Saturday, September 19, 2009

Whether You Like Your Insurance or Not, You Still Need Health Care Reform

Think Progress has a list of conditions/medications and occupations considered uninsurable by certain health insurance companies. I have no beef with my current insurance company, but then again two of the medications I take daily are on that list. What would happen to me if I lost my job? Would I be uninsurable? Or would it simply mean that I would be insurable at higher rates that I can no longer afford to pay? In my case, I can always go back to the country where I was born and grew up, and get needed health care there. But do you have the same opportunity that I have?

Folks, listen: this is no joke. Health care reform which includes strict health insurance reform is a must, not an option.

Insurance is fine for things that do not happen every year, and that do not happen to everyone in a lifetime. We carry car insurance under the assumption that many people will never have an accident in their life, or that they will have one only every several years. We carry homeowners insurance against the very unlikely event that or that our house or our belongings will suffer damage. We insure our valuables against the infrequent possibility that they will be stolen. Those are all valid uses of insurance.

But health insurance? Everyone gets sick, every year, sometimes tragically. Each one of us can be counted to need surgery several times in our lifetime, or medication, doctor visits, and specialist care a few times a year. Now, there is a place even for health insurance but in a heavily-regulated market, where costs are contained within pre-set limits and where profits are not boundless for insurers and shareholders (and shareholders are at the heart of the problem); where no one is denied coverage for any reason, and where annual costs cannot exceed a fairly stingy cap; where everybody participates in the system because the risks are high and need to be spread across the entire population. We don't have such a system, and--regrettably--we are the only ones in rich countries who do not.

So stop protesting about slippery slopes, socialists takeovers, and death panels. Especially, stop decrying the loss of freedom: The only freedom you have now is to get sick, to be jettisoned, and to go bankrupt or die when your insurer decides your time has come.

We do not have the time for your antics. Please, climb aboard the reform train, before it leaves the station.


John Stockwell said...

The point you are raising is the basic fact that health insurance isn't really insurance.

Think of it this way. You are shipping cargo from port A to port B. An insurer accepts the risk of getting from port A to port B for a reasonable fee. That fee is based on the nature and value of the cargo, the condition and track record of the shipping
company, and the safety of the waters.
It doesn't really influence
other people if some ships go uninsured.
And finally, nobody really makes money when a claim is paid.

When we look at health insurance, we find that port A is today, and port B
is at the bottom of the ocean, everybody thinks that their cargo is priceless, and all of the ships are leaky and get leakier by the day, and uninsured ships wind up raising the cost of insurance too. And finally, the shipping company only makes money when the cargo suffers damage.

Sirfab said...

John, thank you for a clear, concise, perfect explanation of the difference between health care insurance and other sectors in which insurance works.

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