Health Care or Health Insurance
Of all the news, debates, articles and bills that are going on regarding 'healthcare reform', most of the talk is more about 'health insurance reform', or 'how to get a net increase in health insurance payments from people'.
Everyone is talking about taxing the rich to get more money in health insurance, putting surcharges on so called cadillac plans, making it mandatory for everyone to take health insurance, etc. without any significant (if at all) improvement in the actual health care.
How about our politicians re-think this problem again, and go to the root of this: Healthcare is ridiculously expensive in the US, so try and reduce the actual cost of health care. If this happens, then, automatically, insurance premiums will go down and people will be able to afford it.
From my personal experience, healthcare is a big mess because of these main reasons:
- Its ridiculously expensive. Even something like a regular physical runs into 1000s of dollars.
- People are not used to paying from their own pocket: hospitals directly bill the insurance companies. So people who have insurance don't know (or care) how much they got charged.
- Every small medical need requires a person to go the insurance company to pay for it.
Not that it really matters, but in my opinion, an ideal healthcare / insurance system should behave like:
- Basic health care (for regular fever, minor injuries, etc) should be inexpensive enough that no insurance is needed. People who get hurt or get sick very often pay for it from their pockets. As it will be affordable, it will not have an adverse effect on the finances.
- Catastrophic illness, accidents, surgery should be covered with a real insurance.
- Everyone should first pay from their own pocket, and then claim insurance. Currently, as people don't see the bill at all, they never know how much things cost.
- High emphasis should be given to preventive care (but this is not a part of health insurance)
Insurance is always against major expenses, but our health system has it for everything. Imaging that you have to claim auto insurance for doing an oil change.. this is what we are doing in health care... it just doesn't make sense.