Op-Ed Columnist – Health Care Realities – NYTimes.com


Okay, so. There’s this word we keep using around health care: “insurance.” It’s intrinsic to all discussions about health care. But to me, it’s inaccurate, and it’s inaccuracy is part of the problem.

Think of other types of insurance: auto insurance, home insurance, hurricane insurance, flood insurance. The economic model for these insurance types is clear: everyone pays a small amount of money, so that the few people who need to use the insurance can be paid. It’s clear how the finances work: lots of small payments, few big payments.

This is manifestly not the case with health insurance. We’re all going to get sick. We’re all going to need medical care. We should all be going to the doctor regularly. So, then, how is health “insurance” supposed to work? We all pay a small amount of money and we all get a large amount of bills paid throughout our lives? It’s obviously not possible. The best we can hope for is economic smoothing – we all pay a fixed, constant amount. It’s not insurance, it’s financial planning.

There is a difference between health “insurance” and health “care.” What we need is health care.

Rick…imagine the cost of home insurance if we mandated through the federal government that home insurers paid for new lightbulbs, new paint (including the painters), clorox, swiffers, etc.?

The Industry has done a remarkable job convincing the American public that health insurance = health care. This is far from the truth. I think that, if these reforms pass, and it’s looking more and more likely they will, we’ll see costs increase even further because these “reformations” require health “insurers” to cover the tiniest of things.

Mandating health care is far, far, far more expensive than mandating health insurance. The feds are mandating that you pay for micro-management, not financial planning. Which one would you rather pay for?

And, again, it doesn’t matter who pays as long as the incentives are aligned to practice quantity medicine. Unfortunately, the Insurance Industry won. They gave all their money to the Democrats (blogged about over a year ago) with hopes that they will mandate their “product” so they can milk the American public dry until, in 7 years, the average cost of health “insurance” will be 40% of your pre-tax income. At which point, the execs will fly to DC in their corporate jets begging for a bail out due to consumer revolt. This will be the largest federally-sanctioned handout to private industry in the history of our country.

Op-Ed Columnist – Health Care Realities – NYTimes.com