Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why 'Health Insurance' is a Terrible Idea

It's just like a credit card. It Lures You In and Sucks You Down.
With the individual market for health care, the libertarian argument fails on its own terms: Sick people can't get coverage they can afford. It's as though the rafts are reserved for people who already have life preservers. Americans with pre-existing conditions—cancer, asthma, diabetes, and the like—would need to pay even more than they do today. Through no fault of their own, more of them would end up without insurance. Meanwhile, insurers would improve their own profits by offering targeted policies to people with the fewest health expenses. As with the history of credit cards, it's Robin Hood in reverse. Apart from the obvious injustice, this approach could add to spiraling health costs. The sickest 10 percent of Americans are already responsible for 70 percent of the nation's health expenses. When more such Americans go uninsured, skip checkups, and land in the emergency room, they end up costing taxpayers more.





13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's as if it never occurred to some people that individuals can buy into group plans when they're healthy, stay current on premiums, and remain insured forever -- in sickness and in health.

Pretty Lady said...

Oh, yes, it works like that. Economies never tank, people never get laid off, their policies never get cancelled after they've gotten sick, they're never born sick or poor or stupid. They never have to take care of indigent relatives, and their children never get leukemia. Health insurance premiums are always low and reasonable, really easy to pay even if you're working at minimum wage, or self-employed in a lousy economy. Uh-huh.

jSinSaTx said...

Health insurance is insurance in name only... you don't buy car insurance or life insurance expecting to cash in on it... health insurance seems to be a game of trying to get your 'value' out of having the policy and paying the premiums... hmm my nose is running... I would never pay the few hundred out of my own pocket for that, but since I can throw a 10 spot at it... or nothing... I will head right on over and be told it is a cold... This is not insurance... it is cost sharing... or cost passing.

jSinSaTx said...

Health insurance in my view would take the route of catastrophic coverage. Pay your own annual physical... pay your own immunizations... insure against heart attacks that run 10s of thousands of dollars.

jSinSaTx said...

I actually spend a segment of my professional life in the health care providing segment of the work force. Wound up doing a disaster relief mission for the Houston floods. The people from the city flooded in for the 'free' medicine. Conditions they had for years were finally to be looked at. The Astrodome Complex where this was based at decided to charge a 5.00 parking fee... traffic went to near 0... it was not even worth 5.00 to these people to get 1000s in free health care and medications. If it is not worth 5.00 of your dollars, why should it be worth the concern of the others. Too many people are detached from the idea that they bear any responsibility for the 'necessities' of life.

jSinSaTx said...

I have watched people repeatedly make choices to the detriment of their health and to the detriment of them keeping health insurance. If you quit a job that has health insurance to pursue something else then health insurance was not your biggest priority... so don't make you having insurance the nations. If you will not put the beer, cigarette and cable money towards insurance then how important is it to you?

jSinSaTx said...

Life is full of inequities. Yes, some people would have nearly impossible times acquiring the type of insurance I could qualify for. But that is the nature of life... some people can afford more food, better cars, safer neighborhoods... even God seems to allow some people to receive the short end of the stick. I would rather pursue the issue through agencies of charity and personal choice than to keep turning over this problem to the government that created so much of it to begin with.

jSinSaTx said...

As of yet, even those favoring these savings accounts etc have yet to say where the money will come from. Point to one Western Society that isn't crippled with debt. I again state that the peace dividend this time is likely to be as elusive as the last one was... the idea of the cost savings from a new system covering everything is also specious. When has a government projection of savings or economic reality panned out? Explain how multiplying demand even more will not drive up expenses (medicare, medicaid, military medicine)... explain how the focus on primary care will not just wind up resulting in the long wait times now being experienced in MA.

jSinSaTx said...

You cannot run a national health system via the government without the government ultimately either deciding who lives or dies, rationing or taking >50% of GDP in taxes. And you might wind up with all 3 of those happening.

jSinSaTx said...

Oh, to finish the Houston story... they took away the 5.00 charge and all the people came back...

Anonymous said...

After a certain age, life is a pre-existing condition.

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Desert Cat said...

As of yet, even those favoring these savings accounts etc have yet to say where the money will come from.

Well..erm. In my case, a portion comes from my employer from their savings versus the traditional PPO, and the rest comes straight out of my paycheck as a pretax deduction.

Now if gubmit is going to take over the administration of such accounts, I would imagine an additional tax on businesses equivalent to the health care burden that they are being relieved of would make sense. OTOH I'd rather see business be encouraged to *keep* their health plans so that it doesn't become a tax and spend thing by the gubmit where possible.

Anonymous said...

sorry, but we already have national health insurance. it is called medicare, medicaid, VA, Military Medical system, inmate care. the issue is that these systems cover a defined population for which other taxpayers cannot participate in unless they can qualify for one of the categories. what is needed is a system whereby any citizen can qualify and pay an appropriate premium. how simple.