health care

If We Could Start Over Again… Health Care

I was listening to the reaction from both sides of the political debate on the Affordable Care Act a few minutes ago as I was driving from one end of Fort Wayne to the other.

The topic was the Supreme Court ruling announced today that the current practice of allowing people who are enrolled in an insurance plan that was purchased through the Federal government to receive subsidies from the government that lowers the out of pocket cost of their health insurance premiums.

Quite frankly, I am tired of it all.

If we could start over again, I would want to find the time in history that health insurance was not the vehicle that we used to pay for our health care.  There was a time when you visited your doctor and paid him or her for the services they provided.  It was an honest transaction without the jacked-up prices and game playing that we have now where a hospital charges.  Here’s a bill from 40 years ago for having a baby:

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Two years ago CNN published this story saying the cost is now between $18,000 and $27,000.  After insurance the family is still left with $3400 to pay.

If health care expenses only rose at the pace of inflation, I’m betting that the bill would be $3400 or less, not the $18,000+ figure.

However, an industry was created that has gone overboard, the health insurance industry.  They, along with the medical industry have created this, well,  I’ll call it a con game.  They have conned us into believing that health insurance and health care are both necessary and our right to have.  All the while they play this price game of inflated prices and fat cat profits for the insurance executives and the medical community executives.  The consumers who pay the premiums, co-pays and deductibles are powerless.  The individual health care providers, like the doctors and nurses are also powerless to a degree due to the “system” which is corrupt.

The free market system is what kept things competitive. The Affordable Care Act sales pitch that was presented was supposed to clean this up but instead it only has taken us further down the toilet.

While there are some good things in the law such as no lifetime caps on health insurance benefits and the requirement to offer a plan to everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions, it has not fulfilled it’s purpose as described in the name, Affordable Care.

It is too late to go back to what we had before this law.  This law is filled with compromises and special perks for some and not others… it is a mess.  The system we had before was messed up too, but not like this.

I was actually in favor of a revision of the health care and health insurance systems to a much simpler plan, a universal health insurance and health care system that is similar to other countries who have such a plan.

We are required to contribute a portion of our earnings into the Social Security fund.  In return we are able to get benefits when we are eligible due to our age or condition.  Instead of health insurance companies, we pay a health services tax in the same manner we pay into Social Security.

That’s where the money comes from to pay for our health care.  On the other end is the health care providers. These are the people (doctors and the like) along with the hospitals and institutions.  They are paid according to a set fee schedule that is determined by the government.

On one hand, this is scary as we’ve seen how the government is terrible at saving money or time or any number of things.  The V.A. scandal is still not fixed. But other countries seem to be able to figure this out and make it work.   Can we?