Who Should Pay For Our Health Care?

The debate goes on, should the government be responsible for providing our health care?

There are many arguments for and against national healthcare.

At one time, everyone was responsible for their own health, there was no insurance. In that day and age, medical care was a lot less expensive than it is today, even taking into account the rate of inflation over the years.

The rise in cost has in part is because of all the new technology available today, but to a large degree, the rising cost is due to increased demand.

Because of the change in our national mentality, in a large part due to negotiated union contracts, everyone thinks their health care is free. Most have come to believe it is a right, a right no one pays for.

I’m a firm believer that affordable healthcare should be available to everyone.

However, because of the present system, very few people realize the cost of health care, and because it is presumably free to them, they go to the doctor for every little sniffle they get. Many visits are unnecessary and costly. People go to the emergency room for a skinned knee, or a splinter in their hand, these emergencies could be taken care of at home.

It has become “fashionable” to go to the emergency room.

Health insurance should be paid for by the individual. If each individual was responsible for their healthcare, they would become more knowledgeable on what “works” and what doesn’t.

Most companies that provide health insurance allocate a certain amount of wages for the payment of benefits including health insurance, whether they tell the employee or not.

The individual employee should be made aware of this, that money should be allocated to the individual so they can purchase their health care on an individual basis.

Thereby eliminating any corporate influence the company could exert on the insurance company, and it would open the insurance industry to more competition, that is always a good thing.

That would enable the individual to have more control over his health care and ensure his right to have or not have insurance.

In some cases, when both spouses work and are covered by their individual company insurance, both companies are providing and paying for health insurance and only one health plan is needed.

Therefore, money is wasted by the couple because they don’t use the insurance provided by one company. If the money was allocated to the employee, he or she could decide how to best use the money in a way that would benefit the couple instead of the money being flushed down the drain.

It would make the individual more responsible for his own health and welfare, and it would be his choice to have or not have health care.

If he chooses not to have health insurance, then he would be responsible for any charges incurred, and pay the consequences for not having insurance.

By cutting down on the demand by eliminating people going to a doctor or emergency room unless necessary, then the cost would naturally come down, and people would find the alternative, less expensive, better forms of treatment.

Of course, there will always be an element of society who are unable to care for themselves and they should be provided for, but there are far too many people abusing the system.

The only way to prevent that is for people to be in charge of their own health. Regardless of what you believe, no one, including the government will look after you like you will.

This is America, our country was founded on the idea of the individual being able to make his or her own choices concerning how to run their lives, it’s time we returned to those ideals and get government out of life management.

The Increasing Surge of Health Care

While sitting back in her blue jeans and wearing a heavy workout sweater at the Legacy Emanuel Hospital’s Emergency room, Angela Jones has her feet prompted up and crossed atop of a small table. When asked about health care issues and how they affect her, Angela explains that there is a portion of people who suffer from not having health care insurance. She makes it clear that some of those who suffer most are young people. Jones, who is a college student, declared her passion for the young because it falls under her own age group.

Says Jones, “The Oregon Health Plan should be open to more people who are under 21 years old. Private insurance shouldn’t be so expensive for young people.”

According to national surveys, the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage. Notwithstanding, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of the uninsured reported changing their way of life significantly in order to pay medical bills. Economists have discovered that increasing health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage.

Jones believes that some of the greatest challenges that people face across this nation is obtaining affordable health care. “I would open an Oregon Health Plan to a variety of people who don’t have insurance. It is hard to get health insurance.”

Terri Heer, a registered nurse at a local hospital, claims that in order to improve America’s health care system a key ingredient is to “make sure that everyone (has) access.”

This would include cutting out on expenses that are not palpable to so called “health care needs”. Heer says, “First, we spend a lot of money servicing people for illnesses that can be prevented. Some of the money spent can go to other things.”

Over the long haul, should the nations health care system undergo significant changes, the typical patient may not necessarily see the improvements firsthand. “I would love to say there will be a lot of changes. I am not a pessimist, but I don’t think there will be any change,” says Heer. Heer does allude to the fact that if more money were spent for people in the health care arena, she says that there is a possibility that the necessary changes would be more evident.

Whether health care is affordable or not is an issue that affects everyone. According to a recent study last year, health care spending in the United States reached $2.3 trillion, and is projected to reach $3 trillion by 2011. By 2016, it is projected to reach $4.2 trillion. Although it is estimated that nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured, the U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation.

The rising tide of health care stems from several factors that has an affect on us all. First, there is an intensity of services in the U.S. health care system that has undergone a dramatic change when you consider that people are living longer coupled with greater chronic illnesses.

Secondly, prescription drugs and technology have gone through significant changes. The fact that major drugs and technological advancement has been a contributing factor for the increase in health care spending. Some analysts suggest that the improvement of state-of-art technologies and drugs increase health care spending. This increase not only attributes to the high-tech inventions, but also because consumer demand for these products has gone through the roof, so to speak.

Thirdly, there is an aging of the population. Since the baby boomers have reached their middle years, there is a tremendous need to take care of them. This trend will continue as baby boomers will qualify for more Medicare in 2011.

Lastly, there is the factor of administrative costs. Some would argue that the private sector plays a critical role in the rise of health care costs and the economic increase they produce in overhead costs. At the same time, 7 percent of health care expenses are a result of administrative costs. This would include aspects of billing and marketing.

Terra Lincoln is a woman who was found waiting in the Emergency room at the Providence Portland Medical Center. When asked about the rising costs of health care, she said, “If you don’t have medical coverage, it’ll cost you too much money. If I leave the hospital right now and I need to buy two (types) of medicines, I couldn’t afford it.” Lincoln says that she is a member of the OHP, but she believes that there are still issues that need to be addressed.

Terra recognizes that to reduce medical costs, she would have to start by getting regular checkups. “Sometimes people of color wait till they’re in pain before they get a checkup,” she said.

A national survey shows that the primary reason why people cannot afford health care is because of soaring costs of health care coverage. In a recent Wall-Street Journal-NBC survey it is reported that 50% of the American public claims that their highest and most significant economic concern is health care. Consequently, the rising cost of health care is the number one concern for Democratic voters.

Regarding the rising tide of health care, Kristin Venderbush, a native Wisconsin, and another patient in emergency at Providence says, “I worry a lot about what happens to the working poor. They don’t have OHP. If you can’t advocate for yourself, you will not get the health care you need…on every level.”

Harvard University researchers conducted a recent study that discovered that the out-of-pocket medical debt for an average consumer who filed bankruptcy was $12,000. This study noted that 68 percent of those who had filed for bankruptcy carried health insurance. Apparently, these bankruptcy’s were results from medical expenses. It was also noted in this study that every 30 seconds someone files for bankruptcy after they have had some type of serious health problem.

In spite of all the social and economic bureaucracy in the health care arena, some changes were made in Washington on January 28, 2008. In his State of the Union address, President Bush made inquired Congress to eliminate the unfair bias of the tax code against people who do not get their health care from their employer. Millions would then have more options that were not previously available and health care would be more accessible for people who could not afford it.

Consequently, the President believes that the Federal government can make health care more affordable and available for those who need it most. Some sources suggest that the President not only wants health care to be available for people, but also for patients and their private physicians so that they will be free to make choices as well. One of the main purposes for the health care agenda is to insure that consumers will not only have the freedom to make choices, but to also enable those to make decisions that will best meet their health care needs.

Kerry Weems, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, oversees the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP. This is a critical program because it pays for the health care of more than six and a half million children who come from homes that cannot afford adequate health insurance. These homes exceed the pay scale for Medicaid programs, therefore are not able to participate.

During SCHIP’s ten year span, states have used the program to assist families with low-income and uninsured children for their sense of well-being in the health care arena. The Bush Administration believes that states should do more of an effort to provide for the neediest children and enable them to get insurance immediately. The SCHIP was originally intended to cover children who had family incomes ranging from $20,650. This amount would typically include a family of four. According to sources, all states throughout the U.S. have SCHIP programs in place and just over six million children are served.

Children and Health Care

Washington’s Perspective

What is driving health care costs?

The fact that the U.S. faces ever increasing health care woes, has left many to believe that the country’s current crisis is on a lock-step path toward insolvability.

Health Care Vs Health Insurance

I’ll be blunt and get right to the three points of this article.
Point 1. Health care and health insurance should be separated.
Point 2. If it weren’t for the fact that health insurance has come to mean health care for most Americans there would be no health care reform.
Point 3. The only way to fix America’s health care once and for all is to bifurcate health care and health insurance as they should be.

I’ll also give you three reasons why I say this so if you choose you can go to other articles and not bother with reading this further.
Reason 1. Because health care is now paid for by a third party health insurance premiums have increased over 100% since 2004.
Reason 2. On average over 60% of every health care dollar is wasted in the health insurance claims process.
Reason 3. Because of the health insurance/health care connection Americans are being robbed of their most precious birthright – their health.

By means of government and health insurance company propaganda health care has been synonymous with health insurance since most of us can remember. At some point who among us hasn’t thought we needed a job with “benefits,” or maybe better benefits, so we could go to the doctor. We have been brainwashed by a system that profits monstrously from our lack of knowledge or apathy – whichever the individual case may be. We have been taught from our first paycheck that health insurance is the be-all-end-all when it’s time to take the kids to the doctor for a runny nose.

That is confirmed within days when we get bill from the doctor’s office that says that the cost for that visit was $225.00.

The system is rigged and it’s rigged so that each and every American thinks that someone else should pay for their health care. More on that later.

Health care should be separated from health insurance like car care is separated from car insurance. When it’s time for an oils change do you reach in your pocket for your car insurance card to pay for it? “Of course not.” you say, “That would be ridiculous.”

I ask you now to stop for a second and think why that would be a bad idea.

In case you don’t know, let me give you a little primer on insurance. Insurance premiums are based on, among other things, claims – both the number and the amount of the claims. The individual states Department of Insurance ride herd over insurance companies to see that the amount paid out in claims is in proportion to the amount collected in premiums. So an insurance company doesn’t get a rate increase unless they have the claims to substantiate the increase. (That, by the way, is the one good service that the departments of insurance serve, since as individuals we don’t have the time nor the inclination nor the resources to look all of that information up.)

So let’s now go back to the oil change scenario and look at it again. Instead of the one, two or three claims that you may file in a lifetime on your car insurance, you now find yourself filing a claim every three months or 10,000 miles. What would you expect your premiums to be like? How much would they increase? Also take this into consideration; your local mechanic or oil change service would have to wait 90 to 120 days to get paid for their money for the oil change. Plus there would be layer upon layer of paperwork to file the claim. The fact is, that if car insurance was like health insurance, your local oil jockey would have to hire an entire billing department just to file the correct forms with the correct codes – not once – but maybe as many three or four times.

Do you think the oil change would still be $35.00 at your local Spiffy Lube would still be $35.00 or with the added payers of paperwork and personnel would the cost go up?

The average face time with a medical doctor in the United States in now less than 10 minutes. The average amount of office labor involved in collecting the money for that 10 minute visit is upwards of three hours. How much is that costing you? Since there are no statistics kept on this let me do the simple math for you here. Billing and coding personnel make an average of $15.00 an hour. That could mean as much as $45.00 of your health care dollar goes toward processing your claim… and that is just at the doctor’s office. To be fair it is probably close to $30.00 on average but that is still a mighty large chunk of money.

It is even larger when you look at what the doctor gets paid. (I told you earlier we would get back to this.) Don’t look at what the doctor bills, Look instead at your EOB, Explanation of Benefits that comes in a few months down the road. Don’t get caught up in the coding and insurance gibberish but instead look good and hard at the amount that was paid to the doctor. In many cases it will be something around $50.00, up to very rarely, $100.00.

So the doctor paid out $30.00 to $45.00 to collect $50.00. Does that sound right or even smart?

Then there are the processing costs added on at claims departments at the insurance companies. Most companies have at least two tiers of bureaucracy to look at every claim. The highest cost of any division at the large health insurance companies – right after management – is the claims department.

The new health care reform law (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act )has added no less than 159 new programs, agencies and departments in between your visits and your doctor getting paid. Anyone out there really think all of those programs will save your health care dollars for health?