Sunday, July 26, 2009

Health care - who needs it?

I was probably 23 before I even thought about health care issues. I can't remember every going to a doctor as a kid, I know I had to have a physical before college. I also know I got my shots, some from the health department. I have a vivid memory of the polio shot, a lot of us were lined up in what might have been an old school (circa 1965). I went to the infirmary at school one time while in college, it was a waste of my time and the doctors' (a story for another day).

After graduating college at the ripe old age of 22, I got married. I had health coverage on my job and my wife had coverage on her job. About a year later, we decided it was time to start planning for a family, but planning didn't include insurance. When our daughter was born, we found that we had to pay her part of the hospital bill ourselves (I think it was around $2,000 -- I still have the bill somewhere).

It turns out a lot of people don't think about insurance until they start having families. And a lot of people don't want to sign up for insurance even if they think about it.

To me, that's freedom of choice. Certainly the bills are higher today than they were in 1983 when my first was born, but if a person decides to pay their own way, they should be allowed.

It concerns me that in one of the drafts of the new health care bills, people will be FORCED to have some form of insurance. They will no longer have the option to choose to pay their own way. Some Americans are all about freedom of choice, as long as you choose their way of dealing with problems.


Cameron said...

We just had our fourth child three months ago. This time around, we had a health savings account as insurance, and it was interesting how that changed our attitudes about the health care we received. Since we had to pay for most expenses ourselves, we were much more involved in what tests were being done and why, as well as the costs of everything. It was enlightening to me to see how the fact that we were the ones paying for it changed how we viewed things. We were empowered to take control of what was being done. I came to realize how much of an assembly line health care is simply because a third party generally pays for most things.

I wonder if this is not the direction we should be headed. When the cost is born by the consumer, costs generally trend downwards.

Randy said...

Interesting comments on HSA's. I recently had a medical expense that I knew would not be covered. I had researched it for a long time to determine if it was truly required - not because of the expense, but because I didn't want to subject the patient to unneccessary pain.

I did a lot of post-procedure checks on all of the bills and negotiated them down because of self-pay. I was surprised that I got between 35%-55% "discounts" on every procedure. In one case (kinda complicated), some of the fees were waived entirely.