Sep 18 2008

I Still Don’t Get It

Category: healthcareamuzikman @ 8:00 am

I have health insurance – great health insurance! Probably one of the best group insurance policies that can be found. It was difficult to get and it’s difficult to retain. I have to re-qualify every 6 months to remain eligible and I make sure I do because it is worth it to me.

It was not easy to qualify for this plan. I had to learn new skills. I had to work for years improving those skills. I had to network and build relationships in order to meet the “right” people – people who would hire me for the kind of work that would get me qualified for this particular health plan. I had to make tough choices. I had to make occupational and vocational sacrifices. I had to work long, hard hours but it was worth it because I was raising a family and needed insurance for my kids. I did what I had to do.

But never even once did I think it was the job of my government to provide me with health insurance. (I am no legal scholar but I do know there is absolutely NO mention whatsoever of a right to health insurance in the U.S. Constitution). Quality health care was something I desired and I needed. It was also excellent incentive for me to work hard and do what I had to do to get it. I didn’t wait for anybody to give it to me, I went out and earned it.

Where was it we decided “universal health care” was a right? And who decided it was the job of our government to provide health care? Other than the U.S. military, can you name something our government is good at running? (BTW – this is probably NOT a good time to answer, “Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac”). Have you ever gone to a DMV office? Now imagine you are going there to schedule a heart bypass surgery instead of a driver’s test!

Do I want folks to be sick? No. Do I want to be sick? No. But I took care of ensuring I’ll get care if I do get sick. So why can’t others take care of ensuring the same for themselves? Many can. A few can’t. Let’s all get together and help those who really need help. But instead of waiting around for someone to give you something because you decided it was your “right”, why don’t you get up off your chair and go figure out how to get what you need by earning it? I did. And I’m not particularly smart or lucky or well-connected. I just worked hard to attain a goal. Or do we not expect anyone to do that sort of thing anymore?

I just don’t get it….


Sep 04 2008

Universal lifestyle coverage

Category: election 2008,healthcare,humor,politics,Uncategorizedsardonicwhiner @ 8:52 am

Bluntly, the huge majority of people who “can’t afford health insurance” of any kind at any level have simply made other choices.  They need to:

1)    turn off all the devices that don’t need to be on (save money on electricity),
2)    drive less,
3)    eat at home, simply, no fast food, don’t buy expensive prepared meals from the freezer section, buy basic foods and prepare meals to a menu,
4)    turn in their cell phones back to the phone company and cancel the plan  (paying the turn off fee if they must…  they’ll still save money),
5)    cancel satellite or cable tv plan (you can live without tv if your antenna doesn’t work…  really),
6)    cancel internet service (use the library for “research” and email, listen to the radio for news),
7)    run the air conditioning in your home or apartment much less, or don’t use it at all, like the rest of humanity for all of human history,
8)    give the expensive car back to the loan company, or better yet, don’t buy it to start with…  drive a simple, reliable, middle aged car, and as little as possible,

9)    knock off the “dollar here”, “dollar there” expenditures on soda, coffee, etc.

10)    refuse to buy gadgets, trinkets, techno toys, designer clothes and shoes, etc.
11)    review all the ways they spend money, and impose some budget discipline, not spending on anything that isn’t really essential.

12)   maybe consider getting a job, if they don’t have one, and are able.

This sort of thing used to be taught in economics courses in high school, both “regular” economics and “home” economics.

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Sep 03 2008

Change of heart on universal health care

Category: economy,healthcare,humor,politics,Uncategorizedsardonicwhiner @ 8:50 am

I may have had a change of heart about universal health care, i.e., government funded health care for people who can’t afford it.

Herewith, my modest policy proposal:

In order to be fair to the taxpayers who are going to fund this health care program for the uninsured, we need to be sure that only people who have no other option are going to get healthcare on the public dime.    For that reason, a simple means test will be employed, to make sure that people who want government funded health care are people who couldn’t possibly afford the coverage themselves, and who are not simply operating with other financial priorities that use the money they could have spent on health insurance.

As a simple assessment philosophy, I propose that to qualify a person must prove they can only afford to live at or below the common living standard of the middle class in 1948, with no excess cash left over for frills.  No one in the middle class of the USA in 1948 was “poor” by any sane standard, nor should they be considered so now.

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Aug 01 2008

Universal Healthcare in Turkey and Poland

Category: healthcareharmonicminer @ 9:24 am

The smart people at Smart Christian are expressing doubts about universal healthcare, with the simple equation, UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE = WAITCARE & UNDERTHETABLECARE

During my approximately 4 months in Turkey, it was interesting how often the horror stories I heard from people about their universal healthcare system. They complained about having to wait a long time to get care (WaitCare), and their requirement to pay the doctors under the table to get any sense of quality care (UnderTheTableCare).

While flying back to the America, I sat by a young Polish businessman. Surprisingly, he brought up the same experiences he had with the universal healthcare system. He told me some scary personal stories, including the birth of his son.

Would universal healthcare be any different in America? I am not sure, but I have my doubts.

There will always be people who don’t get care, at least in a timely way, in any system. It’s just basic economics. The only question is, will we retain enough choice in our healthcare system so that people can change what isn’t working for them, or will we be trapped with government mandated systems from which there is no escape? In many cases, people without health insurance in the USA actually get care faster than people in Canada who have the government run system.

I’ve discussed this previously here.