I’m not sure why we are arguing about the cost of health care reform. There are only a few major points, really.
- If you are covered under a plan you like, keep it.
- Eliminate exclusions for preexisting conditions
- Eliminate the lifetime payment cap (insurance companies stop paying your bills when you hit $1-$3 million leaving people bankrupt and uninsurable leaving you on medicaid)
- The public option
Are points one and two controversial? Maybe. But I want to discuss three and four. Number three, the lifetime cap. Lifetime caps push people into the Medicaid system when the insurance company stops paying and you are not longer able to get insurance at any price. This is one of the current “public options”.
The final, named public option really boils down to this: we are already paying for uninsured people to go to the doctor. Only they don’t go to the $100.00 per visit doctor, they go to the $3000.00 Emergency Room. And yes, we are already paying for this. We pay for it in higher fees for insurance, for higher fees for each test, in the $37.00 bag of ice, the $10.00 tube of travel tooth paste, the $5.00 aspirin pill. Anyone who has ever spent the night in the hospital or visited the ER knows these prices, and they go to pay for those who can’t.
The argument that I have personally heard, especially from conservative leaning individuals, is that they don’t want to pay for someone else’s health care (not very Jesus-like, eh?). Again my point is that we are already paying for it. This is really a matter of accounting and putting the expense back “on the books” where everyone can see it. Off the books accounting and related shenanigans brought down Enron. It drags on the US to not bring these expenses in line, slow down the rapid pace of increasing costs. Let’s be realistic. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were and are costing billions. Does it serve any real purpose to pretend we aren’t spending the money? Put the expenses on the books.