Sunday, October 4, 2009

Health Care or Health Insurance Reform?

Amid the debate about this health care stuff, I have had the opportunity to get an insight that many people do not have. My dad has worked at a hospital for about 30 years, and occasionally offers me some input on what's going on in that world. The conclusion I have come to is that what we really need is health insurance reform, starting with the socialist medicare/medicaid (hereafter "government") plans.

You see, government only pays 28% of what it costs to actually perform the surgery/testing/etc. In many cases, the servicer cannot bill the patient for anything beyond that. Obviously, nothing can operate at a loss margin, much less a 72% loss. As a result of that, hospitals/doctors actually charge twice what it costs to do something in order to make up for that loss. In other words, not only do we end up paying for the first 28% through taxes, but also pay for the other 72% through increased costs when we make visits. Therefore, in order to be a viable choice as far as coverage goes, insurance companies create plans to cover more costs, which means they have to raise premiums. All in all, it comes back to us paying more for our medical expenses.

Logically, then, if we eliminate the government from the equation, our costs are lower. Follow my logic.
1) No government means we keep more of each of our paychecks. No more paying for a failing system.
2) Doctors and hospitals will not have to charge double in order to break even/make a little profit.
3) Insurance companies will not have to pay as much in order to be a viable choice since cost of visits/procedures has been almost halved. That results in much lower premiums, making insurance more affordable, especially when combined with 1).

Let's also consider something else: frivolous lawsuits. I can sympathize with someone who has been paralyzed or lost a loved one as a result of a doctor doing something stupid. And yes, said doctor should pay for a mistake. However, in very few, if any cases, does someone deserve half a million or more dollars for a mistake that was not mere negligence. Our justice system has lost all reasoning ability, accepting lawsuits from people who say McDonalds made them fat or they deserve money because when the spilled the coffee on themselves they got burned. A lot of the costs we pay at the doctor now are really because of malpractice insurance. Doctors have to pay for it somehow, and again, it is not good business sense to operate at a negative margin. If we knock out the stupid lawsuits and only pay attention to the ones which have merit, i.e. negligence cases, then a doctor's insurance cost just for practicing would be lower, which would lead to lower cost per procedure.

Anyway, just ranting about the ills of government and our (in)justice system. Perhaps the politicians should instead debate these issues, rather than attacking a problem that doesn't exist with legislation that won't help. Oh, wait, that would require self-examination and independent thought. Guess that would be too much to ask . . .

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