• My Thoughts on the American Health Care Problem

    I have pretty strong beliefs about personal responsibility when it comes to health. As written, I don’t support Obamacare. It is program designed to make us more dependent on the government. When it comes to politics, I believe in less government, more personal freedom and responsibility, and that my money should be my money. I think most government and employer-provided health insurance should be eliminated and individuals should buy their own health insurance if they want it.

    Stethoscope and piggy Bank by 401(K) 2013 from Flickr
    Stethoscope and piggy Bank by 401(K) 2013 from Flickr

    Here’s how health insurance works – when you buy an individual plan, the insurance company hopes that the amount they spend on your medical care will be less than what you pay into the plan. When you’re in a group plan (like through your employer) they hope the amount they spend on the group will be less than what the employers and employees pay into the plan. If you connect the dots, you’ll see that a group plan favors the sick and irresponsible because they pay less than what they’d pay for an individual plan and the insurance company can use the funds from the healthy people who don’t need much health care to offset the cost of paying for them.

    I’m an entrepreneur. I pay for my own health insurance. I don’t want to pay for yours. Unfortunately, thanks to Obamacare, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

    I’m a huge proponent of personal responsibility and taking responsibility for your actions. Since started to have employer and government-provided health insurance, I wonder if it’s led people to think that they can neglect their health because someone else will be picking up the tab. I wonder if people would change their habits if they had to directly endure the financial consequences for their bad health.

    I think health insurance should be more like car insurance. If you always have to pay for it, you’ll budget for it in the present and the future. If we each had our own health insurance plans, we wouldn’t worry as much about losing our coverage if we lose our jobs or retire. If people planned for their financial future, maybe we wouldn’t need Medicare anymore. Additionally, health insurance companies would have to compete more for your business and might offer lower priced plans.

    There is an argument that if everyone had to buy their own health insurance that the price would get so high that only a few could afford it. That could happen, but I suspect someone will find a way to offer a lower priced program and make more money by making less money per plan but selling more plans overall.

    If health insurance was more like car insurance, your rate would be based on your habits and past behavior. This would encourage more people to be responsible for their health. If you want your car insurance rate to go down, you have to be a better driver. Likewise, if you want your health insurance rate to go down, you need to take better care of yourself.

    I wonder if this country would have fewer health problems if we never had employer or government provided health insurance. The responsibility for one’s health would be on the person. If they wanted to be unhealthy – that’s their choice, but they’d also be responsible for the physical and financial consequences. And if a person chose not to get health insurance, that’s their prerogative. They can pay cash.

    My idea comes with one exception: health benefits for the military. Our servicemen and women served our country and got many of their health problems from their service. We have an obligation to take care of them.

    I know my idea has flaws. If we implemented my idea now there would be a significant portion of the population that couldn’t or wouldn’t get their own insurance and will use ERs for medical care. My plan also requires providing more education about maintaining your health – but if someone chooses not to apply the lessons to their life, that’s their problem.  The most we could hope for is some people will see people not make changes and make the personal choice to not repeat their mistakes.

    I know I’m in the minority on this issue and it’s ok if you disagree with me. Feel free to share your views as a comment.

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