Sunday, August 16, 2009

I swear I'll vote against all of you...

So Obama looks to be ready to drop the public option from health insurance reform and replace it with independent non-profit co-ops. You're still going to get screwed if you currently have insurance. The government is still going to mandate that pre-existing conditions be covered and you're still going to get a one year* window until you have to go into a government-mandated benefits package. But now our government may just dump the proposed money into these non-profits instead of footing the bill themselves.

So just to be clear, the White House has taken the only admirable part of this health insurance bill and labeled it non-essential. And the sad part is that this move may buy it support from both parties. It may be time to adopt my grandfather's voting method: never vote for anyone marked incumbent.

* To reiterate, that's technically a 5-year window for places like the Land of Make Believe where insurance companies don't adjust rates yearly. So King Friday gets 5 years. The rest of us get 1.


Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

This is unfortunate, and while I'm still open to the idea, a reform bill without a public option comes awful close to my idea of failure. There's still a lot of legislation left, after all.

But the lowest I ever paid for energy was from a co-op, so I'm not going to write that off just yet.

And if this package is adopted, but doesn't work, real reform will come at some later time when premiums are really unsustainable.

I just hope the GOP is paying close attention, because even if they win every election cycle for the next 6 years, the health care thing ain't goin' away.

Dante said...

"And if this package is adopted, but doesn't work, real reform will come at some later time when premiums are really unsustainable."

I've got a better idea. Let's let our current system actually fail on its own merits instead of intentionally breaking it so you can put in something you'd prefer better.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

See, I consider our current system a failure.

Dante said...

A failure? ANYONE in this country can get health care. ANYONE. Even people here illegally. Even people in prison. Even the homeless. That doesn't mean they can get health insurance and it doesn't mean they don't have to pay for their health care costs if they can afford to pay for it but the care is there. I find it hard to label a system as a failure that provides the service it's required to. Does it have problems? Yes. Can it be made better? Yes. But a failure? I don't think so.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I see it as a systemic failure, and I have for many, many years now.

The only service the system is currently designed to provide is profit. And you cannot look at the health care system without looking at health insurance.

Our rationing system is designed to service those with money or insurance, not those with health problems.

To pay for medical treatment, the easiest way is to be stinking, filthy rich. For many of us more normal people, we have to have insurance.

Insurance has to be paid for, and is usually linked to your employment. Due to the high cost of medicine, people remain underemployed or in jobs they do not like to keep their insurance. This places higher stress and anxiety on people (leading to more health problems) and stifles the dynamics and innovation of our economy.

But even if you have insurance, you have to pay out of pocket for minor expenditures, which make up the majority of expenditures when it comes to primary care (the family doctor). So even people with insurance (like me) "choose" not to see a primary care physician because it is too expensive. The "choice" is between paying for care on credit (accruing more debt, something that just wrecked the economy) or not getting primary care (which can drive up health costs later when small problems become big problems).

The system only services my medical needs when something drastic occurs. But if something drastic does occur, there is no guarantee the people who have been taking my money will now honor their committment to pay for my illness. The effect of which places me in the category of people who do not have insurance.

If you don't have insurance, your options are to A. go without medical care or B. become the modern day version of a sharecropper. Yes, you will be seen (if they don't just let you die in the waiting room) and taken care of, but that bill comes due.

Because, as my family is economically dynamic, they can pay, and they would break their retirement and sell their house to get me better. The only reason I currently have insurance is to protect them from that kind of circumstance.

(And that reminds me, I'll be needing to speak to a lawyer soon to set up my living will, just in case something does happen.)

If I did not have a job or insurance and something terrible happened, yes, an ambulance would probably take me to the hospital. (I say probably because Louisiana has private ambulances and not many public ones because that may cause competition.) Yes, I would probably be treated, and later I would get the astronomical bills.

At that point, my "choice" is to work forever with my only goal being to pay off the debt (and heaven forfend anything else happens that requires care), never to buy a home or send my kids to college, hamstringing my family's economic dynamism and advancement (but that's OK cause poor people choose to be poor right? They're just lazy...).

Or I could default on the bills and stick the taxpayers with it, driving up the costs that keep me from getting insured in the first place, and pissing off the people who vote and wonder why poor people can't pay their medical bills.

Heckuva system we got here. That just screams "success," yeah? And this comes from someone whose family is chock full of doctors, lawyers and successful small business owners.

Dante said...

So your basic problem with health care as it exists now is that you actually have to pay for services rendered to you? Got it.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

You could say that. We just mean two different things when we talk about "services rendered."

See, I'm really complaining about the services I recieve. In my experience, the "services" I pay for don't work, do not give me a return on my investment and hurt me economically by monopolizing a market and stifling local, regional and national innovation and dynamism.

This is real, free ride liberalism over here, I tell ya.

My problem is with paying for something (through my premiums) and not having a guarantee that the company will render services if needed. I can do something similar with the lottery. My problem is with paying for something (through my premiums) that may not cover all necessary services as prescribed by my doctor.

My problem is with getting stuck with the bill when folks who need health care cannot pay because it is too expensive for them to pay or buy insurance. As it will be for me when my job can no longer offer insurance.

My problem is the affect this system has on upward mobility in our society. When folks on the less fortunate side of the equation cannot address their medical needs because what I am paying for sucks, it opens up a host of other problems that affect my life in a very real and very negative way.

So basically, I'm paying for services that screw me over, and my only option - my only "choice" - is to boycott the system as a whole and risk screwing over my family in the process.

Yeah, you could say I have a problem with that.

patsbrother said...
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