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Saturday, June 29. 2013
Health Insurance May Not Make Us Healthier
Why would it? Does fire insurance prevent fires? The main purpose of medical insurance is as bankruptcy insurance.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 16:31 | Comments (8) | Trackback (1)
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Insurance is to protect you from catastrophic economic losses from unpredictable events. So called health insurance is not insurance because insurance does not pay routine predictable expenses. Your automobile insurance does not pay for tuneups and oil changes.
Not only that, there is an unquestioning acceptance of the efficacy of modern medicine. Even though, I personally think that there is still a bit of shamanism and patent medicine in the mix, I don’t intend to diminish its achievements over the last decades, especially trauma medicine. When I was a kid there was 1 vaccine, a few effective antibiotics & topical antibiotics, a primitive insulin, digitalis, aspirin, opiates, and baking soda among others. When you were diagnosed with a terminal condition, there were not many viable treatments, let alone cures. Yet, there was no holocaust. That said, I think it is really easy to overlook a whole lot of other trends that enhanced longevity: the elimination of high risk agricultural and heavy manufacturing jobs, OSHA, car seats for children along with safer cars and safer roads, safer, and more abundant foods, cleaner water and air, the reduction of exposure to lead and asbestos, education, law and order……….
Ray writes, "insurance does not pay routine predictable expenses". Huh? Mine does. I have a co-pay, but my insurance pays the substantial portion of my routine medical expenses.
"Does fire insurance prevent fires?" No, but many policies offer discounts to those people/businesses who, say, install fire hydrants, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, etc. So there IS an incentive to protect against fire.
Insurance is the transfer of risk from one party to another in exchange for some form of payment. In the case of "health" insurance - which is more properly termed "medical care" insurance - the insured makes a payment to an insurance company that assumes the risk of paying for medical care that the insured uses. Depending on the level of risk that the insurance company assumes, the payment made by the insured may be higher or lower. In the case of "catastrophic" medical insurance, the idea is that the insured wants to avoid a catastrophic loss, but is willing to pay for "routine" expenses such as annual physical exams as well as small expenses, e.g. doctor visit for an earache. Because catastrophic events are relatively uncommon, the insurance company can charge a low fee to assume this risk. When many people purchase such catastrophic policies, this can be envisioned as spreading the risk among many people - although this is not the definition of insurance.
What we have with comprehensive coverage plans, such as ObamaCare, that provide payment for routine items that occur in virtually the entire population, e.g annual exams, birth control, etc., is not insurance, but wealth transfer. Indeed, that's the real goal behind ObamaCare - to transfer wealth from the maker class to the taker class. This benefits the Democrats because the theft of assets from a few makers goes to pay for benefits for many takers - the Dems lose a few maker votes in exchange for many taker votes.
But, back to the original point: "Health" insurance doesn't assure health. It simply assures payment for diagnosis and treatment for medical problems. Be definition, you use the insurance after your health has deteriorated. Even if we assume that these "health care" dollars will go to preventive care, it's not clear that preventive care - as proposed by programs like ObamaCare - actually works. My opinion is that when you give freebies to a class of people (the taker class), who by definition have demonstrated a lack of personal responsibility, you cannot assume that they will do their part of the prevention program that would produce positive results. Rather, by having others pay for their "insurance", they are given even more incentive to expect that their health is someone else's responsibility. This is a segment of our population who have failed essentially because of their inability (or refusal) to delay gratification - they lack the self-discipline (and now the incentive) to do the things that would improve their health. Instead, whatever they want (smoke, drink, eat crap, do drugs, etc.), they do - and then they expect others to pay for their selfish behaviors.
Screenings and diagnostic testing fall under the category of preventative care and have saved/prolonged thousands of lives. Having said this, I think Obamacare will be a disaster for all the reasons you've no doubt read over the years by those folks who have been fighting against it.
Thank you. And you are running for election where? I will move there ASAP to campaign and vote for you.
Please forward your message to all Congresspersons everywhere and to every blog within your capability. With your approval, I will forward your words to all I know.
So it might make sense for a health insurer to offer discounts for people whose healthcare purchasing patterns are associated with greater long-term health. If statistics showed that a variety of healthcare purchases like annual checkups and screening tests lowered long-term healthcare costs by nipping expensive conditions in the bud, health insurers might well offer discounts for them. Unfortunately, the statistics don't bear out the savings. Instead, bureaucrats decide that we'd all be better of doing these things, but there's no political appetite for forcing people to pay for the services themselves -- so politicians order health insurers to pay for them.
That's not insurance. That's subsidized healthcare.
Health insurance is a good thing so why make it mandatory? The answer is control. If a 20 something doesn't want health insurance then where will the money come from to pay for the free health care for the "free stuff" voters? So to buy votes health care must be mandatory and civil rights must be revoked.
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