8.12.2010

10 Minutes - Not Bad. Not Bad at All.

Hi. It's Joe.

I am quite fond of the expression, "Pay now or pay later, but ultimately everyone pays."

I have been using it a lot lately because I see all these right wing nutbars spouting off about how universal health care is bad because they shouldn't have to pay for other people's health care bills.

News flash, nutbars: You are already paying the health care bills of the uninsured.

Without going into the boring details of our public health system, here's a run down.

1. No one can be denied necessary health care, not even the poor and uninsured.
2. The health care they get is expensive and has to be paid for somehow (you don't see a lot of hospitals going out of business or doctors filing for bankruptcy, right?).
3. Doctors and hospitals set fees for service to compensate for the lost revenue from those who can't pay vs. those who can. That is why American health care costs the most in the world, double that of the second place country (Switzerland, last time I checked).
4. These fees for service are then transferred to those who can pay (usually via insurance, rarely out of pocket).
5. For the insurance companies to pay these inflated fees and still make a profit, they have to charge insured people higher premiums (as well as deny claims and cap what they are willing to spend per claim).
6. (Here is where it gets good!) The poor and uninsured cannot afford to get MUCH CHEAPER preventive health care, and when they require necessary health care, they wait until the last minute, when treatments and diagnostic tests are much more expensive.
7. So not only do insured people have to pay the health costs of the uninsured poor, but those costs are much higher than they need to be.
8. A universal health care system that provides FREE preventive care (annual physicals and health screenings, say) would lower the net cost of health care for the uninsured poor (assuming rates of disease are more or less constant year to year).
9. A health care tax for universal free preventive care administered by the government would save insurance companies having to pay for preventive services, so they could lower premiums (although they probably wouldn't, those greedy bastards).
10. In any case, everyone's health care is paid for by someone, so you can pay now or pay later, but everyone ultimately pays.

Have a nice day.

My time is up.

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