The Healthcare Conundrum

The Healthcare Conundrum

By: Mark

 

We as a people need to return to the foundational belief and commitmentthat we are designed to be responsible for ourselvesbefore God. We need to, and we should, "work" to support ourselves. It is a fallacious concept that "the government shouldtake care of us." Over time, it has never worked for people to live off the “dole;” ultimately it results in chaos, resentment, and conflict, such as we see in our society today.

 

Our“Government,” is simply a group of elected officials, just people like you and me; these people, however,make their living by legislating how we live our lives. If we would each take far more responsibility for ourselves and our own wellbeing, we could quickly reduce the size and cost of the “Government" and yet, still seek out and elect “the brightest and best” to limited positions of responsibility and authority. Our‘elected representatives” are paid to "counsel" us as a people and as a nation on ways we can best invest ourselves to grow our nation, and care for those "who cannot care for themselves:" not determine new and more ways on how "to care for those who will not care for themselves."

 

It is interesting that the Democratic Representatives currently in office are managing to stand together on opposing the Republican Representatives' efforts to get a Health Care Bill approved. They seem to take the position that they have no responsibility to address the issue of the broken healthcare system, while the Republican Representatives, although a numerical majority, are still unable to gain a consensus on a bill that they believe will address at least the most egregious issues of the healthcare problem, and then work on refining the laws.Perhaps this is a strong argument against having a partisan party system.

 

Are our collective and currently elected representatives really that dysfunctional? I think the answer is "yes" on both sides of the Republican/Democrat party system. The Republicans can't get it together, and the Democrats sit idly by watching, and complaining, while the majority of the American People clearly call for "change." All the members of the Congress and Senate should be working together to create a system that equitably, appropriately,and reasonably distributes the responsibility and cost of healthcare.

 

What if there were no "insurance" companies and we each just had to save money to pay for our own healthcare like we have to earn money for and save to provide for the other areas of our lives, like food, clothing, transportation, and shelter? This is too simple to be believed. We could do this and still be able to share money with those who could not care for themselves; we should remember, it is not only “more blessed to give than receive,” but it is also easier.If we did this, we would clearly become fully and immediately engaged in keeping ourselves as healthy as possible, and not just figure, “if we get sick, we will just go to the doctor and file for insurance to pay for it.” We actually pay for it now.

 

Sit down and put a pencil to what is paid out for healthcare in your regular paycheck versus what you actually receive in terms of benefits. The “cost” is the equivalent of the amount listed on your check as your “insurance premium,” plus whatever your company contributes to the cost to have you insured, plus any deductible and or copay amounts you incur due to use of insurance coverage throughout the year. It is likely you will see that the cost,as previously defined, is generally far greater than the value of the benefit received, which is represented by the amount actually paid to the doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals.

If you received the actual money in your paycheck that your company pays out for insurance coverage, plus what you pay out in terms of premiums and copays plus annual deductibles, youcould very likely pay your medical bills and have money left over at the end of the year to begin saving for unexpected costs, as well as anticipated healthcare costs for next year, and then the next year, “ad infinitum.”

 

If you don't believe this, take a good look at the huge buildings and the number of personnel that are directly associated with "insurance" companies. Where do you think all the money comes from to pay for these buildings and people? It comes from you, you and your employers as well as the “government” pay out the revenues related to premiums collected by the insurance carriers. The money for the buildings and people come from money left after the insurance companies paytheir insurance claims. Many of the “insurance companies” are really just “TPAs or third party administrators” who only pay a claim if it is catastrophic and exceeds a predefined amount that the “company” sets as their “reinsurance” threshold to cover claims that are so outrageous they choose not to pay the claim themselves, when they are “self-insured.”The money for us to have good healthcare is already available, we just don't want to do what we each need to do to pay for it. We want to avoid any “risk” associated with our health, which is not really attainable in life as we know it, and we don’t want to be personally responsible to save money to pay for medical costs that may or may not occur.

 

If we really understood the concept of an “open competitive market,” we would immediately look at things like cell phones, televisions, and computers, and see how the “cost” of these items have gone radically and progressively down, and the quality related to them has gone progressively up, as “competition” goes up for the consumers’ dollar; but our trust or belief system falls apart when we think about applying the same vector forces of “open market competition” to healthcare; we cease to believe what we see to intrinsically be true.

 

Belief in the requirement or “right” to have “insurance” is driven by a paradigm of “fear” nourished by a system developed to make money on “insurance.” The market will always adjust to the “environment” in which it exists. Businesses, including healthcare related businesses, like hospitals, and medical care providers, will posture to “make money,” no matter what the structure of the business environment. We just need to seriously consider changing the status quo of the current business environment, within which the insurance industry exists and thrives.

 

Wouldn’t it be novel if the money currently going to the huge insurance conglomerates was transitioned to money seen in your regular paycheck. Given you handled the money responsibly, you could then pay healthcare costs in cash as they occur; resulting in lower medical costs from physicians and hospitals. When people become personally responsible for their healthcare and the related costs thereof and not just “risk avoidance” through the belief in “insurance” we will see dramatic changes in the healthcare industry. That is right folks, healthcare is a business, not a charitable endeavor, for the most part.

 

Competition for revenue institutes the drive to make a “profit” and not a “killing,” resulting inlowering the cost of service to obtain a larger market share and increased revenues. That is how an open marketsystem with active competition for customer revenue works to reduce the cost of healthcare.

 

We need to repeal the “Affordable Care Act” that says we legally have to have insurance, and reactivate the law of “supply and demand” to bring down the cost of healthcare, and increase the quality of healthcare, while evaluating the benefit of the option of having the ability to “private pay” or pay for your own healthcare costs and benefits.

 

If you have legislated insurance coverage, but you are unable to use your coverage due to high premium costsand outrageous deductible amounts, your condition is actually worse than having no insurance at all. You are effectively being penalized for having something you cannot use. We deceive ourselves when we get excited about people gaining coverage to insuranceplans they cannot afford to use, and we are equally foolish when we get angry over people “losing” coverage that they cannot afford to use.There is no value in having something you cannot use. We are better off if we learn to live within our means – pay as you go for your healthcare, and possibly set up a system to have catastrophic event coverage, like businesses do to manage their healthcare related costs.

 

There is no quick and easy solution, because ultimately, healthcare is not free, we just need to relearn the concept of being responsible for ourselves, and that “free is never really free,” someone, somewhere is paying the cost.