All Demand And No Supply In American Health Care Policy Debate
There is a lot of talk about access, so very little talk about increasing the supply of doctors and health care devices.
It’s open enrollment time, and as I worked on my forms for open enrollment, I took note of the differences in costs for each health care insurance plan. Yes, I have a day job, and as I surveyed the plans offered by my employer, I found that there were only two plans offered this year. Your employer may offer more.
I see that there is a PPO insurance plan, which is traditional insurance that most of us are familiar with. With a PPO, we have in-network and out of network providers with their corresponding costs. We have the discouragement enhancing copay, usually $20 a pop for office visits, and then we’re on the hook for 15% of the total costs for surgery and other big-ticket expenses. I guess the health care industry is worried that we’ll get an unnecessary triple-bypass operation just for kicks so they want us to ante up that 15%.
And then there is the health fund, basically, a very high deductible plan with healthcare savings account just for out of pocket health care costs, built into the plan. I’m on this plan now. I make a meager deposit to the HSA with every paycheck. My deductible is $7,000. That means, for any plan year, my out-of-pocket costs can never exceed $7k, and the insurance pays a very big chunk of my costs to begin with. With this plan, I can’t be bankrupted by medical bills. Maybe I could see $7k in medical bills for a few years in a row, but that’s unlikely. If my costs ever get that high, I don’t think I’ll be working.
I have the impression that this is the sort of thing that conservatives are promoting right now. You know, personal responsibility and all that jazz. They want us to be responsible for our own health while letting their business buddies pollute the environment and sell us stuff that will make our lives shorter, or at least, not quite as comfortable as it could be.
Even with Obamacare, I can see how this sort of conservative thinking has crept in just to get the original bill to pass. It seems to me that most of what is wrong with Obamacare, despite its popularity, is essentially sabotage on the part of Republicans jockeying to make it as unpalatable as possible.