drug companies combined. I'm just guessing that the number is fairly large.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that most of the drug and health insurance comapanies do a lot of charity work, but I read this story recently in Parade magazine:
Today, 44 million Americans are without any health insurance, an increase of 10 million since 1989, with 2003 marking the highest increase in a decade. Eight out of 10 uninsured, including children, are in working, tax-paying families; more than one-third are in households earning $25,000 to $49,999 a year.
Are those numbers legitimate? Who knows. Even if it is half that, it is a huge CRISIS. I was never a huge fan of Hilary Clinton, but, I think she was fighting a good fight on this one.
Don't be surprised if I post more about this in the coming weeks as I think more about it.
QUESTION: How would you change health care if you could?