Jun 24, 2009

Priorities or entitlement? My two cents.

Normally I'm not one to make a post of a political nature. But over the last little while, I've been mulling over "healthcare reform" and feel compelled to comment on it.
Yes, I think healthcare costs are ridiculous. And I think the cause of this is simple greed. Once insurance companies began to stick their fingers in the pie, everything became more costly: greed. Insurance companies don't care about your health; they only care about making money. I know whereof I speak, having been involved with providing healthcare and billing patients in my checkered past. I could write a book on it, but I won't.
I have a problem with the idea of being entitled to healthcare/medical insurance. All Americans are entitled to it - and they always have been. I'm just not sure that the government should provide it for us. A lot of folks seem to take this a step further and believe that they are entitled to have the government provide them with healthcare/medical insurance. I disagree with this.
During my adult life, and during our 21+ years of marriage, DH and I have always been entitled to healthcare/medical insurance. We realized that having medical insurance was a good idea. It would protect us from an unexpected or costly financial disaster. We chose to make it a priority in our finances. We have always had medical insurance, even when we had to pay for it ourselves. We have always chosen to have employers provide medical insurance for us, even if we had to pay part or all of the premiums. And we also have always budgeted money to pay for copays and medications. That's just part of doing business and being healthy. We have never wanted nor expected the government to do this for us.
At one point in our marriage, we were making less than $20,000.00 a year between the two of us, and we still bought our own health insurance as our employers didn't provide it for us. It was a catastrophic plan for emergencies - an "I've been hit by a bus and I'm in the hospital!" type of plan. Never did we expect to have the government or anyone else take care of this. We just made it a priority in our budget. We chose to purchase the insurance. (And our insurance payment was slightly higher than our house payment at that time!)
At another time, I had to have surgery that our insurance didn't cover. DH spent time talking to the doctors and hospital and arranging for us to pay the bills off over time. We made it a priority to pay them off early and did so in less than a quarter of the allotted time. We did what we had to do.
Truthfully, a lot of people could pay for their own plans, but won't. DH worked with a guy who was married with a wife and two children. His wife worked and both of them made good money. They probably pulled in close to $100,000.00 a year between the two of them. The company provided medical insurance by paying for two-thirds of the cost of the premiums with the employee paying the other third (taken out of the paycheck). This guy refused to do it. He wouldn't sign up. He didn't want that money taken out of his paycheck.
He left his family vulnerable in my opinion. He's all for government healthcare because that way, he doesn't have to pay for it out of his own pocket. He doesn't realize that he will be paying for it in higher taxes - just ask the Canadians.
People need to be responsible for themselves and be accountable with their money. Of course, it they're looking for good examples of fiscal responsibility, our federal government is a poor place to look.
You spend your money on what you think is important. Medical insurance is important to DH and me, so we choose to budget for it before we spend on other things. Priorities. Fiscal responsibility. Being free and independent. Accountable. Paying your own way. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.
I'll leave you with an Emma picture. Here's her favorite spot on the back of the sofa where the AC blows just right.


Lisa said...

I will give you my pennies worth...I agree with you. And to take it a step further - if the government provides medical care for us then...we still end up paying for it through taxes of some sort (for it will not be FREE) and because it is a government program there will be a lot of guidelines/red tape that we & the doctors will have to follow. If the government steps in and starts to control this...well, in my opinion we are looking at a mess...mmm, something like the credit mess?

Rachel S said...

The whole thing is just confusing and disheartening. People want things cheap. If they have to put a bit of effort or expense, it's a conspiracy. Frankly, the government is trying to do too much too soon.

mark said...

I agree with you. People need to take responsibility for themselves and not expect the government to do it for them. From reports I've read lately, it appears the recession IS making people more fiscally responsible. However, I have mixed emotions regarding healthcare. Mark and I take care of our insurance through our jobs (of which we paid for part). Taylor, on the other hand, if not for Medicaid or CHIPS (received through his Dad), we would have filed bankruptcy a very very long time ago. To me, it seems that doctors, meds and hospital shouldn't cost so much! It's crazy. Although, I must say I am NOT for a national healthcare program. When has the government done anything right (irs, bailouts, welfare). Ok...I'll stop my rant...see what you started??!!


wanda said...

Well, Im not meaning to start a big controversy here, but I think you need to read up about the Canadian Health Care system.


There are many things that are not covered by our health insurance. If I want "hit by a bus" insurance, I have to pay for it.

If I need medication, I have to pay for it.

If I do not have added insurance, I need to pay out of pocket for my ambulance ride if I need one.

However if I need to be admitted to the hospital, I am not charged a ridiculous amount of money to be cared for. If I need surgery, I will not have to mortgage my house to get it.

There may be longer waits for surgery, but we don't have to budget to go to the doctor or delay preventative medical exams, like pap tests or colonoscopies, because we cannot afford them. I had a cervical cancer scare at 25 . . . I felt perfectly healthy but if I had not gone for my annual test, I could be dead now . . .

Having it handled by the government does keep a handle on the greed and there may be some doctors that will leave Canada to make their fortune in the States but how much money do they really need? It is still all about greed.

I have a friend whose sister left Canada to be a physical therapist in the US. She and her husband had a baby that was born with a heart problem. It spent weeks in the hospital and ended up not surviving. They were left childless with a hospital bill in the tens of thousands. They (she and her American husband)moved back to Canada shortly after . . . we may pay taxes towards our healthcare system, but those that can't pay still get treated with the dignity and respect that is deserving to all human beings no matter circumstance.

yes I am Canadian and quite proud to be one . . . and very passionate about defending my country . .. speaking of, how much of your tax dollars go toward the military, like you said, priorities

Now stepping off my soap box.

On a different note, LOVE. your. dog. Too cute!

LoneStar said...

Hi Wanda,

My comment regarding Canadian healthcare (which I have researched) was in the context of y'all having a higher tax base than Americans to pay for it. If the US ends up with a government run healthcare system, the money to pay for it will have to come from somewhere; HIGHER TAXES!

DH's former coworker will end up with that money coming out of his paycheck as higher taxes instead of medical insurance premiums, and the taxes will probably be higher than the premiums are.

As with all healthcare systems, there are flaws in all of them.

I was mainly trying to point out that folks need to stop thinking how "entitled" they are and instead be responsible for taking care of themselves instead of expecting the government to do it.

LoneStar (Lisa)

Cindy F. said...

So much going through my head right now....I worked in medical insurance for 9 years and saw a lot of unfairness in processing claims.
I almost lost my job for questioning why we would pay for a hot tub for a manager with sore muscles, but turned down so many other claims for more serious problems because there was a hint of a problem 5, 10, 15 years earlier and it was probably "pre-existing". I finally quit because seeing the favoritism and the bs made me sick. The managers could have paid their bills w/o insurance, but their employees depended on their insurance, jobs and payment plans.
One of our patient's was Larry King when he had a heart attack back in the late 70's??? That claim couldn't get paid fast enough and nothing was questioned!
Maybe favoritism doesn't account for the ridiculous cost of insurance, but I think it contributes to the greed factor!

Cindy F. said...

...lol....don't even know if my last sentence above made sense. I just hate favoritism!

Forgot to say....that EMMA IS JUST TOO DARN PRECIOUS!!!