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Healthcare reform . . . An important distinction.

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An Important Distinction 

Whether it’s to cover the heavy costs of rebuilding your home after a calamitous event or a backup quarterback, “insurance” is something you acquire in the hope you will not need it. It is nothing akin to an investment, which earns a return over the principle on the sum invested.

 

The current healthcare scheme in America — reliance on private, for-profit insurance — is an absolute dysfunctional scheme at best, if business model cost/benefits analysis define efficacy. For both gross and per capita, the United States spends not just a little more than any other country’s system, we spend twice as much; again, even on a per capita basis.

 

Yet, if longevity, if miscarriage, if infant birth weight and mortality, if survival rates for birthing mothers, if morbidity (disease rates), if any quantifiable standard is measured, the United States doesn’t reach above 41st among the family of nations, according to World Health Organization and our own Health & Human Services data.

 

In other words, the health care system in the US is a disaster! We pay way too much, and get very little in return. This is opinion, yes. But it’s opinion backed by solid facts that no one can contest successfully.

 

And it’s going to remain that way, so long as health “insurance” remains as private, for profit. Because no private, for profit company can earn a profit by covering those either prone to heavy claims, or presently are in a physical circumstance that will require heavy financial outlays.

 

As illustration, let’s make it personal, please. Let’s say your brother has diabetes or cancer right NOW. Would YOU agree to pay the costs, from your own resources, of whatever the prescribed therapies may be, or how high the costs might reach? Remember, many therapies extend into and beyond a million dollars. Let’s say you don’t have that million dollars, would you deplete absolutely whatever resources you have, in the effort; your savings, your home, your vehicle(s), your furniture, your 100% everything?  

 

Neither can any for-profit insurance company.

 

So, “insurance” is not what anyone is talking about, regardless that they may use the term, unless if the intention is to retain linkage with a for-profit private entity, which no for-profit entity could entertain.  By definition, private, for-profit insurance has to cherry-pick from among those it will and will not cover. Get it out of your head, that the alternative options most frequently under discussion might be “insurance.” It is not “insurance.” What it is, is some form of alternative to our present healthcare delivery system.

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As to the Republican candidates for the presidency . . .  If Mitt Romney truly gave a damn about it, he’d have seen to it that everyone employed by Staples Office Supplies, Sports Authority, Domino’s, and Sealy Corporation, firms he either bought or invested heavily in, had health insurance. They don’t.

 

Senator McCain’s solution to the mess is to increase the number of private companies the un- and underinsured can choose from. Like, which company I can’t afford will I now decide not to be insured by. His confected mantra opposing any government intrusion has been that your healthcare decisions should be between you and your doctor, and not involve some government bureaucrat. That might be “straight-talking” enough if he also acknowledged that today, under the private, for-profit scheme, your healthcare decisions involve you, your doctor, and some insurance clerk working in an insurance company cubicle; working to veto you and your doctor’s decisions whenever possible. (And whose progress up the corporate ladder is in large measure determined by how much that clerk saved the company via his-her contrary decisions!) 

 

For a better understanding of the very real distinctions between the plans proposed by Senator Clinton and Obama, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/04/opinion/04krugman.html?th&emc=th.

Lastly, however the dilemma is addressed, the revisions will not be a panacea for all. Whether it’s a government program or one privately underwritten, some doling of care will occur. There are some medical conditions where it’s simply not feasible to spend to the last dollar, or near it. You or a loved one is going to die of something some time. Statistically, it’s often in a circumstance that doesn’t warrant the outlay of hundreds of thousands of dollars, by anyone, to secure a few more days, or weeks or months of life. Resources are scarce, meaning not infinite, meaning there exists very genuine limits. And treating you or a loved one to the last dollar will — not may — curtail therapies available to someone else with a more optimistic prognosis. Whether it’s a private, for-profit plan or one governmentally overseen, someone(s) will have to decide who gets what, when, and under what statistically efficacious aegis. Sorry. But that’s just how life is.

 

No matter — what we’re all thinking about is not going to be “insurance.” Okay?

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 — Ed Tubbs

 

An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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