Friday, June 7, 2013

National Healthcare vs Private

shackman brought us a topic hashed and rehashed over the past five years here in America.  And I don't have a good answer.  How can that be?

The problem is obvious.  A rare piece of good journalism - let's face it, this isn't exactly the age of Murrow - followed the path our healthcare dollars often take right now.  They followed a guy who needed some hospitalization, something that wasn't life threatening, but needed to be attended to.  They also asked for a detailed breakdown of all expenses incurred.  What they found was ridiculous padding.  For example, one ibuprofen tablet cost our patient well over $100.00!

So, they took this outrage to the management, expecting a little shame or contrition - or at least some effort at distraction, a little mendacity.  What they got was bald faced honesty.  The hospital said this was the only way they could recoup the huge losses being incurred with the uninsured.  The ER has become the doctor's office for a huge number of uninsured patients.  The hospitals incur the expense without any choice, for they are mandated by law that they must accept people who come to these rooms for help.  It becomes worse if the person is admitted, for they cannot release those who have no place to be released to for care.

So, they went to the insurance company and asked why they didn't do something to stop this waste of money.  The insurance company said they didn't even examine any claims of less than $100,000.00.  Basically, they cover it with high insurance rates and high deductibles.  In other words, the burden is on the shoulders of those of us who ARE insured.

So, what has happened here?  Why doesn't the free market solve this issue like so many insist it can?  I'm thinking that it is because it is not and cannot be a fully free market situation for one thing.  It is not just to simply let the uninsured die and I don't think any of us want that as our solution.  And, we don't want the insurance companies working to solve this by dictating what treatments each patient is to get, something far too many of us are facing from time to time, treatment prescribed based upon judgment of cost rather than as a medical decision.  So, unless someone can plainly explain to me how the free market is supposed to solve this, I am at a loss to see how it can work.

And that last comment by me is part of the problem I have with this whole situation.  The national debate has not been helpful!  I don't want attack politics on this.  I don't want ideology and I'm tired of nasty substituting for knowledge.  This is too important for the health of people and the health of the economy.


  1. I am not exactly stupid, Old Foss, yet appear to be unable to follow American reasoning as to health care. Isn't health care a basic human right? One to be extended to all? Not free of charge necessarily - but tailored to a person's means. My god, I only extract from the Bible what suits me: But the good Samaritan, wasn't he the one who cut his coat or some such, does come to mind.

    Am finding myself quite upset thinking about the implications of this debate.


  2. U you have it - unfortunately many many folks here do not see it as a right -rights apparently are limited to our constitution and bill of rights.

  3. Does anyone have a good answer?

  4. Fantastic post, Fossil. I printed it out to show the family.

    Everyone in America may not have health insurance but everyone does have health care. Like you said Fossil, no one can be turned away when they need help.

    My son and daughter are both paramedic firefighters in Ft. Lauderdale and they run a lot of calls. Their attitude about health care has changed greatly since they started.

    One thing they are adamant about; they are not in favor of national health care.

    It certainly doesn't help for the government to defy the Constitution. According to the Constitution the government is not allowed to produce a product and force the people to buy it. Yet, that is exactly what this administration has done.

    blessings ~ maxi

    1. Wrong Maxi - the government and this administration have not provided a product - do you make a similar argument against the car insurance requirements? Of course not.

  5. @bitchontheblog

    I am in agreement with you. However, do not pigeonhole Americans as being of one stripe on this. This debate, in my mind, is being intentionally obfuscated by some who have other agendas and the average American is being confused and misled.

  6. @Grannymar

    I think there are, but the body politic is getting in the way quite unnecessarily. It is the sister issue to the gun debate which is likewise being muddled unnecessarily. Many just lie.

  7. @Maxi

    We aren't quite on the same page on this one, Maxi. The government has stepped in because I don't see how private is going to solve it. Would I prefer free market? Sure. But, I don't think free market works in all areas and I think this is one of them.

  8. I just wish the current presidency had spent more time in their preparation of Obamacare before passing it. I think it's a train wreck waiting to happen.

  9. @Delirious

    I have a different view of it, but I respect yours. Personally, I think the train was already off the rails, in the ditch.

  10. What strikes me is the fact, yes fact, that there is no perfect system anywhere in the world. I suppose that at some time in the future we will get a workable model but for the present, we are all bungling our ways through many models and not happy with any.

  11. @rummuser

    I don't know of any that have the whole package, but I would sure love to see a little more sharing of those things that do work and work for rich and poor alike.


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