25 Nov 2009

Poll Results -- US Healthcare

Hey! There's a new poll (Family!) on the right --->
The US Healthcare System...

...needs more government involvement
...needs less government involvement
...is just fine
...is beyond my comprehension
...is what? I'm not American (but wish I had your healthcare system)
...is what? I'm not American (and I'm glad I don't have your system)

If there's one key result here, it's that people are confused. Note that a LOT of people may like it that way -- since confused people can be told what's "good" for them...

In this situation, I think it would be helpful to understand what's going on before we run around trying to "fix" it. As I explained here, I think the biggest problem is that we (consumers of health care) are not in charge of our decisions on doctors (our insurance company often decides who can be our doctor) or insurers (our work decides that). For me, the big one is getting work out of the equation -- we should buy our own insurance. After that step, our doctor choices will be much clearer.

Bottom Line You can't fix what you don't understand.


  1. Bottom Line You can't fix what you don't understand.

    ditto climate

  2. I don't get how choosing your doctor makes a bit of difference? Luckily, my naturopath is on my plan, but I would pay to see her for the yearly check up visits mandated by the school system for the kid anyway - small beans. When I really need health insurance (kid breaks arm) we go to whichever hospital we want, then whatever orthopedic specialist we want and they all charge $400 for a splint (a bit of plaster and gauze - next time I'm bringing my own materials and just paying for their expertise and some xrays). Well, I should say sorta need insurance - kid break arm cost me about $700 and health insurance about $700, I had paid way more than that that year for the insurance. So far I'd be way ahead without it, but the fear...
    Explain to me how if it is all about choice, my employer chosen health care 15 years had no direct deduction from my paycheck, no deductible, and $5 copays for everything. Now my portion is a paycheck deduction of almost $100/month just for myself, a $750 deductible, and copays of $30 on up depending on service. Maybe just a cheaper employer, but this seems to be the trend.
    I'm not saying I don't see the merit of your idea to mandate coverage and divorce it from work (though there are times I would have found that a real financial hardship. I can not own a car to avoid car insurance - can't ditch my body...would prefer to eat healthy and not have insurance if I'm that poor again) But I don't see the power of choice helping everyone. Car insurance doesn't seem a perfect system to me either, and poor people can avoid it, as I do, by not owning a car.

  3. When a majority of Americans are asking for something that doesn't jive with your perspective, you paint them ignorant/kept in the dark?

    Perhaps it's true. Or, perhaps we've looked at most every other developed nation's health care and government involvement, and we've decided that we don't want to pay twice as much to provide for a far smaller percentage.

  4. @Anon -- agreed. That's why I am against geoengineering and favor a carbon tax (AFTER ending subsidies) as the least worst reaction...

    @Michelle -- your employer is just passing along cost increases that result from $5 copays :) Doctor choice is part of quality control that consumers -- not employers -- will drive.

    @Josh -- not true. We "asked" for war with Iraq and that was a mistake driven by poor information/lies. I am happy for them to choose WHEN they know what's up... I AGREE that our system is broken; my "solution" is probably to leave the country for a better-managed one.

  5. I don't think you know about the reasons the majority want more government involvement in health care, and I don't, either. But, I don't think one should automatically paint opposing views as ignorant/mislead so quickly, especially when there exists options in the world with more government intervention.

    Also, if your solution is to leave for a better managed one, where will you find one that is better managed and with less government involvement in health care?

  6. I can't agree with DZ - buying your own insurance doesn't help (go try to do that on your own, I dare you). Doctor choice would be nice but isn't really a major factor in the current mess. Bottom line: there are bad incentives all through the system, but most especially in the insurance racket. Real reform has to get the interests of patients, providers, and payers more closely aligned.


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