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Where Obama Is Right On Health Care Reform

Cost is the enemy here. via the WSJ blog

“If we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket.

…if somebody told you that there is a plan out there that is guaranteed to double your health care costs over the next 10 years, that’s guaranteed to result in more Americans losing their health care, and that is by far the biggest contributor to our federal deficit, I think most people would be opposed to that.

Well, that’s status quo. That’s what we have right now.”

Proponents and supporters can argue forever about whether this is the fault of the free market or the fault of too much or too little government. I happen to believe that what we have today is nothing more than an expected result of the government regulations put in place. No matter how you try and structure regulation, capitalism will exploit it.
Every insurance I am involved with has a beginning and an end. If your house burns down, you get a defined compensation. If your spouse dies, their life insurance pays a defined compensation. If drive your car into a garbage can and dent the hood, your insurance pays a a beginning and an end.
With health care insurance, we haven’t defined an end point. With fee for service, the costs are unlimited, and therefore our health care inflation is unlimited.
With bundled care, the costs are limited, and there fore our health care inflation is limited as well. Some folks believe that you can’t estimate how much it will cost to take care of a patient with diabetes with complications, coronary disease and six other chronic medical diseases. I think we can. And I think we can do it much cheaper than we are doing it today.
The current model is not sustainable. In any third party model, whether it is the government through taxes, or private insurance through premiums, no one is accountable to cost. FREE=MORE makes providers do more. FREE=MORE makes patients do more. I have come to the conclusion you can’t have both fee for service and third party insurance AND not double our expenses in the next 10 years. I personally do not want to spend $25,000 on myself and Mrs Happy’s health insurance in ten years.
Obama is right. This is exactly where we are heading. Remember that $25,000 in health care insurance is $25,000 less in take home pay being withheld by your employer. As long as someone else is paying the bills, FREE=MORE will prevail and we are all screwed.
Either abandon health insurance all together, or abandon fee for service. We can’t have both and survive.

*This blog post was originally published at A Happy Hospitalist*


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2 Responses to “Where Obama Is Right On Health Care Reform”

  1. avivagabriel says:

    You wrote: “Remember that $25,000 in health care insurance is $25,000 less in take home pay being withheld by your employer.”

    Do you realize that a majority of college graduates …and significant numbers of folks with advanced degrees … are no longer making $25,000 in annual wages for full-time labor?

    What's to happen to the non-living-wage working poor when premiums for healthcare exceed their annual earnings?

    Doctors have the luxury of “resisting” premiums of $25,000 a year. Most working class folks in Vermont DO NOT have that luxury; it represents ALL they have for food, housing, transportation, clothing, and …medical care.

    I won't even bring up paying tuition for their kids to go to college… or any other “luxury” (since our society apparently deems higher education to be a luxury).

  2. avivagabriel says:

    You wrote: “Remember that $25,000 in health care insurance is $25,000 less in take home pay being withheld by your employer.”

    Do you realize that a majority of college graduates …and significant numbers of folks with advanced degrees … are no longer making $25,000 in annual wages for full-time labor?

    What's to happen to the non-living-wage working poor when premiums for healthcare exceed their annual earnings?

    Doctors have the luxury of “resisting” premiums of $25,000 a year. Most working class folks in Vermont DO NOT have that luxury; it represents ALL they have for food, housing, transportation, clothing, and …medical care.

    I won't even bring up paying tuition for their kids to go to college… or any other “luxury” (since our society apparently deems higher education to be a luxury).

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