Thursday, August 20, 2009

More on Health Care -- but Short

My friend just posted a really well-written blog on health care reform, which I think clearly explains why something needs to happen now and all too-poignantly describes the popular misconceptions of the opposition. It's sad to imagine so many people living in a bubble where they have no concept of how other people live or cannot empathize with anyone less fortunate than themselves.

As a side note: Dear Blogger -- why do you selectively let me know when blogs I subscribe to are posted?? Why do I have to hear from someone else that my friend has blogged? That's strike 2 -- one more time and I'm Google-Readering it.


Net Ghost said...

I agree that everyone in America should have access to health care. Absolutely.

I also think that if Congress can pay billions of dollars for overseas wars, they can find the money for health care reform too. But I personally would have no problem paying more taxes so that people had health care.

But here's my problem: do I personally really want the government to administer my health care plan? Do I want a government bureaucrat telling me what health care procedures I can or cannot receive? Would my dad have received the (mostly) amazing health care that he received, and lived as long as he did, if the government had been calling the shots? I worry that the answer is a big fat NO.

I happen to have some experience working with the government, and I just have to say that it's not been a positive experience for the most part. There is no "customer service" at all. There is very little compassion. There is often no intelligence involved in decision making. Indeed, decisions are often completely arbitrary.

So while I think that everyone should receive health care, I also think that people should be allowed to have insurance and pay for health care if they want. I think a lot of people feel the same way, and, without knowing a lot about the proposals in Congress, I think that's what concerns a lot of people about universal health care.

A Fuss said...

Right, I totally see your point -- but the proposal on board is not for universal health care by the government but just an option for government provided health care. And I think that people who can't afford any health care would rather have government health care than nothing at all -- right? Which doesn't preempt at all anyone who has private health care -- just provides something for those who don't.

Net Ghost said...

Absolutely - I think the people without any health care should be given access to it. But I don't see how the government can make health care available to everyone without impacting the private health care system.

One possibility is what they've done in Massachusetts. They require everyone to get health insurance (and you get a tax penalty if you don't), and then those who can't afford it get a government-subsidized health care plan. The only problem is that Massachusetts didn't anticipate how expensive it would be for the state, or how difficult it would be to get the word out to everyone that they have to purchase insurance.

A Fuss said...

I'm not sure how having a government option could negative affect quality of care covered by private insurance -- there's a lot of discussion about how having so many people insured could mean longer waits for things because there would be a sudden boom in care, but to my mind that's a good thing -- more medical jobs, more hospitals, more doctors' offices though it may take us a while to get there.

But ultimately if you view the government plan as competition for the private plans, which is what it essentially is, the private plans will be forced to create and present more attractive options for their clients in order to persuade them. If they do anything that makes their care plans less adequate they loose business.

One of the things the government reform bill is requiring is that they have 5 years to comply with prejudice against preexisting causes -- well, hallelujah. It disgusts me that they get away with some of that stuff. So doubtless there will be changes to private insurance, but mostly for the good.

If you imagine that there are lots of people who, like you, are concerned about not getting proper care from a government "agency" (for lack of better word), then you collectively form a target market and insurance companies that are smart will have a range of "products" or plans -- plans that compete with the government for a lower income client base and plans that offer the highest quality health care, and presumably somewhere in between.

Essentially, the insurance industry has operated as a monopoly by collectively price setting and supporting each others bad plans, rather than competing. By offering an option, the industry will be faced with competition and will either be forced to work for their clientele or be faced with going out of business. Doubtless some will, but there will be others who master the problem. Presumably since the industry has been able to operate collectively for so long, it suggests some wily administration so they should be able to cope with such a challenge. Though it could be true that the world's largest and most powerful consumer nation's could prove itself to be incapable of sustaining smartly run capitalistic industries (first the auto industry, now health care). But I don't put that on the governments doorstep -- I put that to the fault of businessmen who can't deal with adversity or be innovative.

Literary Auntie said...

Indeed, A, indeed.

On Nathan Fillion's Twitter (yes, I follow him), he wrote that he'd always had great health care (he's Canadian), and that socialism is different than communism, and can, in fact, be a very good thing.