Health Care

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Politics, Health

by maria on 19.10.2009 - 02:56  

I think there are serious flaws with our (USA) health care system currently. I think all people should have basic health care, and our current system fails to do that. Not only do not all people have health insurance, but those that do can lose it when they need it most, all too easily. I believe the basic reason for this is the people who are suppose to be providing access to health care (the insurance companies) have an incentive to to NOT GIVE ACCESS TO CARE. If they give insurance to people who end up in the hospital for a long time, it costs the company lots of money, so they would rather spend the money figuring out how to not hold up their end of the bargain (usually cheaper to find a way to reject a claim/deny coverage), or spend the money figuring out how to only sell their insurance to primarily healthy people who are unlikely to cost them loads of money, not to mention advertising how great they are, to entice a large pool of people to choose the healthy people from. Oh, yes, and then there is all of the money they've been bloody spending to stop congress from changing the status quo. Hmm, wonder why they would want to keep the status quo? Their primary goal is to make money. For businesses where making the vast majority of customers happy means more business and more money and happy owners, this is okay, but when it is advantageous for a company to only keep the customers happy that do not require much, and advantageous to discourage other customers from even doing business with them, because this is what makes the most money and keeps the owners happy, this is problematic. And when it is a business that we as Americans think all people should have access to, this is doubly problematic. Medicare is successful largely because it does not have these incentives. They spend their money figuring out how to get the most people health care for the smallest costs, not in how to get out of paying for health care.

So, how to solve the problem? What about regulation? What if we say, okay, you can't deny someone coverage because of pre-existing conditions? Okay, that's easy, just charge them lots more money. Chances are they won't be able to afford it, and will still be out of insurance. So, how do you regulate a company to provide everyone who asks for it insurance at a reasonable price and force them to pay all reasonable medical bills? I don't think it is possible. I think unless you break the incentive to make money, insurance companies will find the loopholes, and continue to spend lots of money on not providing health care, and there will continue to be people without insurance and denied claims. One thing I have wondered about is what would happen if you required all health insurance companies to be non-profit. I think it probably makes more sense to have a public option, based on the medicare option, but I would not rule out the non-profit idea. I wonder if there are other solutions.

I also believe that having health care tied to your employer is a bad idea. Maybe it made more sense when people stayed with one employer for years, but I think it makes no sense today, where for years, the average person has been with their current employer for only 4.1 years As of Jan 2008. Why should we have to change insurance (and quite possibly doctors) when we change jobs? I once changed doctors four times in two years, because of various health insurance shenanigans. Not one of those times was because I was actually unhappy with my doctor. And why should health insurance be a factor when choosing a job? It seems crazy to me. I know people who hate their insurance, but can't change insurance companies because they don't want to change jobs. And, worse, I know people who have stayed in jobs they hated for years because they were afraid of losing their health insurance. It can't be good for your health... I think if there were a public option there would be less incentive for employers to use health insurance to entice people, and less incentive for people to choose jobs based on health insurance.

At any rate, I think we need to try something that is actually different then what we are doing now, and not just a couple of reforms or regulations, because what we are doing now just isn't working, and I don't believe it can be properly patched.

Addendum:

It appears at least some experts believe the current bill (which has no public option) could make things worse for patients LATimes Article.

</health care rant>


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