Not that Autumn is here, everyone is starting to get the colds and 'flu which tend to start this time every year and stubbornly hang on until the Northern Hemisphere starts to warm up again. The first time I heard a hack today, I thought about a friend I worked with (we were 'lifers' in the grocery business) who died about three years ago of lung cancer. The bad thing about it was that several years before he was diagnosed, everyone around him knew something was wrong and were strongly recommending that he go see a doctor. His response? "Oh well." And a shrug. Don't even bother asking if he had insurance. Of course, when the time came he didn't shrug and say something cavalier; he wanted treatment.
This happens a lot. Is there a word to describe them? Warm weather libertarians? What's so bad is that they never learn their lesson. There was another fellow here in town who had plenty of money, he just didn't want to pay any of it on health insurance. He had a heart attack, and instead of doing the noble thing and telling the nurses to dump him out on the sidewalk, he allowed the town to do one of those charity fund raisers for his benefit. He was able to pay a small portion of his considerable bill; the hospital wrote off the rest.
But they didn't, did they? They just passed it on to me. No way that MRI cost ten thousand dollars. My premiums just took another jump, and Mr. Heart Attack still doesn't have insurance. But he has a new car.
It's almost enough to make me a socialist. I think that Obamacare is a huge boondoggle whose primary purpose is political and social rather than medical, but something simply has to be done.
I believe that if you criticize, you should offer a solution, so here goes:
1. Yeah, make everyone buy insurance. Look, few people have enough willpower to say "Let me bleed to death" and not many can stand around doing nothing to help. If you buy insurance, at least you have some control. It's either that or more taxes for GovCare. (Motto: Unions First)
2. Have cash only medical centers. It's one of the reasons vets are so cheap. In fact, I'd let a veterinarian stitch me up.
3. One form to rule them all. Make all insurance use the same form. Should have done that first.
4. Everyone who enters the United States has to have proof of insurance.
5. Stop telling people how to live. Trying to social engineer our eating habits may have a hand in our obesity/diabetes/whatnot epidemic.
By the way, I had this argument with someone who does not have insurance. I lost, because I decided to make trauma the example, and he had coverage for accidents through his vehicle and homeowner insurance. You just have to back up and try again.