Thursday, October 2, 2008

health care

Growing up, over half the time my family didn't have health insurance. We were fortunate to grow up in a very small town where the doctor's knew you by name (or at least read your charts before they walked in the room, but also would at least recognize your face if they saw you in the grocery store or Penney's). Most of them were extremely helpful. They'd require the payment amount that insured people had to pay, and the rest you could pay off on a payment plan. But it was both known and understood that people with insurance received better health care coverage than those without.
When my uncle was first diagnosed with cancer (they were also uninsured), there were several tests that should have been done that weren't. Years later, as the cancer had recurred in different places, the oncologist was shocked to discover those tests had never been performed - until he saw on the chart they didn't have health insurance. Even though my aunt and uncle had been willing to give up their entire savings to pay for it, the doctors decided it wouldn't be enough. And sadly, after seeing how much our insurance company paid for Bobby's last hospital bill, they were probably right. I often wonder if he'd survived had those tests been done.
While I DON'T want to go to a socialized health care program (where the gov pays for everything - like China, Canada, etc - I've witnessed the apathy and incompetence such programs provide) I AM in favor of a limited market approach to health care. For example, the discount prices that insurance companies get on medicines and procedures - those should be given to everyone. Let's say a medicine, 3x a day for a month costs $200, but if you have insurance, they mark the price down to $75, and you only pay $30 of that. Why should a non-insured person have to pay the full $200? Why not charge them the $75 as well? I know this concept might violate the whole principle of a free market economy, but I think our prices should be the same for everyone, whether it be an individual or a non-insured person. I don't have a problem with the government putting a cap on prices.
And while I understand that insurance companies lose money on their un-healthy patients, it infuriates me that my premium substantially went up last year- because I aged one year and moved into a new category!!! For no other reason than the fact that I aged one year, and that put me in a new age bracket, my insurance goes up almost $200. That's absurd. I've been to urgent care once this year. All my other numerous doctor visits have been accompanying sick family members. How does that make me more of a health risk!?
Personally, I would like for every member of Congress and their families to be without health care for two years. THEN they could tackle the issue of health insurance. But as it stands now, we have Marie Antoinette's "let them eat cake" mentality. (And for those who don't know the story, she was queen before the French Revolution. When people came to her with information that people were starving in the streets and had no bread, she shrugged and said, "Let them eat cake." She so totally didn't get it.)
And that's my morning rant.

1 comment:

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

Hey! Whew- don't even get me started on this topic. I have lived in Switzerland- they do it RIGHT!! I also have high med bills. We need something better here in the U.S. for people who need it. Maybe I'd just better stop with that comment:)