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Howard Tayler - What Will Finally Fix Health Care
Ramblings of a Happy Cartoonist
howardtayler
howardtayler
What Will Finally Fix Health Care
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pharaohmobius From: pharaohmobius Date: September 11th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: information

Yes, I recognize that some procedures/medications/etc. are too pricey to be paid for out of pocket by most people. Those are the things that health insurance was traditionally intended to help with prior to HMOs got everyone into the mindset that health insurance should pay for every doctor's visit and prescription. Again in my not terribly humble opinion, health insurance should cover only catastrophic health events (i.e. the ones that would utterly ruin one financially if one had to pay it themselves). Limiting what insurance companies have to pay out would go a long way toward making it more affordable.
zenkitty_714 From: zenkitty_714 Date: September 11th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: information

>>health insurance should cover only catastrophic health events (i.e. the ones that would utterly ruin one financially if one had to pay it themselves)<<

I would agree with you in theory, but in practice, most people who don't have insurance that covers office visits, prescriptions, and routine checkups just don't ever get them. Which is fine from the perspective that it's their choice, but not fine given that it means they're more likely to end up with a serious illness that could have been diagnosed and prevented if they had simply gone for regular checkups. Which is a lot more expensive.

Limiting what insurance companies have to pay for to catastrophic/chronic trauma/illness would in practice result in more of those expensive sick people, and people using the expensive ER as a clinic because they don't have the money to see a doctor - exactly what we have now.
pharaohmobius From: pharaohmobius Date: September 12th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: information

"I would agree with you in theory, but in practice, most people who don't have insurance that covers office visits, prescriptions, and routine checkups just don't ever get them."
It's hard to argue with an uncited generality, so I'll accept your statement for the sake of argument. In any case, I look at that as more of a case that people are less likely to indulge in a doctor's visit if they're responsible for the bill (or rather, are aware of what they're actually paying for it). When people live under the illusion that they're only paying a co-pay for doctor's visits (after all, employer-provided health insurance essentially is paid for out of employees' paychecks), they're more likely to go to the doctor every time they get the sniffles. More visits = more health care expenditures, irrespective of any hypothetical "sicker due to going to the doctor less" population.

"Limiting what insurance companies have to pay for to catastrophic/chronic trauma/illness would in practice result in more of those expensive sick people, and people using the expensive ER as a clinic because they don't have the money to see a doctor - exactly what we have now."
Only if people are as uninclined as you say to avoid doctor visits and the like if insurance doesn't pay for it. I think if people came to realize how much cheaper it can be to pay for non-catastrophic care out of pocket many if not most would be inclined to do so.
norroway From: norroway Date: September 12th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: information

Except that just getting my asthma medicine every month, for me, is catastrophic. I'm sorry, $750 a month for medicines just to be able to breathe is TOO MUCH MONEY. It's more than three times my car payment.
pharaohmobius From: pharaohmobius Date: September 12th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: information

"Yes, I recognize that some procedures/medications/etc. are too pricey to be paid for out of pocket by most people."
Thanks for reading thoroughly. ;o)

In a serious vein, have you tried writing the manufacturer of your asthma medicine? Despite a lot of vilification in the media, drug companies will often help people who cannot afford medications.

norroway From: norroway Date: September 12th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: information

I did read thoroughly, thanks. I have done the whole go-to-the-manufacturer thing. You have to make under a certain amount of money each year, and I make just slightly over that. But I'm self-employed, so it actually comes out to a whole lot less after taxes. But that doesn't count.
pharaohmobius From: pharaohmobius Date: September 13th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: information

My condolences on your situation. I asked about the go-to-the-manufacture thing to better establish what your situation is. And sorry if my "thx 4 reading" remark came off as snark; I had intended it to be read in a light-hearted tone. The reason I said it, though, was to underline that I think situations like yours are catastrophic and should be fair game for coverage under medical insurance. The ones I think should be excluded are those which are readily affordable, especially those on the "Walmart $5 list."
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