I, as I suspect most Americans out there, have been hearing about the ongoing healthcare debate taking place currently on Capitol Hill. I’ve made no secret that I am not a fan of the current administration. I’m not a fan of the previous one either, so let’s not get any ideas. Regardless, I do have my opinions which (not shocking) do not jive with either of the propositions. And since nobody asked me them, I’m about to give them to you.
I’ve been listening to my peers argue about not wanting socialized healthcare, that we don’t want our hospitals run like the DMV, or that death squads (and I really laughed out loud, snorting and all, at this one) will be deciding who lives and who doesn’t.
One the other side, I heard about how the social healthcare works in other “advanced” countries, why not here? Let me stick to that point for a moment. Japan has a national healthcare system, one that covers approximately one-hundred and twenty seven million Japanese citizens. An article from NPR discusses just how cheap the health care is. “Perhaps too cheap” reports the article, stating that Doctor’s incomes are extremely low. I already see a problem with this. A problem that we, here in the states, are starting to suffer from. All the smart people are no longer becoming Doctors. And I don’t know about you, but I want my physicians to be as smart as, well, a doctor!
Never mind that for now. Another issue in Japan is that, while the national healthcare program started as a cover all – for everything, it is no longer the case. Over the last years, the co-payments and deductibles have increased, first by 10%, then to 20% and are currently at 30% patient responsibility. This means that in order to have full coverage in Japan, you have to carry two insurances, a GAP insurance if you will. So, they are partially back on private insurance, while their government tries to reel back in the ballooning costs of their healthcare program. And that with 127mil people! We have more than double the amount of bodies here. And don’t get me started on the weight and general health differences.
I don’t disagree with some government interference here though. Some. The pre-existing condition thing has got to go. That is retarded. And if you are offended because you think that the word retarded is insensitive because of those people that are in fact born with brain damage, well, I got news for you. The pre-existing condition thing is retarded.
However, we are a capitalist nation still, last time I checked. Forbid the insurance companies from setting negotiated rates with doctors. Let the doctor or hospital set his pricing according to what they see fit. The market will determine the value of the service, and people will go to whichever provider has mentioned best value. Abolish the referral system, so we can see whatever doctor we feel comfortable with. Let American’s get the insurance plan we want, at an affordable price. Not those ridiculous self-pay rates. Make it mandatory for citizens and residents to have healthcare. It seems to work just fine with auto insurance. Competitive rates, no in-network car mechanic nonsense. Grant us discounts for being healthy, and engaging in healthy activities. Slap us on the wrist for smoking (I’m getting slapped), and for letting our cholesterol shoot through the roof. Prevent as much as we can. Money is a great motivator, and as such we should leverage it properly.
Oh, and we should really reform the DMV. Everyone seems to already know it sucks.
Did I miss anything? Or am I totally wrong here? Let me know.