ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, May 15, 2006

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Piece of Trash

Haven't had one of these posts on the St Louis newspaper, but had to post on this editorial about health care insurance:

Insured, but not covered


People buy health insurance so they can get expensive medical tests and treatment if and when they need it. That may be obvious to most of us, but it seems to have eluded some Republicans in Congress.

Actually, people buy health insurance so someone else pays for their healthcare, regardless of whether it's expensive or not. If they need a $25 prescription, they ask "What's my copay?" If they need a $100 prescription, they ask "What's my copay?" If their doctor recommends that they have an elective procedure they ask, "What's my copay?"

I'd like health insurance to cover lasik eye surgery... and once they do cover it, I'll be first in line to get my eyes zapped. It's called economics... it's a lot more painful for me to pay for the procedure than to rely on everyone else to pay for it.

Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., is among those pushing a bill that would transform perhaps 600,000 of the nation's 46 million uninsured into under-insured. It's an attempt to confront the political but not the social problems caused by our dysfunctional health care financing system.

Sponsored by Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., the bill is similar to others Mr. Talent has introduced in the past. Mr. Enzi's measure stalled in the Senate last week, but he's threatening to resurrect it later. His idea is to allow small businesses to band together to buy insurance across state lines. They could then offer more affordable health insurance to their employees. Sounds like a good idea.

But in order to make insurance affordable, the bill would remove state minimum coverage requirements for policies purchased by these so-called "association health plans." The notion is that premiums would drop if insurance companies didn't have to cover things like cancer screenings and annual exams for diabetics, as most states now require.

Meanwhile, this study by a well respected actuarial firm seems to have some positive news regarding the bill.

I have a strange feeling that cancer screenings and annual diabetes exams are not specifically eliminated by the bill, but rather are items which the Democrats and the MSM are using to kill the possibility of something other than socialized medicine from making headway. Why yes, these two procedures seem to be mentioned prominently in every Dem press release (and editorial on the subject)!
The bill is part of a wave of Republican-sponsored "reforms" like Medical Savings Accounts premised on the demonstrably false assumption that health spending is out of control because Americans get too much care. That, the theory goes, is because we don't pay for it directly. In fact, individual Americans already pay a larger share of their health care costs than people in any other developed nation, and their share has grown rapidly in recent years.

love the scare quotes. It's almost as if the Post-Dispatch has "journalists" on its editorial board.


Actually, yes.... we do receive a lot of care. Especially when you compare to all of those "developed nations" where people wait months for simple procedures (and where some end up dying on the waiting list).

As I've always pointed out, ask someone what a visit to their doctor costs. They'll tell you the co-pay, but won't have a clue as to the actual charge that's going to the insurance company. If they had to pay that out of pocket and then fight to get the insurance company to reimburse them (and not even pay for the expense out of their HSA), people would be much more sensitive to the actual costs of healthcare. Heck, just asking their doctor what the fee is would be a start.

Healthcare Savings Accounts and the Association Pooling plans are ways to make sure that people get coverage that they cannot get today. Despite the fawning press of Romney's Massachussetts plan, when faced with the choice of paying an annual fine of $250 per employee per year for not providing healthcare benefits or of paying $1500 per employee per year to actually provide the healthcare benefits, which do you think the employer will choose? The HSAs attempt to get you to save for your own healthcare in the future, while covering you for preventative (yes, preventative!!!) care and high-cost emergency services.

But hey - let's not let the economic considerations of scarcity and human nature get in the way. Wouldn't want to let those small issues get in the way of moving towards our socialist utopia. The editorial continues, but it's really not worth reading...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler