Thursday, October 02, 2008

Health care, philosphoically

Universal health care seems to be coming up a lot this election year. Several candidates support it, and I can't decide if that support is a deal breaker for me. I don't know what I think about a universal health care system. I have always been blessed enough to have insurance and also blessed to be free from any major medical problems. I've never felt the terror of having a sick child and not being able to afford to go to a doctor. I know in scripture we are commanded to care for the sick, but I'm not sure if a socialized health care is the way to do that. (Don't take anything that follows personally, I'm working through this issue.)

Insurance sucks. I know the "joys" of calling the insurance, the doctor's billing office, the insurance, the doctor's office trying to get things worked out. I wonder if the government system would be any better.

There's two ways to look at this debate 1) from me as someone who has insurance already and 2) from someone who has no insurance now. I suspect from the view of #2, anything is better than nothing, except that their taxes go up, but I don't know that for sure. For me, I have a few issues:
  • How would a national health care program work? (Note to self: look into Canada's health care system.) Would doctors essentially become government employees? Would the government act as a giant insurance company? (Now from the people who brought you taxes and IRS, health care and um... HURT (healthcare for the uninsured, residents, and taxpayers, Ok, it's a stretch). Would you get credits to buy your own insurance?
  • From my greedy point of view, am I going to keep paying the same for my insurance while my taxes go up to provide health care for those without. Why don't I get any benefit? Or maybe I do in the form of warm fuzzies and a reduction in total pain and suffering. One of my husband's co-workers said that we were already paying for the uninsured because hospitals have to pay their costs, so they charge others more to make up for the fact that some can't pay. So this would mean if everyone could pay, insurance premiums would go down (yeah right, sorry I'm cynical of insurance companies).
  • Would this produce a two tier system where basic care was free, but any meaningful care cost extra. Sort of like the shipping at Amazon, you can get free shipping, but you'll have to wait two weeks, want it tomorrow and you'll have to pay more. If you want an appointment you can get it for free, but if you want an appointment sooner than next month that will cost you $20.
  • How far would the national program go? Would there be a cap on per person spending like there is in regular insurance or would we as a nation be bound to provide extreme levels of care?
  • Would the insurance lobby stand for any kind of real beneficial change to how health care works in America?
(Edited 10/9/08)

I've looked through Obama's plan. Basically he wants to offer a basic government health plan. Insurance companies can offer other plans, but they must be the same as or better than the government plan. Also, insurance companies can't discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. Not sure what I think of it. Sounds nice, but it seems to me everyone will have to switch to government plan since I can't see any reason for insurance companies to offer better plans if they can't discriminate.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

UGG! Don't get me started on universal health care!! I understand the "need" but still have a lot of the same questions. I just hesitate about letting the government take control! Will they start legislating health? (Thanks Hillary!) Anyway, I'm all for consumer driven health care (HSA) to help with extreme circumstances and patient responsibility for everything else! Sorry didn't mean to rant...I guess it is hitting a nerve.