Monday, July 27, 2009

Health Insurance is Not Health Care

Most Americans mix the two up.

Let's be clear. Access to health care is not health insurance. Let me explain.

Health insurance occurs when a group of people pool their money together to help pay for the costs of health care. But, health care was never designed to give the payer a free ride from health care costs. You use it to help pay in part your costs for health care. Great health insurance does not guarantee great health care.

Today, free health insurance has become an entitlement in the minds of many Americans. This notion has sprouted legs in our culture because many businesses, in order to retain good employees, either have given their employees free health insurance as a perk or have limited the cost. But still, its not free. Either the employee pays it or the employer pays it.

On the other hand, health care is not health insurance. Yet, like every other aspect of our nation's economy, it is a business which many people make their livelihood on. A profit motive here is not necessarily a bad thing. With the profit incentive comes research and development for new life saving drugs and clinical procedures. In my last blog, I wrote about a friend whose father has pancreatic cancer. Several years ago, this would have been a death sentence. Now through extensive research and development (fueled by profits), new drugs and therapies are extending his life.

Here are two facts about the future impact of a public health care option funded by the government:

1- Quality health care will diminish. The government plan will pay health care providers less money for their services, reducing the profit incentives. Plus, the government option will eventually put private insurers out of business. Less pay means fewer docs and other health care providers. Privately owned hospitals will also contract or be bought out by a government run option similar to the current VA system. Once again, see Canada if you want a peek about hospitals under government operation.

2- Taxes will increase. Conservatively, the additional tax burden on American taxpayers will exceed 1 trillion dollars each year if Obama's plan is implemented. This is a cost our families cannot afford to bear.

I am all for helping fellow Americans access quality health care. Helping the helpless is a big deal for me. Reforming our broken health care system is a family issue, something that the Rocky Mountain Family Council deems as vital to our families. But, helping the clueless is a different story.

No comments: