Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fixing Health Care

An excellent read, and one that makes sense to me. I think we need to do something, and while Obamacare isn’t necessarily the solution, or even a good one, it’s a step. I’m not in favor of the GOP loudmouths repealing it. They can replace it, but not just remove it.

I have seen various posts on health care, including this one comparing it to cars, which are all flawed arguments. Unfortunately nothing is really like health care. It’s unique in that we get one life, one body, and we can’t trade it in or replace it. It’s up to us to take care of it, something so few people seem to do.

The first link, Philip Grenspun’s take, makes the most senses to me. We ought to open up the market, remove some of the government impediments, but also provide a government framework. Universal health care makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is limited, or very low payments. The idea of collective bargaining for health care makes sense. What sucks is the government caved on the idea of dropping all citizens into one large pool for coverage (or a series of pools).

We ought to be the customers. We ought to have some ability to make decisions, shop around, and make our dollars go further. I don’t want anyone excluded from care because of any condition, and I don’t want treatment withheld, but I do want people to have to pay more when they want more care. At some point, if you’re too sick, we can’t cover everything.

As I’ve watched all the Obama tweets about the people helped by the ACA, I’m happy for them, but disappointed at the misleading messages. Some of these people had bad luck, some didn’t take care of themselves. Some need to pay a bit more of a price.

However it shouldn’t be $500k or more for some of the treatments we give. That’s outrageous. I see doctors making $1mm in salary, not because they work their asses off, but because they’re in a system that rewards them for their limited skills in a very limited market. One that has so many government (public) and insurance (private) rules that they can take advantage of it. To be clear, I do think doctors work their asses off, and most of them deserve to go through life making a good, even a top 5% living, without worrying about being sued to bankruptcy.

The whole system is a mess, and trying to fix one part without the rest is hard. I’d like to see some of Mr. Greenspun’s ideas moved forward, some of the stuff in TED talks moved forward, building a system that has compassion for the individual, and a sense of fairness in the economic sense, without a lot of the “closed market” abuse we have now with employment-based coverage and closed insurance companies. Limit legal awards, make insurance a personal asset, and lower all the red tape by implementing openness throughout the system.

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