Health Insurance

Health Insurance

Brandon
Brandon

August 2nd, 2007, 3:06 pm #1

Wouldn't we be better off in the U.S. if health insurance was similar to auto insurance. I don't expect my employer to provide me with car insurance, so why is health insurance a right?

Since everyone in most states must have auto insurance, there is lots of competition in that business. There is insurance for every type of driver including those who have lots of tickets or accidents. They pay more as they should.

I have auto insurance in case of a big accident, I don't use it when I have the oil changed. Why isn't health insurance simialar. Yes, if I have a heart attack I would need to use insurance. But if I go to the doctor to get a flu shot, I should just pay a reasonable fee.



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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 2nd, 2007, 5:09 pm #2

Glad you found us here Brandon. I've actually been missing you at RMSN!

There is so much unfairness built into health insurance. People who have a group policy pay way less than someone who has to buy his own. And people can control how they drive but if a person has had cancer or heart problems he must pay way more or may not be able to get insurance at all.

I say the answer is to take the "profit" out of insurance- go to a government administrated single payer system with uniform rules and procedures that would greatly reduce administrative overhead. And everyone should be able to get insurance regardless of health problems they may have.
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Brandon
Brandon

August 2nd, 2007, 6:07 pm #3

Nice to be missed!

I lurked over at RMSN earlier today and it seems it has gone from the kind of parental advice forum it has been for the last few months into something else.

The problem with the single payer govt. system is yes everyone would have insurance, but would anyone actually have very good health care.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 2nd, 2007, 7:47 pm #4

re: RMSN- I think the big influx of posters (mostly parents) who came from that other website have most gone away now.

As for the insurance- don't mistake "single-payer" insurance with government-run health-care. The doctors and hospitals would be like they are now- we would just be replacing the current inefficient inequitable insurance system run by numerous profit-making private companies with a single non-profit system run by the government, just as Medicare is done. This would result in cheaper and fairer insurance rates.
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Bob
Bob

August 3rd, 2007, 1:10 pm #5

Wouldn't we be better off in the U.S. if health insurance was similar to auto insurance. I don't expect my employer to provide me with car insurance, so why is health insurance a right?

Since everyone in most states must have auto insurance, there is lots of competition in that business. There is insurance for every type of driver including those who have lots of tickets or accidents. They pay more as they should.

I have auto insurance in case of a big accident, I don't use it when I have the oil changed. Why isn't health insurance simialar. Yes, if I have a heart attack I would need to use insurance. But if I go to the doctor to get a flu shot, I should just pay a reasonable fee.


If we do away with employer-provided health insurance, and require by law that people purchase health insurance for themselves as you suggest, what about the people who simply can't/won't afford the insurance? We don't have the resources to lock them up. Do we tell them, "You cannot get tratement at any hospital, clinic or doctor's office unless that provider agrees to give care gratis"?
(Some care providers are already giving service without assurance of any payment, but can you imagine how widespread that could become if there were NO employer-provided health coverage . . and at the current cost of such coverage).

I was a staunch "No socialized medicine/No more freebees to the lazy" proponent. But, seeing the growing health care crisis in U.S. . . and seeing the movie "Sicko" (tell me, does Michael Moore think U.S. does ANYTHING right? He might be more pessimistic in that regard than John B, if that is possible!) have led me to re-think the issue.

I think it is obvious that the current arrangement is not working, but I'm not sure what better alternative there might be. Universal health care, such as depicted in the film in European countries, would result in Americans paying huge amounts of taxes to cover it all. While Europeans might take that in stride, Americans would balk at paying 50% or more of their gross income in taxes.

I think there would be rationing of health care, as not every procedure a doctor might recommend could be afforded. Americans are accustomed to paying for what they want -- what happens when govt tells us, "You can't get that service, even if you are willing to pay out-of-pocket for it"? (because others can't afford to pay, and we HAVE to treat everyone equally, correct?)

Then, there is the common feeling (I still feel this way to an extent) that individuals should provide for themselves and not rely upon govt/taxpayer programs (Brandon's suggestion reflects this). Americans are accustomed to living in competition -- the cream rises, and survival of the smartest/ambitious. We don't like the idea of working our own butts off to support or care for someone who does not want to work and help themselves. There are already too many lazy people as it is -- wouldn't additional "free" services encourage more abuse?!

Also, this issue (among many others) further highlights the need for the U.S. to address and control its illegal immigration problem. Illegals are coming in now, not only to work but also to enjoy services otherwise reserved for legal residents of U.S. What happens when even more services are publicly-funded? If we don't fix the illegal immigration problem FIRST, we will deserve to bankrupt the country.

Another issue important to Americans: govt control of our lives. We are already seeing govt infringing upon the rights of individual citizens to make lifestyle choices that could affect future health (tobacco use being the most obvious, but is now moving into the "fast food" area, and I think will eventually try to limit alcohol consumption). With universal health care, I think it becomes an stronger feeling of "entitlement" by govt officials and other experts to dictate lifestyle choices. Ex: "We are paying for your health care, so we will tell you what you can eat or drink (its on this list), what risk-taking behaviors you must not engage in, and the amount of time each week that you must report to govt training centers to engage in monitored exercise programs." I know . . it hasn't happened in Europe, but Europeans have a history of tolerating others' behaviors (e.g., public nudity, drug use), while in U.S. we tend to want to tell you what you can and can't do. I am concerned that, with universal health coverage, American govt could have the power to further dictate to its citizenry, because of the way it has already prohibited things that I and other Americans were free to do when I was a child. Day-to-day, we really are less free than in decades past, and it could get worse.

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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 3rd, 2007, 2:07 pm #6

Well first, fewer and fewer people are getting health coverage from their work now, so there's one inequity- why should one person have to pay much more for their insurance- if they can get it at all- many with health problems can't. And as you point out- uncovered people who can't pay will get treated- at least for emergency care- with the cost being passed on to paying customers- so in reality we already have socialized medicine. It's just very inefficiently done.

But it must strike you that out of all the industrialized countries the world the US is the only one who relies entirely on private companies to provide healthcare? Does it make sense that all the other countries are wrong and we alone are right?

Clearly the big problem with our current system is money- beginning with the huge costs of becoming a doctor or other medical professional. If it was up to me, I would offer a free medical education to any qualified student who would then agree to provide medical service at rates that people can afford. In the long run this would be cheaper for everyone.

But the place to begin is the inefficient private insurance industry. This is where much of the problem is. These companies are more concern about making a profit for stockholders than providing healthcare for their customers. The government already runs a large insurance program- Medicare- they could as easily handle the insurance for everyone getting the greed and profit-making out of the insurance business.
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Bob
Bob

August 3rd, 2007, 5:26 pm #7

Rather that term other countries "wrong" and the US "Right", I prefer to think that people in various countries feel differently about things. Yes, I believe a growing number of Americans (like me) are looking again at the health care sitution in our country and are perhaps more willing to consider options. Still, the considerations I noted in my last posting still apply. Americans simply think differently about things than the French, Brits, Swiss, etc.

I agree that cost increases for medical care have been exorbitant, far outstripping general inflation. That is a legitimate problem that needs to be addressed. It probably will be the last thing addressed by our pols, as the health care industry lobbies Congress hard, with big money contributions, to keep the current system and the current high costs/profits. On this latter point, you and I agree.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 3rd, 2007, 6:01 pm #8

Well you know it seems to be only healthcare that we think so different because in many other ways we are not so independent of government. In fact, Europeans (like Marseil, if he ever comes back) will tell you that we Americans are over-regulated by our government- and endure many restrictions on our freedoms under the excuse of safety, health, environment, etc that Europeans citizens don't have.

But I do agree that it's going to be hard to change because the three areas that need change the most- insurance, pharmaceuticals and lawsuits all have powerful lobbies which will fight tooth and nail against changes to their gravy train.

Still I think there is becoming a strong public demand for reform that politicians are going to find it hard to ignore.

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mackayla
mackayla

August 13th, 2007, 5:38 pm #9

If we do away with employer-provided health insurance, and require by law that people purchase health insurance for themselves as you suggest, what about the people who simply can't/won't afford the insurance? We don't have the resources to lock them up. Do we tell them, "You cannot get tratement at any hospital, clinic or doctor's office unless that provider agrees to give care gratis"?
(Some care providers are already giving service without assurance of any payment, but can you imagine how widespread that could become if there were NO employer-provided health coverage . . and at the current cost of such coverage).

I was a staunch "No socialized medicine/No more freebees to the lazy" proponent. But, seeing the growing health care crisis in U.S. . . and seeing the movie "Sicko" (tell me, does Michael Moore think U.S. does ANYTHING right? He might be more pessimistic in that regard than John B, if that is possible!) have led me to re-think the issue.

I think it is obvious that the current arrangement is not working, but I'm not sure what better alternative there might be. Universal health care, such as depicted in the film in European countries, would result in Americans paying huge amounts of taxes to cover it all. While Europeans might take that in stride, Americans would balk at paying 50% or more of their gross income in taxes.

I think there would be rationing of health care, as not every procedure a doctor might recommend could be afforded. Americans are accustomed to paying for what they want -- what happens when govt tells us, "You can't get that service, even if you are willing to pay out-of-pocket for it"? (because others can't afford to pay, and we HAVE to treat everyone equally, correct?)

Then, there is the common feeling (I still feel this way to an extent) that individuals should provide for themselves and not rely upon govt/taxpayer programs (Brandon's suggestion reflects this). Americans are accustomed to living in competition -- the cream rises, and survival of the smartest/ambitious. We don't like the idea of working our own butts off to support or care for someone who does not want to work and help themselves. There are already too many lazy people as it is -- wouldn't additional "free" services encourage more abuse?!

Also, this issue (among many others) further highlights the need for the U.S. to address and control its illegal immigration problem. Illegals are coming in now, not only to work but also to enjoy services otherwise reserved for legal residents of U.S. What happens when even more services are publicly-funded? If we don't fix the illegal immigration problem FIRST, we will deserve to bankrupt the country.

Another issue important to Americans: govt control of our lives. We are already seeing govt infringing upon the rights of individual citizens to make lifestyle choices that could affect future health (tobacco use being the most obvious, but is now moving into the "fast food" area, and I think will eventually try to limit alcohol consumption). With universal health care, I think it becomes an stronger feeling of "entitlement" by govt officials and other experts to dictate lifestyle choices. Ex: "We are paying for your health care, so we will tell you what you can eat or drink (its on this list), what risk-taking behaviors you must not engage in, and the amount of time each week that you must report to govt training centers to engage in monitored exercise programs." I know . . it hasn't happened in Europe, but Europeans have a history of tolerating others' behaviors (e.g., public nudity, drug use), while in U.S. we tend to want to tell you what you can and can't do. I am concerned that, with universal health coverage, American govt could have the power to further dictate to its citizenry, because of the way it has already prohibited things that I and other Americans were free to do when I was a child. Day-to-day, we really are less free than in decades past, and it could get worse.
Interesting how you assume that a person without health care insurance that they have paid for on their own, or through a company, is lazy.

I have medicaid now for my kids. It was hard to get. Lots of illegals apparently have priority. But nevertheless, I got it. I am not lazy. I am poor. Why am I poor? Because I didn't have a daddy who paid for my college education. I am a woman who was brought up in the sixties, a society who still encouraged a woman to marry, raise a family. So I went with that. Since I didn't have a college education, it seemed fitting that being a mother and a house wife might be a good carrer for my life. No taboos there. (Boy, what I have learned in hind sight!)

Then, the contract was broken, and my career ended. But I am still a mom raising kids. I have a very small income. My health insurance at work has the potential to take more than I earn for its premium. I have recently learned that I might qualify for medicaid for myself too, not just my kids, because I am a single mother, and have a low income. I am going to check into it. And if it is true, you can damn well guarantee, I am going to drop my work connected insurance.

I am sure that my life will get better someday. My income will be increasing, and that someday my overhead will not exceed my income, as it does now. I have faith in my ability to rise above the mediocre. I have faith that people who automatically assume that poor equates with lazy with dry up and blow away! To assume that you know why a thing is what it is is to judge me, without cause.

As to the comments about government being able to control what we eat because they are paying the tab for health care. I don't beleive they will be able to enforce that. To do so would be to put McDonalds out of business, and re-establish prohibition. Not that McDonalds shouldn't be put out of business...but this is a capitalist society, and I don't think the government has that kind of power, unless they want to be communist, and say who gets to stay in business and who doesn't. The little guy does get the shaft a lot in this country, but come on! McDonalds? They wouldn't lose out.

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Bob
Bob

August 14th, 2007, 1:34 am #10

. . at you? Nah. I wasn't referring to any specific person. I was talking group averages,and also public perceptions You must admit, America has a lot of lazy people. While not all of them are financially poor, I think more poor fall into the . . shall we say, "less ambitious" . . . category than those in higher socioeconomic groups. To be sure, there are some very hard-working poor people. But, unless they are really bad decision-makers, the time spent being poor by someone with ambitions and a plan is limited.

Then there is public perception. Regardless what the "truth" is, a whole lot of Americans tend to believe that the chronically poor are lazy . . that they want a free ride rather than work for it themselves (listen to Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity, Neal Bortz, even the Clark Howard Show -- you hear this all the time). And, so long as a sizeable percentage of the voting population feels that way, they won't want to go down the road of socialism, medical or otherwise.
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