Tuesday, April 28, 2009

D'Oh! Who Didn't See THIS Coming?

[Welcome Derek's Twitter readers!]
But something else we've been singing from the rooftops (metaphorically, of course) is that most folks don't have any real clue how much insurance should cost, and balk at the high price when they finally bother to get a quote (usually for coverage they don't even need). As NPR reports, "even if they could find an affordable health plan, many are not used to building that cost into their monthly budget."
No kidding.
Of course, many (most?) of these folks have no trouble building their budgets around cell phones and web access, not to mention cable. As the political class contemplates requiring everyone to be covered, the dirty little secret is that most of these folks are completely unaware of how much such coverage will cost. Again from NPR:
"Two out of three uninsured Americans say they'd be willing to pay no more than $100 a month for coverage. But, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average individual health plan costs about $400 a month, and a family policy costs more than $1,000."
Three things jump out at me from this:
First the wording is quite curious: "two out of three uninsured Americans..." Is NPR finally admitting that a huge swath of the uninsured are not, in fact, "Americans" at all, but indeed are illegal immigrants? We've made that point numerous times; is it possible that the wonks at NPR are secret IB readers?
Second, it's nice that uninsured folks are willing to pony up "$100 a month for coverage." On the one hand, if they're talking about individuals, that may well be "doable" through the use of High Deductibe Health Plans and perhaps a rollback of some of those expensive mandated benefits. If they're talking about $100 per family, well, rotsa ruck with that. By the way, how much is that digital cable bill each month?
Finally, the folks at Kaiser (quoted in the NPR story) continue to throw out that IB-trounced canard that "a family policy costs more than $1,000." Well sure, if we're talking low deductibles and co-pays for office visits, But if we could just get our fellow citizens to understand that health care costs drive health insurance costs, perhaps they'd cut back on the cigs and Big Macs, and the low deductibles and co-pays that encourage over-utilization (and thus drive up costs).
[Hat Tip: Holly Robinson]
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