My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

Random Thoughts on Health Care

Health Care continues to be a big issue in the Republican contest.  The main talking point is to “repeal Obamacare” (which is really Pelosi, Reid & then Obama-care).  I agree with that sentiment but I haven’t heard any plans other than that though.  Honestly, it’s just more of the same.  Nobody (R or D) has a plan for what TO do, just what NOT TO do.  I think the successful candidate will need to demonstrate a solution for health care.  Here’s a couple of thoughts on health care:

The first huge problem is that we’re not being honest with ourselves about health care – we already have universal health care.  It ain’t efficient and it doesn’t produce great results but if you go to the hostpital they are legally required to treat you.  Regardless of your ability to pay.  Everyone reading this that has health insurance helps pay for this.  Our own hospital loses millions a year providing this service.  Since it’s delivered on a crisis-basis, it doesn’t produce great results and costs a fortune as simple problems have become complicated.

Why are insurance companies restricted to doing business on a state by state basis?  In some states it’s just beyond the pale as some companies have +90% market share!  I’m not sure whose idea of “competition” that is but I’d love to have that level of market penetration for my IT consulting company.

The health care debate reflects a central tension in America – what kind of people are we?  This tension and debate was best described by a question I heard at the Tea Party debate: Say a 25 year old man who, as a result of a terrible accident, ends up at the emergency room.  The hopital orderly pulls out the guys wallet and it is determined that he has no insurance.  Does the young man die or does the hospital treat him?

If you believe the young man lives, we need to fix health care.  If you believe the young man dies, we need to strip down the system even further and make it clear that the ability to pay is the price of entry.  Currently we’re stuck in the middle and it is poisoning the system.  Requiring hospitals to treat all comers, normally at the 11th hour has turned out to be an aweful compromise.  It surely is an issue that needs real leadership.



    You are right Andy, this is a huge issue that people need to
    learn more about.

  2. A true story that is unfortunately for me very politically incorrect.

    As a small business owner I was regularly seing 15-20% annual per capita increases in my health care
    coverage. This in the worst economy in 80 years. Where was I supposed to find the money? I’d cut back
    on coverage (hurting my employees and their family’s) and still have a 10%+ increase.

    This year my broker gives me a proposal with 0% (YES A ZERO!) increase. I asked the brokers technical
    expert how this was possible. She had a one word answer, “Obamacare.”

    Now she might not be right. And it may not last. And there may be problems that no one has thought of yet. I’m certain that the new program is far from ideal both practically and philosphically. But I know as an absolute stone cold fact that the old system was not working and was not sustainable. It cost far too much money and caused guys like me who help fuel job creation to go out of business. Anything is better than what we had.

    It easy to be against something. Fear is easy to sell in the short-term. The challenge is to come up with a better idea or plan.
    Be a part of the solution, not of the noise.

  3. Careful now, someone might label you “not conservative enough” or a “RINO” for writing something like this.

    Seriously though, I agree with your points. I got just one tiny thing: Did you read the editorial entitled “The compassionless GOP” on page A13 of today’s Post? It addresses this, albeit by throwing in religion, to some extent. It also said that the crowd would have the guy die…

  4. PS

    You should watch this interview with Dr. Jon R. Garrett from CSPAN’s Q&A program on the matter. He’s the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Virginia Hospital Center, a hospital that functions much better then Prince William I might add, where Mom works. In fact, Dr. Garrett is the surgeon who she pretty much works for. His comments on who pays for the people with no insurance in particular are rather interesting…

  5. Agree with MW on the price of health care for companies. We were seeing similar increases and had to continually reduce benefits to keep our increases under 15% annually. That just isn’t sustainable. I want to run a business that looks after its employees but at that run rate, I would have had to cancel insurance coverage in a couple of years.

  6. For Andy H & Mark:

    Since you are both small biz owners, you might find this latest report from the Center for American Progress of interest:

    “Workers and Their Health Care Plans: The Impact of New Health Insurance Exchanges and Medicaid Expansion on Employer-Sponsored Health Care Plans”

  7. Sometimes articles say better than my ramblings :-)…

    “Will Employers Drop Health Coverage in 2014? Or Just the Opposite?

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