Health Care- Really?

It looks like health care reform is the next shoe to drop in Barama’s quest for total control, and the tax hikes he will have to enact will be huge, and not just on the top earners, but on down the line, as there will be such costs that the amount will bleed down to the lower tax levels. This is inevitable, and perhaps it will come about, but it should make us pause and think- think about the past.

When you (and I) were young, we had no insurance- we sat at home, and suffered through myriad colds, sore throats, strep throat, scrapes, bruises, and many mostly minor ailments that today, if we have insurance, we go see the doctor for. In the last twelve years, I have seen the doctors more than I ever had before.

A part of this is the process of getting older and having parts go out on me- just flat wear out from thirty- odd years of hard physical labor, and a part of this was unexpectedly surgical. But about two years ago, I said, “enough!”- I had had cancer surgery, and was clear, and the insurance companies had a deal where you (and I) had to be free of cancer for five years before they would think of insuring us again. After the five years had passed, I applied again, but was told that now the rule was ten years. When ten years had passed, I found that they would cover me, except for cancer, and the cost was way too high for basically no coverage. Enough!

So, in a funk, I began to think back to my youth and my family’s past. My father was not poor- not rich, but not poor. Still, we had life insurance, property insurance, and auto insurance, but we did not have health insurance. Doctor’s visits were considerably cheaper than they are now, and there was an x- ray machine in the office, and the doctor knew how to read said x-ray, all for no additional charge. I know this because I was in construction, and had to be x-rayed for fractures once. The total costs for that visit- $60.

Now, if you go to a doctor, you pay that doc, then get referred to a radiology clinic, where you pay another charge to the clinic for the use of the facility. Then you get at least one bill from any doctor who happened to walk by your x-ray and felt like they should be paid. Then you have to go back to the first doctor, so he can tell you what the x-ray tech said about the x-ray. Now, I don’t know about you, but that is about three steps too many, and at least two too many hands out for your (my) money.

This isn’t streamlining anything, or cutting costs, and a lot of this is the fault of the insurance industry, but let’s not omit the Physicians and their education, or lack thereof.

The insurance industry routinely pays half of what a physician or clinic or hospital charges- they “settle” for half, and the various healthcare industries have learned to charge twice what the visit is worth, which is truly tough on those who have no insurance. Yes, there are some doctors who know this, and when you say you are “self paying”, they drop the amount of charges, in order to accommodate the lack of insurance. Other clinics will charge an uninsured person outrageously. They just do not care.

The fact that there is a two tier system, where doctors charge a real price and an inflated price, means trouble in River City- there should never be a two tier system. The insurance companies are getting soaked by high prices, and they are allowing this. When you add the unnecessary trips- the colds, the minor coughs, the muscle sprains and aches that only time will heal- that add to the insurance costs, well, its only logical that sooner or later we would have a problem with the cost of insurance. The more you use something, the more it will cost.

When you have auto insurance, you do not take your car in for a minor scratch, you either repair it yourself, or you live with it,because that scratch does not impact the use of your car. The same could, and should be said of minor ailments. We are overusing the health insurance option here, and then we wonder at the price.

Some of us need insurance, some need it less, and some need hardly any at all. I went without insurance for thirty years at least, because I was young, I was healthy, and my immune system was something else- I had no colds, no coughs, no really bad infections during that time. I was fortunate, to be sure, but this is true by and large, for most young people, and that’s the way it should be. With the exception of dental insurance, young people need less insurance as a general rule than others.

The fact remains though, that in general, we, as a people are overusing the insurance option, and we need to learn to use it less. Perhaps then, the companies could charge us less, especially if the hospitals would charge real world prices, and the doctors could learn to read x-rays themselves, and cut out the middleman.

By the way, Doctors can score a C- on their finals, and still hold your life in their hands- and they get mad when I ask them what their final grade was- I guess I have no bedside manner.

Blake

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One Response to “Health Care- Really?”

  1. Big Dog says:

    One of the biggest problems is the lawsuits. When I was in nursing school they told us that 19 of every 20 dollars spent was for legal issues.

    With Obama care and Daschle helping out the elderly will be forced to deal with their fate and accept the consequences of aging (not a direct quote from his book).

    People think because they have health care coverage that everything should be insured. They go for an office visit and pay a co pay and that is it. When you have care insurance the oil changes are not included. You pay for that as part of the upkeep.