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Friday, July 17, 2009

End All Health Insurance?

A lot of discussion and debate is currently going on as the U.S. Congress struggles with the current health care issues. Many parties are estimating that between 30-50 million people living in the U.S. (legal & illegal residents) do not have health insurance.

Generally speaking, the problem with the health care system is that the cost of health care, even routine services is very expensive, as compared to the average income. The need for health insurance has grown as the the costs of medical care has grown, and health insurance is now out of reach for many people.

As an example. approximately 2 years ago I developed a kidney stone. Due to the size and other conditions, my doctor recommended that I undergo a common out-patient procedure called Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This is a fairly painless, but very effective procedure that was completed one morning at a local hospital. Fortunately, I belong to a company sponsored health plan, so I did not concern myself with the expense. I was literally shocked when I received a copy of the insurance pay outs for my care. The doctor, hospital and various other charges totaled over $10,000!

If I did not have insurance and was faced with the decision to have this procedure, I would have definitely investigated less expensive alternatives. This leads to my point. Many people believe the problem is that 50 million people do not have health insurance. However, I see it in the opposite light. I think the problem is that when a significant number of people do have insurance, providers will raise costs to the maximum attainable amounts, receiving the maximum money from insurance carriers. Since insurers are guaranteeing payment, the question isn't whether or not a procedure will be performed, but how much can the provider charge.

Think of it this way. If nobody had insurance, and health care providers had to price their services according to the demand and payment set by the masses of people, supply and demand principles would drive down the cost of health care. Each individual would have the ability to negotiate or pick and choose services that fit their budget. The money we presently pay for premiums would be saved. The additional taxes we pay for local, state and federal health care programs would also be saved.

Another significant consequence is that more people would be forced to take a more active preventive role in their own health. A large percentage of the U.S. population is obese, extremely careless with their diet, and are sedentary. Many do little to educate themselves on health, fitness and nutrition issues. If a person is faced with paying out of pocket for each and every expense, most people will become very proactive in their own health.

I understand that accidents happen, people are exposed to viruses or bacterias. Genetic factors may cause a host of diseases that are beyond an individuals control. These things, while surprising, are not completely unforeseeable. They happen to most American families at some point. The problem arises when people do not prepare for these things and pretend they are victims when they do occur.

I see it all to often with young adults. They educate themselves and enter the work force chasing the American Dream. Great! They work to buy a nice home, drive nice cars or SUV's. They get a 50" LCD, DVD, Xbox, wheels etc, and then find out the cost of their health insurance. Many will then elect not to have health insurance. They then pay little attention to their health and daily nutrition, and will turn to local and state government programs when the inevitable happens.

Developing an attitude of personal resposibility would change this scenario. I beleive they should educate themselves and enter the workforce, chasing the American Dream. Instead of starting with extravagent things, secure adequate housing and transportation. Secure a proper nutritional supply of food and other health necessities. Save for potential and inevitable health care issues. Once these things are in place, then add the toys.

This article is too short to fully cover the ramifications and consequences of a no health insurance nation. Questions regarding expensive research, private fundraising such as the MDA, or public grant money at large public universities, will provide much material for debate. Should their be provisions for the family that prepares to the best of their ability, but are struck with a devastating disease that requires expensive experimental treatment.? Their are answers and consequences for these scenarios. My hope with this writing, is that people will think about the idea of no heath insurance, and then think about the daily value they place on their own health.

A shift from victim and entitlement mentality, to a mentality of personal responsibility, will be required to fix the current health care situation.


  1. John you ignorant slut, You obviously live in a bubble. BTW, what is this Johnny Rotten crap? This is brother Ken

  2. I agree we have become an entitlement society and we always look to blame someone else for our problems. And we are always looking to someone else to fix our problems. WE need to be responsible for our own health and lives. How much more money can we continue to print and how much more money can be taken out of our paychecks? I can no longer afford to support everyone. I agree with Johnny Rotten. And while you are thinking about your own health and the responsibility you have to keep fit, if anyone knows where I can get a good glazed donut, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Careless Connie