This is not another article focusing on how naïve, little Barackster’s Obamacare will be the final nail in the coffin for America. That is pretty much a given, so let’s recap how we arrived here.
True healthcare reform cannot happen until we completely reset the brainwashing that has taken place with my generation. Let me break the news to you, we have been duped my friends. It took some time but the general populace now expects health insurance to cover even the most basic of ailments. When you get the sniffles, instead of making the trek to your local Walmart cold/flu aisle so you can sleep off the affliction in a Nyquil stupor, you visit the doctor and complain about the long wait plus the $25 co-pay.
A select few may squeeze together enough brain cells to question their $1,500 per month family health insurance policy unless, of course, your employer offers it as a benefit; and then you’re most likely too dang dumb to realize this money could be going in your pocket instead. $1,500 x 12 = $18,000 per year. I’m no rocket scientist but this can add up in a hurry, and here’s the kicker: when you get your grubby little hands on the cash you should stash a portion into savings.
Let’s go back to a simpler time in the not so distant past where grandpa and grandma actually took some personal responsibility and put money into a rainy day fund. This means you might have to make a big boy decision to forgo the latest iPhone or flat screen TV and adhere to a savings plan that will get you through when uncertainty rears its ugly head.
Healthcare costs would drop dramatically if there were only catastrophe/major medical insurance policies available. Of course tort reform would help too, so doctors wouldn’t have to practice defensive medicine and have extra staff just to process the mountains of insurance paperwork, but we’ll cover those topics on another day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not demonizing health insurance companies; this is America (at least for now) and they have every right to be in business. But “Full coverage” health insurance and government mandated policy coverage requirements have made costs skyrocket because they have eliminated the direct doctor to patient pricing structure. You know that archaic supply and demand concept that establishes a value on every other item that you purchase in the world. If costs are irrelevant, why wouldn’t you jump in and fill up on that all you can eat medical smorgasbord? You/your employer pay the monthly premium anyway so why not use the crap out of that policy?
Let me give you a practical example that even the simplest of minds can relate to. On your last hotel stay, were you concerned that the lights were off when you left the room, if the thermostat was set to a barely tolerable comfort level, or even if the balcony door was open to cool/heat the outside? NO, you weren’t, because you paid an all inclusive price for the night and wanted to get every last penny’s worth. You weren’t going to be credited any Hilton half dollars for not pillaging the room for every last drop of tiny toiletries so who gives a rat’s behind? Heck let’s put on that shower cab and bounce from bed to bed. I’m guilty of this even though in my personal budgetary practices I’ve been called a cheap bastard on more than one occasion (I prefer the less profane and more politically correct term frugal illegitimate).
This is what happens with health insurance even to the best of us. We lose perspective and have the attitude which says, “why not use it since I’m paying for it anyway”. So it’s overused and costs go up. The system is flawed by design because there is no incentive to be frugal so it will continue to bloat.
Healthcare procedures that aren’t covered by insurance have gone down in price while everything else has gone up. Lasik eye surgery and elective plastic surgery prices have dropped because there is free market competition. You actually shop around and know exactly what those double D’s are going to cost before you opt to go under the knife.
I know this might be a bit of a grasp in comparison for some but Ben Franklin said “he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither”. We are trading our freedom, financial and other for a perceived sense of security. Life is unpredictable and nothing is guaranteed so we’ve been fed the lie that we always need someone else looking out for us and it has resulted in a society of wusses who feel like we can’t survive on our own.
Coincidentally, years later Ben’s quote was loosely translated into the popular 80’s bumper sticker “Sh%# Happens”. As a kid I never really understood its meaning and the profound intellectual depth of those bumper stickers, but a few years ago it was like a light bulb went on in my head. Trials and tribulations in life are unavoidable; we can’t stop them but we can overcome them and become stronger in spite of them. So live a little, take on some personal responsibility, drop that full coverage health plan, go get your catastrophe/major medical policy today, and remember Sh%# Happens but you’ll get through it.