27 February 2010

My thoughts on healthcare

I've been thinking a lot about healthcare lately. (Who hasn't?) (Okay, maybe the non-Americans haven't been. You guys sure are missing out!) I have mentioned before that I am pro-government healthcare. With that said, I also feel like there are a lot of things within the healthcare debate that I can be very moderate on. I recognize that a lot of Americans do not like the idea of nationalized healthcare and are really repulsed by it. I get that. I can see where they are coming from, even though I don't necessarily agree with them. I get the back and forth wrangling about whether healthcare reform should be done in a comprehensive bill or several small bills. I understand people being wary about a health insurance mandate and the insurance companies disliking a mandate that would force them to cover pre-existing conditions. There are lots of issues at play, and lots of parties with very different interests. I get that.

But there are some things I don't get:

Why is America the ONLY country in the developed world that doesn't guarantee healthcare to all of its citizens?

Why aren't costs more transparent?

If the major reason that costs are so high is malpractice insurance, why hasn't congress passed tort reform in the healthcare field?

But my major beef with healthcare is that insurance companies are able to negotiate the prices much lower than the actual costs. For example, I had a test that was billed at about $800, but because I had insurance they negotiated the price down and I only had to pay about $250. I was glad that I had insurance - obviously it saved me a ton of money. But, if I hadn't had insurance, I would have paid the full amount. AND because insurance companies negotiate the prices so low, the uninsureds' rates are inflated to make up for the low costs the insurance companies pay.

What are your thoughts? (And be civil, or else.)


Fionna said...

Little Lilah was born ten weeks early with some complications, was airlifted to a larger hospital where she had an operation, was cared for by nurses that had a limit of two patients to care for, stayed for a month and then was then flown back to the local hospital (her mom was allowed on the flight too) and it didn't cost her parents a thing. We may pay higher taxes in Canada but in my opinion it is worth it.
If our kids get sick or injured we do not worry whether or not we can afford to take them to the doctor or hospital.
Our health system is not perfect. There can be fairly long wait times for elective surgery and we do have a shortage of doctors but I can live with that. There is no fee for visiting the doctor, no fee for tests, and no fee for necessary procedures.
Life is good in Canada. : )

That guy in Sicko said...

One time I was an accident with a large power tool. I lost 2 fingers. Due to insurance reasons, I had to pick which one I wanted to keep. Now I have a stub instead of a finger on one of my hands.

Packrat said...

Having had the experience of working for the government, there is no way I want the government running/controlling my health care. That said, I do believe the system we have now needs an overhaul. I'm just not quite sure how that would be handled. Oh, and two of the real reasons why costs are so high? The amount of paper work that has to be done (salaries for non-medical people) and all those people who get care but don't ever pay their bills.

Cindy said...

I too think tort reform needs to happen first. I also think if larger groups could sign up for plans (people in NY could buy insurance in UT) it would reduce the costs and change some of the state laws that can make it so expensive in certain areas. I have heard that overall you are able to negotiate cheaper healthcare when you don't have insurance because the hospital can either get paid %25 percent by the customer or not at all (bankruptcy).