Saturday, March 26, 2005

I might be contagious

Yeah, I am sick. Looks like I might spend my easter alone, in my apartment, catching up on blog entries that I should have made earlier this week but my computer decided to go bad and punish me.

Now, I don't have health insurance...Not yet anyways. May 1st is the start date for my benefits and thank God for that! Now I have some health problems that I should have taken care of long ago, might be serious, might not be but I would rater wait for my insurance to kick in than pay for the exams myself. But the sickness that currently befalls me makes me reflect on a rather heated discussion I had with the resident socialist at work this week. One gal, who mind you looks like she is a member of a biker gang with the new neon color in her hair each week complimented with the punk rock style dress and dark aura, blew my mind when she said that she supported president Bush. I stopped and turned around and I might have dropped my jaw a little too much cause she noticed and started to talk a little more about it. Then the resident socialist decided to add his "thoughts" into the topic. "Capitalism keeps us down man." Oh, no...He didn't just say that, did he? I launched into him like a cat does a mouse. Then once I knew I had him, I did the only cat like thing I could. I played with him.

Now my cat growing up was fun to watch mouse. The mouse, knowing certain death would just freeze in front of him. Then he would pay at it a little, and after he was satisfied in the mouse's destruction, he layed down. The mouse would just sit there. Its' confused state only made it act more irrational. It layed down with him. After a couple minutes of this the mouse realized it could escape, thats when it died. I approached this socialist in much the same way. I made him answer a couple real simple questions, none seemingly related to the last and finally I tie them altogether with a real simple statement that blasts his total hypocrisy. Then I lay down. I tell him I agree. Why should Bill Gates get to keep all that money? He doesn't need it! Why should people make so much money when I make so little? Why doesn't everyone have health care? He thinks I am on his side. He is calm, he is happy, he thinks he has found an ally. Then I simply say, "Because they earned it, I didn't do a damn thing, neither have you and we do not deserve their money."

Ouch, he is shattered, he thought he had someone believing his lies and rhetoric but then I slammed him with the one thought that kills every budding socialists dreams. The truth. But this one of course went into meltdown mode. "Well there are people who still don't have health insurance, we shouldn't need health insurance!". Ha, he thinks I am done playing with him then. Okay, I'll bat him a couple more times. "I agree, health insurance should not exist." He smiles, thinking he won. "You know, it's too bad health insurance exists but it was because of your social programs that we have it now." "No it's not" he replied quite indignatly. "Oh, but yes it is. During World War Two when the government forced standard wages and froze wage increases employers couldn't offer a higher salary to get more and better employees so they started health programs." He got this convoluted look on his face and I think he was going to say something like thats not true but I made sure to cut him off before he said it, "And then it became something that evolved into what insurance is today. Your socialist programs of wage freezing and social plans during the depression led to health insurance today which is costing people on the whole millions of extra dollars each year because insurance raises the price which everyone pays." As they say in first person shooters, "HEADSHOT."

If everyone wanted to have health insurance they should buy it. The government should not be the provider of health care. I have seen health care that is government run. We all have. Canadians that flow through our borders to get medical treatment. There was a story of a teen in Britain who died because his emergency dental appointment was in FIVE months. Hell he died in 5 days which would have still been too late. If I had an emergency I could drive right now and get treatment within the hour. In Britain and Canada I could drive there and make an appointment within the hour for sometime next week for my emergency.

People seem to miss that when you make anything "free" people will scarf it up regardless of need. The last time I was at my local computer store I saw a "free" bin. I started looking through it and pulled out a couple power cords, a PCI video capture card, and I was tempted to take a couple really old motherboards. I didn't need any of that stuff (well I needed one of the power cables but I took like 3 of them). The same happens with health care. The last time I was at the emergency room, I was the second oldest patient there. The only other person was a stabbing victim and it took a while to get to him. The rest were little kids with a cold...well one was having some sort of diabetes problem, but the rest were all sniffiling and after waiting for about 2 hours, the doctor said "Sorry about the wait, but all these mothers think when their child has the sniffles it is the end of the world and don't realize that we cant do a darn thing about it."

So what is the solution to our health "problem"? I don't particularly see it as a problem but if you asked me to wave a magic wand to fix it, there are 2 easy solutions, and 1 hard one. First would be to eliminate co-pays. Insurance can still exist, but make each person pay for it up front and then be re-imbursed for their whole cost. The companies that do this currently tend to have less claims simply because people aren't willing to stick their money out once they see the cost of medical treatment the odds of taking little Timmy to the emergency room at night will decrease dramatically. Of course the second solution(and the hardest of all of them) would be to eliminate insurance completely. Go back to the times when people got sick, they paid a doctor and there was no insurance to pay for anything. I think this is hardest and most unrealistic because no one would want to pay when they got radically ill, even though they could get money and aid from churchs and non-profit organizations. My personal preference though would be a combination of the 2. Almost every place that offers insurance offer also a flexible spending account. These accounts pay for medical expenses from tax free contributions. Now tool it so that no one pays for routine care except the person going in for it. Now, also you would need something for large problems such as surgery and child birth so out of the same account you would pay for a very cheap catastrophic health care. Now the consumer sees the cost of health care. They dont have to pay for the larger health problems and it will relieve the price of routine items thus lowering the price, and saving millions in health care costs.

Chris Muir nails one out of the park
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