The stupid premise of all health care "reform"

Whether it's Obamacare or the version of health care reform that Republicans are fighting over, the premise of all of them is stupid.

The meaning of health insurance has been so corrupted that whatever version--Obamacare or Republicancare or something else--that we end up with will never satisfy everyone.

That's because health insurance used to be a protection against major illnesses, the kind that would put people into the poor house, like cancer or crippling accidents.

But it now has come to mean that you get reimbursed for the cost of anything and everything related to health. Got a sore throat? Under the new definition, insurance will cover the cost of a visit to a doctor who tells you to take two aspirin and stay hydrated. Even the most routine, less costly procedures must be covered under the new definition.

It's as if your car insurance covered the cost of oil changes and other routine maintenance. Homeowners insurance doesn't cover the cost of furniture, grocery bills, utility charges and other upkeep. So why should health insurance cover the cost of bodily upkeep and maintenance.

I can hear the screams of outrage already. What I'm suggesting is "mean!"
Well, no. What is mean is the the bill of goods that has been sold to the American public, that health insurance should cover just about everything, starting with contraceptives and working all the way up to elective (i.e. unnecessary) surgery.
The thinking was, and still is more than ever, if medical care is free, next to nothing or costs little, people will start taking better care of themselves. It's based on the assumption that people have to be bribed to do what's good for them.

Of course, this is one, if not the major, reason that health care costs continue to climb. All the "preventive" care costs a bundle. Have a headache? Better have an MRI. Stomach upset? Just to be sure it isn't serious, let's do an endoscopy. And why not? We're not paying for it?

Meanwhile, health care providers (we used to call them docs) have every reason to prescribe those expensive tests to "rule out" a multitude of things--which they usually do. The main reason one is that they don't want to be sued because of the slightest chance they might have missed something in their diagnosis. They don't want their already outrageous errors and omissions insurance premiums to go up more. Look to the nation's litigious culture and personal injury lawyer's lobby for that.

What this now dominant belief has wrought is convoluted global programs like Obamacare and Republicancare in which a poison pill hides. Programs that we--or coming generations-- can never possibly afford.

So all the promises of wider coverage and cheaper premiums about to a crock of crap. Forget blaming the president, Congress, Republicans, Democrats or whomever for not being able to agree on a workable program. It's motivated by the popular demand for free or cheap stuff.

All those effort to craft compromise legislation is doomed from the start unless sanity returns to the American public and we return to understanding the real definition of insurance. No wonder the main and bogus test of which program is the best is the one that is considered to be less "mean."

dennis@dennisbyrne.net
www.dennisbyrne.net

Comments

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  • First, have you decided to do without a Medicare supplement?

    And, if people want something for free, why is the Right complaining about the current deductibles and high rates? Only those on Medicaid and getting the tax credits avoid those. And the Republicans want to reduce those subsidies.

    The theory was actually started with HMOs saying that people would be healthy if preventative care were provided and a primary physician authorized all care. Somehow we got away from that.

    Maybe if Congress would do things like authorize bulk purchasing of pharmaceuticals, put all providers on Medicare rates, and quit those scamming the payors on generic drugs like Epipen and whatever the Marathon muscular dystrophy drug that Marathon did not develop, costs could be gotten under control.But Congress of both parties has no stomach to take on those lobbyists.

    Also, don't forget that so called charitable hospitals have to treat those who come to their door, whether they can pay or not. Is that a rational way to run a health care system?

  • I remember being 23 and going to our old family doctor because I'd been having headaches. He examined me and told me he didn't think anything was wrong with me. I wondered if I had a brain tumor. He said that even in the rare event when a 23-year-old gets that, "Brain tumors don't act like this." I think he was sucking on a lollipop at the time.

    Sure enough, the headaches soon went away. He was right. Today a doctor would order all kinds of expensive x-rays and MRIs right off the bat. Malpractice suits are a large part of it, but it's also that when they see you have good insurance coverage, they want to order this test and that test. If you're uninsured you get little or nothing, when you're insured you get "designer health care" and this is one of the reasons premiums and copays are so high.

  • In reply to Friendly Curmudgeon:

    Exactly right.

  • Politicians on the Left and on the Right have promised that THEIR particular brand of health care is perfect, that it will provide all the miracles that modern medicine can provide without the minor inconvenience of having to PAY for it.

    There is no perfect health care plan in the entire world. The more care you get, the more taxes you pay. The more people who are covered, the longer the wait for needed or desired medical procedures.

    Until doctors are issued magic wands that miraculously cure all diseases and every injury absolutely free, we will just have to muddle through as best we can.

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