Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hat Trick

In the March 5 Register, state Sen. Jack Hatch began an important conversation about fixing our broken health-care system. However, he failed to identify the true reform that is needed in this state.

How so?

Health insurance provides support to individuals and families to cover health care. As we talk health-care reform, we must assure coverage is seamless, accessible and portable, that costs are equitably distributed and that risk pools do not discriminate against the sick or poor.

Health insurance, health care. At least someone got it right.

But what about the last comment? How does one assure that "risk pools do not discriminate against the sick or the poor"?

Risk pools are all about the sick. The only ones who use it are the sick. Can't say I have ever heard of a risk pool for the poor . . . other than taxpayer funded plans like Medicaid.

Health care is a basic human right, not a choice. It is important that we provide access to quality health care that is affordable and reliable for all Iowans.

A basic right. Is personal responsibility part of the equation?

And part II is here:

The way to fix our health-care system is to stop trying to make insurance the solution, and focus instead on getting people the health care they need.

Focus on health CARE. So far so good.

Absent a national approach, states have begun experimenting with initiatives that encourage more employer coverage, require individuals to purchase private policies, and expand public programs. These initiatives cannot succeed because they are based on a failed model: the same insurance system that got us into trouble in the first place.

Here is where she jumps the track.

How did insurance "get us in to trouble"? How is a nationalized system going to cure what is wrong?

First, insurance is temporary. Whether for a home, a car, fine art, or "health," insurance contracts are written for a brief, defined period - a year or less


Guess some of the clients I have with the same plan for up to 10 years didn't know this.

If you have a private policy, and you cost your company too much or otherwise look undesirable at the end of that period, you'll either pay a lot more or you'll lose coverage altogether.

Where does this garbage come from? Carriers are prohibited from discriminating against one who has high claims. They cannot cancel for any reason other than non-payment of premium. You cannot be singled out for a rate increase.

Second, insurance is based on minimizing risk and maximizing profit - concepts incompatible with protecting the health of individuals and the public at large

More fantasy. This has been addressed before in this forum.

We have a model for this in the United States, and though it might be imperfect, it's a great start. It's called Medicare

Someone needs to inform this lady how poorly Medicare works.

And now for the third segment on health care vs. health insurance . . .

Our existing health-care system is on life support. It's too complicated and too expensive even for those who have health insurance

Too expensive for those with health insurance. Read on . . .

Half of all the bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical debt. What is surprising is that in the majority of those medical-related bankruptcies, the individuals actually had health insurance.

The rest of the story . . .

The average amount of unpaid debt is . . . about $13,000.

Who goes bankrupt over $13,000?

Apparently quite a few. At least that was the case prior to the change in bankruptcy laws.

Many folks with health insurance have high deductibles and policy exclusions. This discourages them from getting the preventative care they need.

My auto insurance has a high deductible. This discourages me from regular oil changes, tires & brakes.

There is a model for this. It's called Medicare. It's one of the most effective and efficient government programs

Here we go again.

Nuff said.

And that completes the hat trick on health care vs. health insurance.

At least for today . . .
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