Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Healthcare may be a right....

I dont get into a fundamental debate over health care reform in this country. I do however admit it is one of the most important debates about health care. Is it a right, and i tend to say yes. And heres why, everyone in this country has a right to health care. Thats why emergency rooms cannot turn you away.

The question though is a bit of a paper moon. Its not really asked to have a real answer, its asked to prove that your an uncaring bigot. I personally hate loaded questions.

So much has been written and analyzed about Health Care that its almost like im screaming into the 'Echo Chamber' of the blogosphere, but this has been bugging me and i feel like i need to get it off my chest somehow.

I first started to make this comparison in June, when i asked why Healthcare was still so tied to employment. health insurance and car insurance have many similarities but also some important differences.

Take for example:
Car insurance protects you from massive costs incured when you get in a car accident
Health Insurance protects you from massive costs incured if/when you get injured.

However, theres an important distinction to make here. many people use health insurance for what most car owners would call 'routine maintaince'. I dont file a claim with my car insurance company because i needed to get a tune up, just like i think its a little insane to use my health insurance to get a yearly checkup.

Also important to remember is the way we buy each
Car Insurance is bought on a family by family basis tailored to meet individual needs
Health Insurance is bought on a bulk scale by employers and is one-size-fits-all type care (with some exceptions, but for the sake of argument roll with me)

to me this seems a little backwards. Car insurance at its root is to protect from accidents. Roadside assistance is why Triple-A exists. But in many ways, your ability to shop around for the best services for the lowest price has helped keep the price of car insurance relatively low. The exact opposite is the case with health insurance. Since much of the Insurance market is taken up by employers, companies have little reason to help market to individual buyers and when they do, they have little reason to give you a good price. This is inflated by a stupid federal provision not allowing insurance to be bought across state lines (although this does help keep healthcare prices even with cost of living in various states).

Now here is where my liberal friends tend to argue with me. Liberal would say "but Skip, the government mandates that you buy car insurance, why not the same with health insurance?" Now this is a valid point, however it misses one crucial issue.

Car Insurance : Involves other people
Health Insurance: Between you and your doctor

Let me put it another way. The state requires you have car insurance, not really for you though. They want you to have insurance so when your distracted while driving and ram into the car in front of you or run that red light/stop sign you have at least a little bit of coverage so they get something before you declare bankrupcy. So in otherwords, when you buy the state minimum of car insurance your not really buying it for you, your buying it for other people.

Health insurance on the other hand is alot more personal. If i get cancer without insurance and take no government aid, thats my choice and it doesnt really affect anyone else (except emotionally).

The difference is really in application. Yes healthcare in this country is a right, and as i said thats why the hospital cant deny you care. But there's something fishy about individual mandates in health care. And government run options just scare me into the government regulating things that might possibly be unhealthy. Theres something profoundly wrong with our current system, but congress wont solve it. It will take some personal responsibility and a little bit of courage to change the current system.

But since that wont happen................

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