Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Problem With Healthcare Is That It's Too Expensive. "Pre-Existing Conditions" Is A Minor Problem.

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, the problem with healthcare in this country is that it's too expensive. But the bills proposed by the Senate, House, and President Obama do little to solve that problem. Instead, we have been barraged with representations that the biggest problem with healthcare is something other than the cost. Recently, we keep hearing that the most important problem Americans face in the healthcare field is that of pre-existing conditions.

"Pre-existing conditions" means that a person had a health problem before applying for insurance from some carrier. Some insurance companies will refuse to sell insurance to people with preexisting conditions. Some insurance charge more for people with pre-existing conditions.

The White House claims that 12.6 million Americans were “discriminated against” by insurers because of pre-existing conditions. That does not mean they were all denied insurance. Some of them just had to pay more to get coverage for the preexisting condition. I had a preexisting condition on a back problem at one time. I was not denied coverage, but I had to pay 10% more.

But let’s take the 12.6 million and pretend that 10 million of them could not get any insurance at all. Compare that number to the 45 million Americans who cannot get any insurance because it is too expensive. 10 million out of 300 million (total population) is about 3% of the population. It is a relatively small group of people, 3% of the total population, who have "pre-existing conditions" which either increase the cost or make it impossible for them to get insurance.

Probably 80% of the population cannot afford healthcare. So compare 80% to 3%, and which appears to be the bigger problem?

When I say 80% cannot afford healthcare, what I mean is that as long as they stay healthy, they’re fine. But if they get sick, they will find that their co-pays, excluded from coverage, deductibles and not covered at all will add up to more than they have available. That’s why people end up in bankruptcy from health problems. First they get big bills from the doctors and providers. And second, they have no income coming in while they are sick.

As for the preexisting conditions, six states have laws which prohibit insurers from excluding people based on preexisting conditions. I’m not saying their situation isn’t a concern. I’m just saying it’s not the big concern for the country. It is not the central, biggest, most important problem with healthcare.

For the majority of people and businesses in this country, the problem with healthcare is that it’s too expensive. That is the problem we need to resolve. The Democrats told us they were going to make healthcare more affordable. But their bill does not do that. Mostly their bill will order an additional 45 million people to buy private health insurance, which will bring between $100 Billion to $200 billion in additional revenue to the private insurance companies. It looks like the insurers and the medical industry drafted this law, it is so lucrative to them.

The obvious way to attack the problem of cost is to allow more Americans to opt out of private insurance and buy into Medicare. This will cut the costs for the people who buy in. But it also will put pressure on the providers and insurers to cut their costs, to compete and keep Americans in their private insurance program.

The proposed bills from the Democrats (Senate, House, and White House version) will not cut the health care costs for most Americans. It’s mostly something which will bring enormous donations into the Democratic party from the medical industry, and let the Democrats campaign on the misrepresentation that they have “reformed” healthcare. But the Democratic proposals do not solve the problems. They don't even try to solve the problems. It isn't the lack of success by the Democrats that's the biggest concern. It's their lack of effort. They don't even try to do something to really help the people.

No comments:

Post a Comment