Friday, January 25, 2008

Beating a Horse Which, While Not Dead, Is Accruing Crippling Hospital Debt While On Life Support

I've been having that universal health care argument over at WHERE ARE MY KEYS again. Great White Knight insists that the high number of uninsured people is misleading because so many of them are unemployed; and then most of them don't WANT insurance. He has friends who are saving the money they'd pay for insurance premiums and intend to use THAT for medical bills. Presumably, that's what everyone else is doing too.

So let me just reiterate my position here about the handful of poor people in the nation who AREN'T saving up and cannot afford health insurance. I know it's only a handful; and they are all poor because they want to be. But if there is some untoward epidemic or plague, who is going to get shots? The rich, because they can afford it. Who won't? The poor. The more people who can't get health care, the more to spread disease. Check out Africa some time. They don't have universal health care, they got plenty of poor people, and they're dying of AIDS in record numbers. And that's a non-airborne contagion.

Bird flu, typhoid, something new - the poor are going to kill you unless you protect them. More importantly, they're going to kill ME, and I'm not for that at all.


Great White Knight (GWK) said...

(Previous post @ WAMK)

Piker: I've been in Health Insurance for the past 13 years, down here in AZ.
How convienent for someone to happen to be here, just when they needed major medical care, as you state.
I cannot tell you how many times I've heard from folks that have either: moved from Canada to the US; are snowbirds from Canada, w/ dual Citizenship; or have friends they've spoken of from Canada.

All of these folks say almost the same thing: Just like there is in the US, there is a two-tier system in place there, also. Those who have the money, come to the US for treatment. Those that don't, wait in line (sometimes up to 9 months; some die while waiting) for their socialized medicine. Not one of them has said it's better there.

There are countless privately funded, illegal medical treatment centers popping up all over Canada to help with this overflow, even tho they're outlawed by the government. But, the governement turns it's head, and allows them to operate, as it knows it is under-funded and over-worked.

In addition, when I was living in Houston, my 1st full time job was at a 4 star hotel. I can't tell you the many times groups of 25 to 50 people from, like Saudi, would come, as the 'sheik' needed medical care and they came to Houston. It was world renowned for it's medical care. Why didn't they stay home and get care there? 'Cause their "healthcare system" stunk, they had money, and they went where the best treatment was - the US.

Sadly, those that can't afford that, are stuck in the bottom half of that same system, that is being pushed on us so hard these days.
As far as that "unusual treatment" you spoke of, typically, if the procedure is approved by the AMA, and the insurance company is decent, the claim should be covered. Any policy will tell you experimental procedures are not covered. I think that's where your unusual treatments might fall in.

(New post @ WAMK)
I've only been in this business 13 years, compared to your '____' years in it. Clearly, you know more than me when it comes to this topic. I back off - you're right.

However, when it comes to printer supplies, don't EVEN question me there, pal. I have experience there, too!

I guess this all goes back to the post above on WAMK: "Republicans believe what they see, and Democrats see what they believe."

No wonder no comes to your blog. Useless drivel.

Danielk said...

GWK, I like to live by this rule - never enter into a business deal with someone who stands to make money if you're dead. Insurance has a sub rule - don't enter into a deal with someone who will lose money if you're alive. Trusting my health to someone else's profit motive is putting a little too much faith in free market capitalism.

BTW, in response to your cheap shot about my blog circulation, let me point out that the possessive "its" doesn't require an apostrophe.

wamk said...

So Piker, you don't believe in Social Security then?

People pay into SS for their whole lives (assuming of course they are "legit" on the books!), and some of those people will die before they receive any benefits.

The US Government COUNTS on people not living long enough to collect benefits to help keep the system afloat.

Danielk said...

I like your thinking!

Of course, the analogy is a little shakey. I like social security as it is currently constituted - PRIVATIZING it would set it up more as you describe, which is perhaps why that plan got such a chilly reception.

You may be forgetting why social security and other such programs came about; they are a safety net between us and another great depression. I look at you Republicans some times and I think you're spoiling for more breadlines. What do you hope to gain?

wamk said...


The way I described it, is as it is today.

If I die before I am retirement age, what benefit have I received personally from Social Security?

To pose the same question to insurance, if I pay premiums my whole life, yet never visit a doctor, how does the insurance company lose money?

wamk said...

Additionally, you may be forgetting that Social Security was never meant to be the ONLY means of income after retirement.

Folks are still supposed to save for their own golden years.

Does that mean that people might be forced to make some tough decisions? Yep. But that's what adults do.

wamk said...


I had posted this video:

over at WAMK several months back. I'd provide the direct link to it at my blog, but Townhall's free search engine is worth less than what I pay for it.

Anyway, it does offer a perspective on what we have been chatting about..

Danielk said...

Taking the last comment first WAMK, about the video. Taking the guy at his word, hospitals have to bear the brunt of freeloader ER patients. Insurance doesn't help with those costs - they don't have to - resulting in a financial crisis for hospitals which they respond to by understaffing the increasingly rare ERS as they close down the one near YOUR house. And he points out that young people, who could be paying into the insurance system and keeping it afloat because they don't make claims, choose not to. Thus the premiums are taken from middle class family members. These are problems that Universal Health Care could solve.

If people assume that Social Security will pay for their retirement, they are idiots and nobody can help them. However it can mean the difference between abject poverty and poverty. And in some cases, when you work for a company which decides your retirement fund wasn't really that at all, like Enron or a few major airlines, you at least have SS to fall back on.

I certainly hope you live long enough to collect your social security. And I hope that you aren't pushing for me to get to take advantage of my catastrophic health insurance.