While the Democrats are desperately trying to ram Obamacare through a vote before the electorate wakes up, a lot of sloppy language is being tossed around.
Words like “Uninsured” or “Health Insurance” are repeatedly misused.
What most people think of as health insurance, really isn’t insurance. It’s just someone else paying your medical bills. That’s not insurance.
So when Pelosi et al. stand up in Congress and bemoan millions of uninsured people in the US, what they’re really saying is that there are a lot of people who have to pay their own medical bills.
Why shouldn’t people pay their own medical bills?
Just like you pay your rent, grocery bill and other living expenses, medical bills are just a cost of staying alive.
The current fashion of employer paid medical “insurance” comes from the wage freezes during World War II. Companies needed to offer something to attract talent so when they couldn’t offer more money they offered benefits like paid vacation, paid sick time and medical coverage.
Real medical insurance, sometimes called catastrophic care or hospitalization insurance, covers hospital stays and real emergencies. You’re making a wager with the insurance company. The insurance company is betting that on average the medical bills of all their covered will be less than the sum of the premiums they take in. You as the insured are using the risk pool provided by the insurance company as a hedge against unforeseen medical costs.
Unforeseen is the key word. If you KNOW you’re gonna have expenses, you save money and budget for them. It’s part of being a responsible adult. As responsible adults we buy insurance to protect us against unforeseen expenses. Fire and flood insurance for your house. Collision insurance for your car. Life insurance in case you die unexpectedly. All these types of insurance cover unexpected expenses.
No one buys food insurance or rent insurance or car payment insurance. Those are predictable expenses. So is a visit to the doctor. Unless you’re one of the rare people that never get sick you know you’re going to visit a doctor. You know you’re going to visit a dentist. You know you’re going to have to buy some pills to cure an infection or lower your blood pressure.
No one should pay for your predictable medical costs any more than someone should pay for your rent or your groceries.
My company offers a medical benefit. I can pay almost $10K a year for the dubious privilege of only having to pay a $30 copay for each doctor visit.
How’s that math work out again? Unless I or a family member is hospitalized, there’s no way I’m gonna have $10K in medical bills. Historically we’ve averaged a couple of thousand dollars for the whole family and that includes doctor visits and prescriptions. I can get hospitalization insurance for the family at a pretty cheap rate. The deductible is high, but I can plan for that and pay it out of savings.
Having someone else pay your medical bills is a bad idea and it doesn’t make a bit of difference if that third party is your employer or your government. It introduces price distortions and overuse.
Say no to the government paying your medical bills and while you’re at it, say no to your employer paying them as well. I’d rather have that money in my savings account anyway.