• silver

    The video is a series of wrong statements.

    First: Insurance companies lower health care costs. They don’t cause them to be inflated.
    Insurance companies force prices down by simply refusing to pay more than they think medicine is worth. The hospitals bill $200, and the insurance company pays $100. They’re constantly negotiating the rates of medical procedures, and they have the leverage to do it because they’re fronting thousands of patients and simply don’t care. A person with a disease will pay anything to get cured. An insurance company simply isn’t in that kind of bind.
    They say people should be able to shop around, but if they did, the hospitals would jack up the prices anyway, because they’d have no incentive to make fewer bucks – they’d just stop offering that service. Insurance companies are Wal Mart. We hate them, but they provide an economy of scale that makes 1st world medical care possible.

    Two: Lasik is a bad example, because it’s pricing is unrelated to people shopping around.
    Lasik gets cheaper because they’re able to automate more and more of the process. It was most expensive back when it was some dude with a scalpel cutting 8 holes in your iris. Now that it’s a computer shooting your eye with a laser 200 times over a period of 7 seconds, it’s not all that expensive. And they say people shop around, but that’s bullshit. Only idiots get cut-rate eye surgery.
    Designer drugs get less expensive over time too, but it’s not because people can shop around. It’s because they become popular, they’re made in bulk, then they become generic and are made in ultra-bulk. People “shopping around” has nothing to do with it.

    Third: The video makes it look like insurance companies are the problem here, raising costs and screwing up health care, when really, they’re just misdirected.
    Insurance companies don’t care about people or about hospitals, but as I said earlier, that’s one of their strengths. The real problem is that they’re in the business of keeping people healthy, but except for raising profit margins, they have zero incentive to keep people healthy. The best way for an insurance company to make money is for a person to pay for insurance all their lives, never go to the doctor, and die of a heart attack at age 80. They collect money for 80 years and never pay out a dime.
    And because lots of people do exactly that, they’ve created the “benefit cap” to make sure it happens every time. They’ll pay a little bit every once in awhile – whenever they person gets a little sick, for example – so that they’ll keep paying the insurance. But then when you’re old (or young and unlucky) and something goes horribly wrong, they say “whoops, there’s a maximum amount we’ve agreed to pay in a year, and you’ve exceeded it. Nice knowing you.”
    What they should have to do is collect money for you, and have that pay into an account that you’re allowed to take out of. They people that die cheaply move their accrued value into the accounts of people who die expensively. That’s just Social Security, though, so it won’t work by itself. In addition, the government should provide a monetary incentive, by adding money to the accounts of people who go in for regular checkups. By staying healthy, they increase their productivity and produce more government income via taxes. Some of that goes back into their insurance accounts to keep them healthy when inevitable extraordinary circumstances arise.
    It’s not a perfect system – nothing is – but it has four things going for it: the insurance company gets to hang onto the money, so they’re inclined to convince you to stay healthy, the people are healthier because they get routine health maintenance, they have peace of mind because they’re covered when something goes wrong without the fear of a painful, drawn-out death, and the government gets happier, healthier, more productive citizens.

  • silver

    huh. that was longer than I thought it was. Little carried away, I guess. :)

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