Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Health Care Mess

  The battle for health care reform is nearing a very ugly conclusion. The Democrats are angling for ways to pass the bill without a climactic final vote since the Republican and Tea Party machines are salivating at the chance to use the vote as a media tool to wrest congressional power from the democrats in November. The main opposition argument that the bill shouldn’t pass since the majority of America is against seems stupid to me. After all, when the majority of Americans wanted to get all the troops out of Iraq, along came the famous ‘surge’. At least with the surge, the Republicans stood up for what they believed in, public opinion aside. I would be more encouraged to see the Democrats pass health reform with a vote and show the country that they believe it will make our country stronger. The way they are handling this does not inspire my confidence.

  I want health care reform. Since I have been a contractor for the last 2 years, I bought my own health insurance. It does not cost much more than I could get by working at a company, but the problem with private insurance is that if anyone in my family gets sick, the insurance companies will find some reason to cancel my policy or make it unaffordable for me to continue purchasing coverage. The insurance companies are absolute snakes and any meaningful health care reform needs to put them out of business and have the government as the only insurer so they can set the rates for the insured, hospitals, doctors, etc.

  The current health care reform is a sham in that uninsured people will be covered but there is no cost savings. The extra costs will be borne by making everyone purchase coverage. This is a boon to the insurance companies (more people to write policies for) and the medical industry (no charity cases that can’t pay), but it does nothing to contain treatment costs. This means that we will still have to pay hundreds of dollars for a few minutes of a doctors’ time, thousands of dollars for the work of the emergency room or a specialist, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event of a cancer or heart attack. Until the costs are contained, health care will remain a mess and no amount of insurance reform will resolve that.

  The biggest problem with cutting costs is that we (including me) want to cut the other person’s costs, but when we are sick, please spare no expense. How much would costs go down if the entire country decided not to visit a doctor, buy prescriptions, or go to a hospital for a month? This would never happen and the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and politicians know this. That is why they can get away with practices that would not work in any other industry. Would you get a car repaired without getting an estimate? No, but we when we are sick, we will do whatever we are told without asking for the cost.