You Don't Have Health Insurance, But I Do

by Dave Hamilton in ,

I'll start by saying that I think Obamacare will wind up being seen similar to how No Child Left Behind is now: something that was a great idea at the start but through the political machine turned into a steaming pile of insert-your-favorite-noun-here. "Healthcare for the poor" and "all kids getting a good eduction" are talking points everyone can (mostly) get behind. In the end, they'll screw us all.

Ok, hopefully that keeps this from attracting all kinds of "you hate Obama" comments. I might hate him, but I don't hate him and his administration any more or less than I hated the last guy and his administration. And I might not hate any of them.

Now, on to my point: you don't have health insurance. At least you probably don't, and you almost certainly never have. I have health insurance, and it works quite well for me and my family. It's not perfect, but it allows us to really see what we're spending and where.

You have car insurance, or at least you probably do. You carry that insurance to do what insurance is meant to do: protect you from bankruptcy in the event something unexpectedly bad happens. If you get into an accident or mow down some children, insurance kicks in to save you from losing your house.  

But you don't pay a $10 co-pay every time you get an oil change. And if you go in for a tune-up you don't choose your spark plugs based on which ones your car insurance company covers. No, of course you don't. That's not what insurance is for, and you probably don't buy a third-party maintenance plan for your car.

When you go to the doctor, though, you do think about things like that. You probably don't know (or care, even worse) what an office visit costs. You just pay your co-pay and go on your way. You also may not know what your prescriptions cost for the same reason, but you darned sure make certain that the version of the drugs you're taking are on your plan's formulary.

That's a maintenance plan, not insurance. Yes, that maintenance plan includes an insurance-like component (because it also protects you from bankruptcy), but it does a lot more, doesn't it?

I have health insurance, nothing more. My family of four pays just shy of US$500 per month to ensure we don't go bankrupt in the event something catastrophically horrible happens. When we go to the doctor we pay for it. When we get a prescription, we pay for that, too. It all goes against a very high deductible.

I've done the math: it's cheaper for us to carry a plan like this and pay out of pocket than it is to have the comfort of a flat fee/co-pay for all of these things. It makes managing money a little more difficult, but that's OK by us. It's our choice. 

From the looks of it Obamacare is going to force us to lose this choice. We're going to be forced to carry all kinds of things we don't want or need (like maternity coverage, and maybe even sick doctor visits), and that's going to possibly double our premiums. It's terrible.

And yes, Obamacare will (hopefully?) solve the problem of "the uninsured" getting coverage.  

But why is it that the uninsured need coverage? Maybe they don't have coverage now because they don't have enough money to care about what happens if they're sued into bankruptcy by some hospital that has to treat them regardless. If I didn't care about that I wouldn't have coverage.

Regardless, Obamacare does absolutely zilch to solve the real problem: here in the USA we pay a fortune in medical costs (go ahead, watch the video. I'll wait).


Yup, you heard that right: we pay WAY more than any other country, regardless of their health care plans. And Obamacare isn't going to solve that. It's not even trying to solve that. It's solving a completely different problem, and what it results in is the medical industry making even more money from the rest of us.

If you really want to solve our "healthcare problem" in this country, do at least one of these two things: 

  • Reduce our actual costs for medical procedures and pharmaceuticals.
  • Reduce the doctors' time and costs incurred when processing insurance claims.

Do either of those things and you'll be my hero. Like this guy