Monday, July 27, 2009

health care (?) reform

well, as we are being told now, we're in the midst of health insurance reform, not health care reform. i guess our health care is good enough. it's the insurance that needs work.

i thought i would finally weigh in on the debate a little. by no means will this be an exhaustive evaluation; heck, i'm here with a glass of wine with cnbc on in the background. not exactly the setting for changing national policy, i'm sure.

as a reference, here's a link to a detailed summary of the house bill which has been proposed. since this thing is already out there, i guess a few comments about it would be in order.

problem 1
one proposal i find very unamerican is the 2.5% tax added (see section 401) if you refuse to sign up for any insurance. now, in the spirit of full disclosure, i actually thought this idea should be considered several years ago but have since changed my mind. i haven't done any significant research into this yet but can you think of any other tax that you have to pay just for being alive? people compare this to car insurance which is also mandatory but plenty of people opt out of car insurance by not owning or driving a car. you can opt out of property tax by renting. you can opt out of sales taxes by not buying stuff (or not buying as much). you can opt out of just about any tax currently out there one way or another (may not necessarily be the most feasible option in the world but possible) but you can't opt out of this health insurance tax unless you die! THAT is unamerican. next thing you know, i'm gonna have to pay tax for breathing. oh wait, that's probably gonna happen soon too.

problem 2
before i go on, i have to reference an npr story that aired a couple of weeks ago. you can read the transcript here and here is a link to an explanation of the story. you should read some of the comments in the original article. pretty funny stuff. some guy even posted a link to i think a washington post article (okay, can't help myself, click here) this same chick did about buying the right mattress. hard hitting stuff april fulton has been working on. anyway, the npr article was one of the most grossly biased and misleading things i have ever heard on the air. now that's saying something, even for npr! you hear this business about the public plan option and the reason for its being to keep private companies honest. the administration has even said it. for people who honestly believe this, i would encourage you to think about it further. let's take the example of private versus public primary/mid/high schools and use this as a substitute in the npr piece. do you see a large population of private schools who are "nervous" about public schools because "people really like it" and it offers such a value? are private schools drastically slashing their prices to "attract customers back" because the public schools are stealing all the students away? that is ridiculous. in the same way, don't expect the public plan option to all of a sudden make private insurance plans so much better. you know what? if there are unscrupulous activities going on in private insurance (which is definitely the case for patients AND for physicians) then fix those problems. don't expect a public plan to do it for you.

there are many more things to discuss. more later.

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