A thought or two on health care

The Senate has a health-care bill to dissect. You can examine it here. americas_healthy_future_act_(PDF)

There’s been a lot of hyperbole, hyperventilating, name-calling and silly teabag-wearing know-nothings spouting their know-nothing, fear-mongering nonsense about what “health-care reform” might  mean. There’s been a lot of confusion. A lot of anxiety. A lot of misinformation. Some of it may be innocent ignorance, but of lot of it is willful lying. You lie!

Well.

Let’s all take a deep breath. Another. Doctor’s orders. One more. Deeeeeeeeeeep breath. Better? OK.

Let’s acknowledge that doctors are smarter than the average bear. Maybe even smarter than you and me (or I). Let us also acknowledge that not all doctors are right all the time. Let us also acknowledge that most practicing doctors, especially primary-care physicians, have extensive experience in dealing with health insurance and insurance-related issues. They are probably well-acquainted with Medicare and Medicaid. Bear in mind that Medicare and Medicaid are guvmint-run health care.

docs_keyh_f1If you can accept these truths, then you also must accept this well-informed opinion: Most doctors favor having a “public” health-insurance option. In other words, most American doctors (that is, licensed physicians, not phony spokespersons) think some version of “Obamacare” is a good idea.

As reported on NPR:

“Among all the players in the health care debate, doctors may be the least understood about where they stand on some of the key issues around changing the health-care system. Now, a new survey finds some surprising results: A large majority of doctors say there should be a public option.

gr-doctorsurvey-300

Survey says!

“When polled, ‘nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options,’ says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.”

Of course, certain parties might accuse NPR of having a liberal bias (Fox, of course, remains steadfastly fair and balanced – my arse – oops, did I just type that out loud?). But I don’t think you could take such wild-eyed accusations against the New England Journal of Medicine seriously. Not even on Fox.

And here is what the New England Journal of Medicine found in its survey of nearly 5,000 American physicians (again, NOT spin doctors or phony talking heads):  62.9 percent of American doctors favor having some sort of public health insurance option. Note that it clearly states “option.” Meaning choice.

NEjournalofmed

And now I’m going to inject a bit of informed opinion. I have personal experience as the policy holder of several health-insurance programs. I have been in very good employer-sponsored health-care plans, and they were far from perfect. You had to wrangle with claims and idiot bureaucrats and idiot claims representatives. And that was just to get a doctor’s appointment! I have purchased health insurance as an individual. And let me tell you: It is not a good deal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I heard some clown on the radio claim that 85 percent of private health-insurance clients  are happy with their insurance. That is an absurd falsehood, unless you define “happy” as “Well, I don’t really have any better choice, so I guess I’ll take what I can get even if it sucks.” And those were the sentiments among my co-workers at a unionized employer with excellent benefits.

I have participated in meetings with insurance company executives who referred to their actuary as “preventer of sales.”  In other words, they say “coverage denied” to applicants. Been there too. And I’m a healthy guy.

I have been uninsured. That’s not a good place to be either. Luckily, I am a healthy guy.

I haven’t heard many people discussing the cost to society of people being uninsured. If you believe the insurance industry (forgive me for being skeptical), caring for uninsured patients costs the average insurance buyer about $1,000 per year in excess premiums.

That’s not factoring in the cost of Medicaid (for those who qualify because of low income), the de facto insurance for the poor or Medicare, the insurance for those lucky enough to live past 62.

I know these things because as a formerly licensed life and health insurance representative, I had to know these things. And I read a lot.

To those who keep spewing their suspicions that this is all a diabolical plot among Democrats to put insurance companies out of business, I have to ask you: Really, do you think Democrats, of all people, are capable of putting together and successfully executing something that smart and that cohesive? Really? Do you realize that insurance companies are among the most generous contributors to campaigns of both parties and that they spend kabillions (not an official word) of dollars on lobbying in Washington and in every state in the union? Why, then, would even insurance companies now support health-care reform? Because even health insurers recognize that the current system is unsustainable.

The health-care system in this country is broken and it needs to be fixed.

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One thought on “A thought or two on health care

  1. Pingback: SmartRemarks » The Baucus bill looks to be DOA

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