Healthcare thoughts from March

I posted these thoughts on my facebook notes page a while ago, now. It got a lot of responses, so I figure it is a good way to kick things off here.

“I think people need a reality check about health care. Maybe you are quite content with your own coverage, but let’s look at this from a different perspective. Of course you are happy. You are upper middle-class America. You have everything you need and want. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way, you are so privileged, and it’s time you started to recognize that fact. Even if you have had to cut back a little in the last year and a half, you are still better off than most people. But let’s try something that perhaps you don’t do all that often; let’s think about other people. Not the exceptions and anomolies of people trying to abuse the system. Think about the families struggling to make it ends meet, but simply cannot afford to go to a doctor when they get sick. More importantly, let’s think about their children. Their children have had no say in their situation, but when they get a cold or an ear infection, their mommy can’t take them to a doctor to make them feel better, or even afford the medication, because it would mean not getting food. So the child goes to school, can’t concentrate, does poorly, doesn’t learn, and, oh yeah, infects all the other children in her class, some of whom can afford to fix the problem, some of whom can’t. So this child missed out on her education regularly, and consequentially, makes poor decisions later in life, feeding the cycle of bad decisions and poverty.

“Now, I’m not trying to say that Obama’s plan is perfect, or that it’s the absolutely right solution, because I honestly don’t know a lot of details about it. I’m no health care expert. What I AM saying is that I am absolutely frustrated with people who have to attitude that the American health care system is acceptable, that it should not be changed. The health care system if wrong on so many levels.

“Did you know that people with insurance, even if their insurance doesn’t cover doctor’s visits, or the fees are out of pocket until they hit their deductible, pay less per visit than people without insurance? Because of their size, health insurance companies can negotiate with practices to make them give lower rates to the health insurance company’s customers. This means that the people who can least afford it pay more. Not only do they have to pay for themselves, but they also have to pay for the difference of the discount given to the insured people. Don’t tell me that this kind of system is not messed up!

“These types of systems just don’t make sense when everyone is not insured. Take car insurance, for example. If not everyone is insured, it is not a fair system. The costs aren’t evenly distributed. If VA did not have laws requiring that everyone be insured, not everyone would be. It’s enough of a mess when the occasional person without insurance gets into an accident, now imagine if half the people driving were not insured! Unless people never got into accidents, and one could argue that without insurance people might drive a little more carefully, the mess not having insurance would create would be extraordinary. But, the same argument cannot be made for health insurance. People without heath insurance get just as sick as those with health insurance, arguably more sick because they lack effective preventative care. Health insurance just won’t work unless everybody has it. Right now, that is not possible because health insurance is so outrageously expensive.

“The entire system needs to be rethought. And if Obama is taking steps in the right direction, then I support those steps. I certainly do not expect him to be able to solve this problem overnight, especially with the gummed up way that our government works. But I think Americans are lucky to have someone in power willing to fight for what is right for everyone, not just the privileged few.”

Here are some of the comments people posted, although I will use their initials rather than their names.

CB – “well said! I’m right there with ya on that thinking.. i’m glad we are at least taking steps in the right direction!”

KS – “Comparing car insurance to health insurance is comparing apples to oranges. The reason why people need to be insured for driving their cars is for accident purposes – if i had no insurance and i totaled your car, you need money. And that pr…oblem is still not perfect – my car was totaled 5 years ago in NJ due to a hit & run accident – the person didn’t have any insurance so they fled the scene. There are still loopholes. It scares me to know that people will be forced to buy insurance or face penalties – we are supposed to be FREE to make our own decision.”

TH – “As someone having to pay over $400 a month for COBRA, I’m all for the bill. Even paying that much I still get medical bills that the insurance did not cover. It’s so ass-backwards!”

MM – “I am so proud to know you! Well said and I hope you are running the country when I’m old :-)”

KM – “Well said! I’m in total agreement.”

CT – “i agree with you as well. true the car insurance comparison really doesn’t work in this case but the result is still the same, there needs to be a unitary healthcare system available for all LEGAL americans. well said :)”

MW – “I’m not happy. I was denied health insurance b/c of “pre-existing” conditions. Conditions that do require medical attention, but they are there. your trip to the ER now costs you to spend an extra 25.00 a month on health ins. Do the ma…th and see how much it affects your total income, and then multiply that out for a family of four. Because I was denied health care I have to continue to pay over 700.00 a month in COBRA payments,when that runs out who knows the cost. Amen to the bill. It ends being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions! But, I glad you are thinking about these things.”

DW – “Ok, from a different perspective speaking as a small business owner…It WILL hurt the small business owner.”

JGW – “ok, if you can’t afford it now, How will you afford when they force you to have? I always thought you could not get blood from a turnip”

JG – “Tax credits.”

I replied:

“Wow, I didn’t realize I would get so many comments!
First, to work on the car insurance/ health insurance analogy, the point is that both are insurances, so they work under the same principles. Say VA did not require car insurance. If that s…ystem worked the same as health insurance does, mechanics would be able to charge people without insurance higher rates for the same repairs. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. On top of that, we see how much damage it does to have just a few people without car insurance when they are supposed to be insured, now imagine how crazy things would be if it were more people, and then you have our healthcare system. People are “accident prone” too.
In terms of not being able to afford it, I think the whole point of reform is to make it more affordable, and like James pointed out, tax breaks, and other credits.

“And in general though, I think as a society we need to rethink our attitudes for our health. I mean we’er willing to spend how much to bail out banks, to keep the profits up, but when it comes to helping actual people, no one wants to spend a cent! To put some of these numbers in perspective, Americans spend $18 billion annually on coffee, and over $40 billion on their pets. People are more willing to spend money on their PETS than they are on other human beings. I don’t want PETA on my back over this, and I’m all for fluffy critters, but really people, really?

“PS- forgot to say thanks for both the support and the other perspectives! I’m all for discussion as long as everyone is polite and there are no hard feelings!”

But the comments kept rolling in!!!

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