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The Sisters Wade was started to give voice to a young, fresh, conservative perspective. We invite you to dialogue, debate, disagree or applaud our efforts. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ok, let's talk healthcare...

I've been meaning to write a post pertaining to the issue of healthcare for a while, and due to some issues raised by my sister's last post, I decided to go on and do it. I by no means consider myself an expert in the field, so I'm mostly curious to hear your opinion in regard to healthcare--does our current system in America work, and if not, what can be done to fix it?

I personally think healthcare in America needs some major revamping. My husband is a small business owner, so we have to buy our own health insurance--I know firsthand that it is ridiculously unaffordable for the average American who doesn't have this benefit through their job.

In most business transactions, there are two parties involved--the party providing a product or service and the party consuming that product or service. Why in healthcare is there a third party--the insurance company--making a killing off my healthcare? Does this not drive costs way up? Because the insurance company foots the bill, doctors can pretty much charge whatever they want--it eliminates alot of the competition that makes other sectors of our economy work.

And does it not make the consumer much less conscientious in regards to their healthcare? If all I pay is a $20 co-pay when I go to the doctor, I don't really care how many unnecessary things they do--I'm not paying for it. When I recently had a baby, I didn't care how many doctors charged hundreds of dollars to stop by my room and basically do nothing more than tell me how cute my baby was. But because we recently switched our insurance to an HSA, you better believe I'm now an extremely conscientious shopper when it comes to medical care. I've started calling around to pediatricians to find out how much it will cost to bring my child in for a well baby checkup, and do you know what? They can't tell me! They have absolutely no accountability to the customer, because they just bill the insurance company. Now, before anyone does anything to a member of my family at the doctor, I want to know what they're doing, why they're doing it, and how much it will cost. They look at me like I'm crazy. This system is crazy!

I mean, think about the implications in any other business transaction. Let's take grocery shopping for example. If I walked into the grocery store, paid a $20 co-pay, and was then able to get whatever I want with a third party footing the bill, I'd have a hay day! No more looking for good deals. No more comparing prices. No more off-brands for me! Heck, the store wouldn't even need to bother posting prices. Who cares? It seems ridiculous when you look at it in this light, so why do we take this system for granted when it comes to healthcare?

In my opinion, costs would go down if we gave individuals more responsibility for their own healthcare, and medical providers more responsibility for offering good services at competitive prices...not to mention eliminating third party profits.

So why not government funded, universal healthcare? In some ways, I wish I could make myself believe that it was a just and efficacious system. It certainly seems like it would make things easier on me personally to not have to pay for or worry about my own healthcare. But I just don't think it's right, and I just don't think it works.

When I think about someone else paying for my healthcare, I selfishly think it's a great idea. But when I watch my husband's company pay thousands of dollars in taxes to fund current medicare programs, I think "hey! that's the money I was gonna use to feed my kids with this month!" We have a hard enough time now running a business that provides us and others with a livelihood--I honestly don't know if we could do it if Obama increases our taxes as much as he would have to to fund his proposed healthcare plan. So in that sense, I would definitely rather pay for my own healthcare than watch the government tax my husband out of a job. We wouldn't be able to eat or have a roof over our heads, but hey, we'd have free healthcare!

And, as my sister pointed out in a recent comment, it's not right for those who live a healthy lifestyle (don't smoke or do drugs, don't drink excessively, don't have sex with multiple partners resulting in STD's, don't have abortions, eat healthy and exercise, etc.), to pay the medical costs of those who make different choices.

And I'm not even going to take time to touch on the fact that from everything I've read or studied, it is simply not sustainable long-term for the government to pay for universal healthcare, even if it were a good idea.

That being said, I know it's an extremely complex, not cut-and-dry issue. I know there are times when people need life-saving treatments and can't afford them. And I don't know what the solution is. What do you think?


pamshetler said...

yikes...it's so hard to consolidate my thoughts.

The purpose of government is to govern. Not to make autos. Not to run banks. Not to be doctors. They are getting a bit too big for their britches.

Admittedly, the current system is flawed. Seriously flawed. But past government attempts to help the medical world are even more flawed.

I would rather see it continue AS IS than to see the government take it over...only because I am convinced the government could not make it any better by controlling it.

All that and still no answers....

Kacey said...

Yes I TOTALLY agree Pam! If my post sounded any different it was unintentional. Anything is better than the government taking over!

Anonymous said...

This is a really good thought. I've never thought of it from that angle.

John Pinkston said...

For a while I have felt HSA's would become the next step for healthcare in this country for the reasons you mentioned....now I'm not sure what what is next. HSA's put the responsibility on the consumer (where it should be), but BO is quickly moving in the opposite direction.

Natalie said...

Kacey, your comparison of shopping for health care through a 3rd party to shopping at the grocery store really makes sense. I hope a lot of people read this because one thing people in America don't understand is that low prices for goods or services may be a good side effect of capitalism (sometimes), but they aren't some sort of God-given right.

This reminds me of a documentary I watched a while ago (The High Cost of Low Prices) where they interviewed a bunch of people in a Wal Mart parking lot and asked them whether they'd rather have higher wages or lower prices. Almost all of them said lower prices. The sad thing is that many of them seemed poor to begin with, and they really would have benefitted from a system where they would receive better compensation for time spent working (and maybe being forced into making better spending decisions wouldn't be so bad either).

Why don't people understand that when something costs you less out of pocket at the moment you make a purchase, you almost always end up paying more than it's worth in the long run (or your children do, or some other third party...)?

Anonymous said...

I concur. The patients should have the choice in what forms of health care they receive. I too do not think that a universal healthcare system will be the answer. Putting a persons medical care into their hands, as well as EDUCATING them about what their options are, and what they truly do/don't need is what must be done. We have transformed the medical world into a money-making business and it disgusts me. Lets stick to healing people, and helping them help themselves, their families, and their loved ones!

Hope said...

I don't come here often, but I think your blog is great!

Having spent the last 4 years in the UK and having been a recipient of universal health care (private care is not an option here for things like maternity care), I can tell you, 1)Universal health care is NOT free. You just pay for it in a different type of 3rd party... taxes. 2)Plain and simple, it's just sub par care. My 4 and 2 year old have collectively seen a pediatrician 3 times in FOUR years. My last midwife appointment (which, there will be 7 weeks in between appointments, because surely since this is my 3rd baby, I don't need the same maternity care as new moms, right????) took an hour and half, because they are just NOW moving the maternity care system to computers (this being most of central Scotland, including the capital of Scotland). I could on and on, but I'll stop! :) By the grace of God, we've not needed major medical care in the past 4 years.

All that being said, I don't believe that the system in the states is perfect. It definitely needs revamping, I unfortunately am not smart enough or well read enough to offer a better way. But, given the choice, I'd go the American way, where I can at least choose what type of care I want to have.

Kacey said...

Thanks for your thoughts everyone! Hope, I really appreciate you sharing from your personal experience. It's so true that there's no such thing as "free" healthcare!! We do just pay for it in taxes. It seems like people forget to look at the big picture when it comes to getting "free" things from the government. Just let me keep my taxes and buy my own healthcare please!

Anyone have any thoughts on what should be done for those who truly can't afford their own healthcare???

Anonymous said...

Free, Bible believing, church-operated clinics and health care centers would be a great place to start. And more health education given to those who can't afford healthcare... This wouldn't cover everyone, but perhaps it's a place to start!

Kacey said...

I agree Katie! I definitely think this falls under the church's God-given jurisdiction/responsibility, NOT the government's. Maybe if the church figured out how to accomplish this, the government would realize they didn't have to.

portorikan said...

education, education, education (which you hit on).

Health insurance, as what it has morphed into now, is a relatively new (based on the all knowledgable Wikipedia).

I think many People have gotten accustomed to the idea that it's cheap to go to the doctor. You $15 and you see your doctor and you're done. He tells you to get some rest and maybe you get a prescription.

Maybe if people were more accustomed to paying more up front for services and prescriptions, they would value it more. This is why I like having an HSA plan. It costs me something to go to the doctor (not that I like to go anyway though).

You pay up front for minor doctor visits, but you're still covered in the event of a catastrophic event. I believe this is how insurance for health originated.

This helps put the responsibility on the insured to take care of their health and think twice about going to the doctor for something as simple as just needing rest and some chicken soup.

I would say that there are people who would like health insurance but despite their willingness to pay will be denied coverage. I would think some sort of compromise would be worth looking at there.

I hope this all makes sense. Typing on a tiny keyboard.