Friday, February 15, 2008

Suppose They Gave a War . . .

and nobody came.

This line was repeated during the Viet Nam war era. The intent was to raise awareness about the peace movement. The idea was, at least in theory, if one nation decided to declare war on another, and no one showed up to fight, would peace break out?

We have a war going now on the health care front. One could even take the line from the 60's and ask . . .

Suppose you had a medical bill and no one wanted to pay it for you?

Carriers are the fall guy for the so-called health care crisis. Yet the numbers don't lie.

Fully 85% or so of the population is covered by some form of health insurance. About 40% of the population is covered by taxpayer funded programs (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.).

Most of the 15% that are classified as uninsured are eligible for taxpayer funded plans but for reasons unknown, have not availed themselves of this "free" coverage. About a third have incomes in excess of $50,000 which means (in most cases) health insurance is affordable.

Another statistic that recently came to light is somewhere between 35 -39% (according to a study by Aetna) are between the ages of 18 and 35. (This is a market Aetna, and a few others, have decided to target). This is the so-called invincible crowd that thinks nothing will ever happen to them so they opt to go naked.

But back to the premise of this post.

Suppose you needed medical care and there were no insurance carriers. How would you pay your bill?

You can be a deadbeat like many but the system can only hold so many before it collapses.

You can liquidate assets but who wants to do that? And depending on the situation, you may still run out of money.

Those who say the government should take over health care funding really have never taken a serious look at just how poorly the government manages the money we already give them.

At least with carriers there is accountability.

To whom is the government accountable?

How long do you think IBM, Coca-Cola or United Healthcare could stay in business if each year they SPENT more than they took in? I am not talking about creative accounting to make it SEEM like they lost money. But rather they actually had to go to banks and investors to BORROW millions in dollars to cover the money they spent.

Yet no one questions the viability of government on the federal level (or even state & local) and holds them accountable.

No one.

If the government spends more than they took in, and no one notices, did they really run a deficit?
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