Sunday, January 06, 2008

Health Care part 2: Choice

Most people who get dissatisfied with their insurance company do so because of a claim that was denied. Often, a person either does not understand their policy or is trying to commit fraud, so the company has to deny these claims. Any system, public or private, that is designed to filter out illegitimate claims from legitimate ones will occasionally deny claimants who should be paid and pay claimants who should be denied.

If I ever feel that my insurance company is not being fair to me, I can sue or switch companies. This is one reason why I oppose a single-payer health care system: I can switch insurance companies a whole lot easier than I can switch governments. If I am dependent on the government for health care and I don't like the way it's being handled, my best option is to wait until the next leap year and hope that a majority of the electoral college votes the same I do.

12 comments:

Phil Marx said...

Robert,

Most people who have insurance have their carrier selected by their employer. Switching carriers might mean having to switch employers. Also, most people can probably not afford to sue a large corporation, nor should they have to in order to receive the benefits which they have already paid for.

I haven't heard any candidates, with a good solid plan on healthcare yet, but I believe your summary dramatically oversimplifies the situation.

Robert Enders said...

Again, switching employers is still easier than switching governments. For those who cannot afford to sue their insurance company, there are lawyers who are willing to work on a contingency basis.

Gloria said...

I have "real" health insurance again for the first time in years. However, due to my pre-existing conditions, I can't use the insurance on those conditions for another nine months or so.

I guess we can all just jump from job to job if our health insurance doesn't work. Considering the way the unemployment office looked today, I'm sure all those people were just stopping in for a visit, and not really in need of a job.

Anyone who looks at the way health care is being handled in the U.S. and thinks it's okay is a moron. We have the best health care in the world, but it's only available to those who can afford it, or those who have stellar insurance. As for just going out to buy insurance from a private company, you'd better have an absolutely perfect health care record (i.e. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFETIME) if you even hope to get covered. If I went through the state of Indiana to get health insurance, they'd insure me, because they have to. But because I'm not a "healthy" female, I'd probably have to pay $500 a MONTH for coverage. Some of us in the real world might take home $1200 a month, and paying half our income for coverage is a bit steep.
If I had the option of paying an extra $500 to $1,000 a year in income taxes to have access to affordable health care, I'd do it. Having SOME health insurance is better than having NO health insurance.
There is no perfect health care system, but think about it: you have no insurance and your spouse or child has a condition that is so serious that without treatment, they will die. You can't afford treatment, and you have no insurance to offset part of that.
What would YOU do?
It disgusts me that in the wealthiest country on the face of the Earth, people are forced to have hog roasts and place tin cans at local businesses to raise money for a loved one with a serious illness.
Maybe if some of these heartless, "we don't need any universal health care" types got struck with a catastrophic illness, they'd change their tunes.
And for all of you Baby Boomers who are looking forward to Medicare, well gee whiz! Isn't that (insert ominous music here) SOCIALIZED MEDICINE???!!! Why should MY tax dollars go to a bunch of spoiled "we did everything first and better" egomaniacs who will bankrupt a nation that is in laughable shape as it is? Oh sure, they paid into it by working all those years. It’s still funded by the government. Admit it.
Canadians live three years longer than Americans do. Must be all that beer and donuts, eh?

Robert Enders said...

Actually, Canadians drink more. The reason why Canadians live longer is because they don't have as many bad habits. They don't use illegal drugs as much as Americans do and they have a lower incarceration rate. People who tend to break the law tend to not live as long. If you remove every US adult who has used drugs, those who remain would on average live as long as Canadians.

You have to wait 9 months for coverage in this country. But Canadians often must wait for over a year for the surgeries that they need.

Rachel said...

Robert,

Can you site me some sources for the the above information? I'd like to verify the life expectancies of non-drug users vs. those who have. I'm definitely cruising for a long life with the benefit of good genes and good health habits of my own.

As for the original post, not all of us have the privilege or ability to quit our jobs or file a lawsuit the day our insurance claim gets denied. That's a far too simplistic idea for the realities that are the health insurance mess of America.

The idea of waiting for an election to improve our health insurance sound more palatable to me than wading through the current quagmire and crossing my fingers that a major illness or chronic health condition won't bankrupt me even with health insurance.

Private health insurance is in direct opposition to the care it is supposed to provide. If I use my health insurance, big or small, I cost the company money. Since their job is keep the money, we are at odds from the get-go. Working against each other from a business perspective is not a benefit to either party.

Robert Enders said...

"I'd like to verify the life expectancies of non-drug users vs. those who have."

Drugs aren't good for you. Feel free to look it up.

"The idea of waiting for an election to improve our health insurance sound more palatable to me than wading through the current quagmire and crossing my fingers that a major illness or chronic health condition won't bankrupt me even with health insurance."

You would rather depend on a politician to fix your problems for you than fix them yourself. Fair enough. Petition Senator Clinton to start an insurance company after her term expires. I also recognize that some people's needs outstrip their means. That is what charity is for.

"Since their job is keep the money, we are at odds from the get-go."
Their job is to attract and retain customers. This is done by honoring the agreement made between the consumer and company. Companies that fail to do so sully the reputation of the entire industry. We need to distinguish bad companies from the good ones.

Keep in mind that governments are under at least as much pressure to keep costs down. Removing the profit motive from the equation is not going to make shortfalls go away.

Rachel said...

Ah, so get rid of illegal drugs and watch life expectancies go up, despite our rates of cancer, diabetes, smoking and obesity, which aren't apparently the real killers of Americans.

And when my grandmother gets sick or my neighbor has an accident, they should have to ask for a charitable handout to receive the necessary health care instead of having the ability to have the costs taken care of through some form of insurance. Talk about second-class citizens for those who don't have money.

And since you believe in charity health care, how much did you donate last year to Matthew 25?

Robert Enders said...

I did not donate anything to Matthew 25. I donated about 10 units of blood platelets to the Red Cross.

William Larsen said...

The reason why the US Healthcare is in such a mess is that over 38 million seniors paid little into Medicare during their working lives. Now that they are retired, they pay under $100 a month for Healtcare.

Medicare has taken from those least able to pay and given it others based on age not need. This has fed an entire service sector called healthcare. Who controls spending? At the same time workers pay 2.9% of wages into Medicare and compete for healthcare with seniors while paying both. Had Medicare been accrual based, we would not be having the problems we do.

Medicare has artifically stimulated the economy beyond that which could be sustained under normal conditions. This is causing severe cost increases.

If you want to fix our healthcare system, then you need to make healthcare available (not paid for by government) to all. Cost shifting should be outlawed. Individuals should not have to pay more for the same service than anyone else.

Remove government and it will get better.

Robert Fuller said...

government needs to be involved. We all cant switch health care plans. My vote in this coming election will be based on this.

Robert Fuller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Enders said...

But how would go about switching or upgrading healthcare plans if they need to have a procedure done when the government is unable or unwilling to pay for it.
People die in Canada while waiting for the surgery they need. It's expensive over here, but at least you can get it when you need it.

It is better to be in debt in America than dead in Canada.