General Question

Sunny2's avatar

What do you think about being required to buy insurance?

Asked by Sunny2 (18758points) March 27th, 2012

With all the talk about the health bill requiring people to purchase health insurance, (unless they are unable to afford it, in which case the government will help pay for it), I’ve seen no mention of the fact that states require car owners to purchase automobile insurance. Any comments?

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96 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I think it’s fair.

It is easy for people with health insurance to criticize. They already have insurance.
It is also easy for people without health care to criticize. They know if they have an emergency they will still be treated.

Until hospitals are permitted to turn people away for nonpayment we need insurance.

syz's avatar

People (and politicians, who I’m not certain I would classify as “people”) have been talking about the US health care system being broken since the 1960’s. And yet, no one has ever actually done anything about it. Until now.

I agree with @LuckyGuy. We who are lucky enough to have health insurance are paying for those who do not. Having the entire population on health care means that the costs go down for all of us.

That health insurance companies have been allowed to drop their members who actually get sick, that those who could potentially afford health insurance are turned away for pre-existing conditions, that all of this happens in an environment where insurance companies are making record profits – that is criminal!

We are, by many measures, one of the most advanced societies on the planet. And yet much of our populace lives on the edge of disaster, living in fear of becoming sick.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t like being “required” to buy anything, but it is what it is. I’ve been joking for awhile now that next thing you know we’re going to have to purchase insurance to push a shopping cart.
Shop at your own risk but don’t run your cart into anyones heel. lol

Sunny2's avatar

@Coloma What about the auto insurance issue?

serenade's avatar

States have different powers than the Federal government (at least on paper), but I think being required to buy health insurance is utter horseshit and this idea only exists at the behest of for-profit healthcare. This is single-payer turned inside-out, and if there were such a thing as real “reform” as I think most imagine it should be, then we’d simply expand Medicare to cover everyone and issue a tax appropriately.

The whole debate as it is framed today is a giant red herring and a lose/lose proposition for most people no matter whether it passes or fails.

sinscriven's avatar

Car insurance makes sense though. You want to protect your investment, and you have a duty to the society to insure against damage that you may cause by accident or by stupidity.

Health insurances doesn’t make sense. You WILL get sick, and you WILL need medical attention. it’s a matter of when and how much, not “if”. A problem with massively inflated costs in the healthcare field is because everyone assumes insurance is going to pay for it, and since they only pay a portion of the cost, they will raise prices to recoup the difference. If health insurance didn’t exist, things would be priced at a more reasonable level that actually makes it cost effective and doable for the patient to pay.

syz's avatar

@sinscriven That seems exactly backwards to me. If you “WILL get sick”, then doesn’t it make more sense to have health insurance? To use your example of the car insurance, don’t you have a “duty to society” not to inflict the cost of your own health care on everyone else? (If you don’t have health care and so don’t get medical care, you still cost society by being unable to work, etc.)

Coloma's avatar

@Sunny2 I guess it is because everyone knows that car insurance is mandatory, and I agree with @syz insurance companies are criminal in their dealings. I have a friend right now in her 50’s with lyme disease and crohns disease who has been dropped due to her health issues. $100’s of thousands down the drain for no care after paying into the system for 30 something years.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Coloma. I have no trouble with people not having insurance – if they agree to either pay for their care in full – or not use health care at all.
I thought I was a healthy guy in perfect health. I ate right, exercised, never smoked, was not a drug or alcohol abuser, perfect BMI, no risky behaviors,... and then “Wham” I got kicked in the nuts with a rotten prostate diagnosis. I cannot imagine how bad it would be to be worrying about paying for the treatments on top of going through recovery.
I never thought I would need it. I thought health care was for fat, old, out of shape, smokers.
Surprise! I guess that’s why it’s called insurance.

sinscriven's avatar

@syz can you elaborate?

My point is that obviously insurance is a gamble, but health insurance is less than a gamble of what if, but rather a game of how much money they can suck out of you before you die. Insurance provides little if any added benefit to healthcare besides being a middleman inflating prices and interfering in medical care.

tedd's avatar

Here’s where it’s obvious to me…. At some point in your life you are going to need medical care. NO ONE will never see a hospital. If you don’t have insurance when that happens, the rest of us foot the bill (either through the government covering your tab, or through our increased premiums because insurance covers the tab). So you not having insurance, is going to cost me money when you end up injured for some unforeseen reason.

It’s basic responsibility imo.

tedd's avatar

I think the obvious solution would’ve been to implement a public option. Private companies could still operate, and no one would have to buy any insurance…. But everyone could buy it, and based on the models present in Europe and Canada (that actively compete with thriving private markets over there)... we probably would largely opt for the public option.

In fact something like ⅓ of all the people who said they didn’t like the healthcare bill when it was passed (not sure about today).. hated it because it didn’t have a public option.. as in it didn’t go far enough.

syz's avatar

@sinscriven So your philosophy is that each person should save or somehow have available the financial means to pay for any and all possible health issues?

I seriously doubt that any but the so-called 1% would be able to do that.

Sunny2's avatar

Since the government now has control of what doctors who accept medicare patients may charge, it may also put some limits on what can be charged for treatment under an insurance plan. Medical treatment facilities in state run heath programs, which I have personally observed, in Scotland, Russia, China, and Kenya are considerably less elegant than in the U.S. That overhead alone raises the prices for the U.S. So does malpractice insurance, the demand for the absolutely latest machines and equipment, and insistent requirement of immediate attention, affect costs. Doing away with middle men like insurance companies is now practically impossible. Where are we heading, I don’t know; but I hate the idea of people not having care, no matter what their status.

nikipedia's avatar

Universal health care would be better; this is a step in the right direction. Count me in.

Qingu's avatar

@sinscriven and others, the problem is if you start to regulate how insurance companies can treat their customers, you also need to credibly control costs.

If I make a law that says insurance companies can’t screw over customers by dropping them from coverage when they get sick—or by denying coverage to people already sick—fine.

But now you’ve created a situation where healthy people have no reason to buy insurance. Why pay for insurance now when you can just wait to buy it right when you get sick? The law says the insurance industry can’t stop you.

So now you’ve got a problem where only sick people are paying for insurance… which makes it catastrophically expensive.

What’s your solution?

jca's avatar

The question was asked in reference to auto insurance, not health insurance.

Auto insurance is necessary because an auto accident can cause hundreds of thousands in medical bills. Most people don’t have that kind of money at their disposal. It can also total a car, which can be a whole other ton of money. Most people don’t have that kind of money either. People would be defaulting on car loans, because they might not bother to pay off a car that no longer existed and the banks would have no recourse other than lengthy and expensive court battles. People would be going to the hospital and requirihng rehab and all that other stuff, and who would pay for that? Taxpayers? So hence the need for auto insurance.

Sunny2's avatar

@jca The same is true for illness. The taxpayers are paying for it if the patient doesn’t have insurance. My question is about just that. We understand and don’t object (perhaps, anymore) about auto insurance, but are fighting about health insurance.

john65pennington's avatar

My state use to not having auto insurance as mandantory. Now it is and it has made a big change in he way people drive.

We should have had it years ago. If I have auto insurance, then everyone should have auto insurance or not drive.

What I don’t understand is what took the legislators so long to pass a law requiring it.

funkdaddy's avatar

My wife works in a hospital ER in an underserviced area. By the last numbers I’ve heard, 18% of their patients pay ANY of their bill. The rest receive care just the same but ultimately everyone’s costs are inflated to cover the fact that so few actually pay. Many don’t see a doctor anywhere else (I’d say most, but I’m not sure if that’s the case).

We (as a country) have decided it’s important to provide basic medical care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, but suddenly when that system is actually implemented to reflect the true costs there’s an uproar.

The total cost of healthcare is going to remain essentially the same, you’re already paying for it, but if everyone is responsible for their own bill you’ll actually be able to tell the cost of the services you receive.

There will still be negotiated rates with insurance and those rates are far lower than what people are asked to pay if they are uninsured. Right now the entire system is rigged to screw a sliver of the population who can afford to pay (or simply pay out of obligation) but are not insured.

Universal coverage will do away with the tricky accounting and let everyone see what services actually cost and what insurers actually pay. Until that happens reform is just shuffling around the fake numbers in new ways, creating new loop holes and exposing different parts of the population.

Ron_C's avatar

It would be better the they just started lowering the age for Medicare, slowly putting insurance companies out of business. The present health care law sucks but it is a lead into better healthcare for the country. Someday Americans will realize that it is immoral, expensive, and un-American to make a profit on healthcare, especially if all you do is fill out paperwork.

Thammuz's avatar

Yet one more step for the US to actually become a civilized nation. Yay!

Next step is to do away with insurance and have necessary health care procedures payed for by the state.

Ron_C's avatar

@Thammuz Unfortunately, there is a very real chance that the reactionary Supreme Court will rule against the mandate and set us back another 100 years. The trend these days is to increase the advantages of the very rich at the expense of everyone else and the Tea Party is just stupid enough to support that.

JLeslie's avatar

I think everyone should have to pay/buy for health and auto insurance (if they owna an auto). I do have a problem with how the health insurance industry works, and find it very bothersome people would be forced to buy into such a screwed up industry, but working on that is a separate isure.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Yes, well, with the insurance rates as they are and the more and more people going without, those are the only two options for many.
Get sick, live, and pay or die. ;-)

missingbite's avatar

Two things:

One, you don’t have to buy car insurance unless you want to own a car. I can’t, not own me. (poor grammar?) Big difference.

Second, the government doesn’t provide you or anyone with anything. We are the government and that is our tax money.

There are much better ways to revamp the healthcare industry. Government intervention is not the way to go. Most if not all government programs are poorly run, over budget and a PITA to deal with. (i.e. all the jokes about the postal service and DMV)

elbanditoroso's avatar

The whole health insurance debate is NOT about the constitution or states rights or anything like that.

It was an invented dispute (by the TP and the republicans) to diminish and dispute the democratic party and Obama in particular.

heck, most of the ideas behind the health care bill came from the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney.

Let’s be real clear here. This is all partisan and NOT about health care at all.

syz's avatar

@elbanditoroso Exactly. The health care mandate was actually a Republican idea.

flutherother's avatar

It makes sense to me to have insurance for both and health insurance is the more important. We have had a National Health system in the UK since the Second World War and I can think of few better ways to spend my taxes.

lonelydragon's avatar

While I agree that our healthcare is in dire need of reform, I do not believe that the individual mandate is the answer. The majority of uninsured people cannot afford healthcare on their own. Financially penalizing them will not change that fact, and will drive them further into debt.

As for the car insurance issue, I don’t believe the two are similar for the reasons stated by @missingbite.

dabbler's avatar

I think it’s a great idea for everyone to have medical coverage.

The obvious and provably least expensive option would be medicare E for everyone, but that is not on or even near the table.
Next best is this mandate thingie. It’s not perfect at all but I do believe it’s a step in the right direction.

rojo's avatar

I think of it as part of the price you pay for being a part of a society.

LostInParadise's avatar

I think mandated insurance is better than what we have now, because there are provisions that try to make the insurance more affordable and companies will not be allowed to refuse insurance because of prior conditions.

The right way to do this is socialized (yeah, that horrible word) medicine. We are a society and are affected by the health of others. The reason that most companies offer health insurance is because they know the cost of having employees out due to illness. The same holds on a national scale. Anybody who is unable to work due to illness creates a loss in overall productivity and may additionally create a hazard to others in the case of communicable diseases. Public health is a shared resource in the same way that public education is a shared resource.

Sunny2's avatar

@LostInParadise You can’t use the words “socialized medicine” in the U.S. without raising a great outcry. The term has been deemed totally unacceptable for over 75 years. The fact that it may be the best way to get health care for all, is beside the point. It’s one of those, “I don’t really know how it works, but I’m against it” things. Ignorance wins again.

ETpro's avatar

Wow, I got to this way late. @Sunny2 Great question. very topical. @LuckyGuy & @syz, Great answers.

I see a couple of responses I feel compelled to take issue with. @serenade My understanding of constitutional law is that states have no authority to do things that would be deemed unconstitutional. Per the 10th Amendment, states can regulate things not specifically enumerated in the powers of the federal government, but not in contradiction to the US Constitution. For instance, no state would have the right to re-institute slavery, or to ignore the clean water act and just dump all its pollution into rivers flowing out of its borders into other states.

@sinscriven Car insurance is actually a much better analogy than broccoli. To secure the general public good, it is vital that all drivers who operate motor vehicles carry insurance to cover the damage they might do to others. Some dismiss this example since there is no requirement that we drive, and once can avoid buying car insurance by not driving. But as important as having wheels is in today’s world, that’s a pretty flimsy distinction. We certainly need a car more then we need broccoli.

Interestingly, the same GOPers who stand on the Supreme Court steps and inveigh against the horror and tyranny of government forcing us to purchase something we don’t want are wildly at work in states where they now control the legislature and governors office passing bills that require women to get ultrasounds and other medical procedures they don’t want. I do not see how a woman refusing to have an ultrasound she doesn’t want and her doctor doesn;t think is medically necessary damages the public good. Enlighten me if you do.

But it is definitely NOT true that refusing to buy health insurance has no impact on those of us who are insured. The average US family pays $1,000 per year more for their health care insurance because of the cost of emergency room care for those without insurance. We, as a nation, can either decide we are going to allow emergency rooms to refuse treatment to anyone unconscious or unable to prove means to pay—just let them die—or we have to deal with the impact to the public good when young, healthy people decide to save money by going uninsured, and then have some catastrophic health crisis that runs up a half million or million in hospital fees. As to the let em die idea, here is a TED talk by Bryan Stevenson on how societies are ultimately judged. His speech got the longest ovation of any in the 28 years TED has held these events.

I don’t know how wealthy you may be. But let’s say you are worth millions. You have a massive heart attack and fall into an alley. A bum sitting there sees you pass out. He sees you are dressed like someone of substance. So he trundles over and removed your ID and money, than at least he flags a cop and tells them there is a guy passed out in the alley. They rush you to the ER but you’re out cold. You have no ID. They have no idea who you are. Are you fine with them just letting you die because you aren’t in a position to prove you can pay for a triple bypass to save your life?

@missingbite I’m an old man now and since I was old enough to be aware of politics, politicians have claimed they were going to fix the runaway costs of healthcare magically without government intervention. Through all those decades, costs have escalated at 3 to 5 times the rate of inflation. Healthcare is now 1/6th of the total US economy. No promise that government can fix it without government intervention has been true. Surprise, surprise. Isn’t it amazing how often absurd claims are found to be nothing more than long-lived lies. But if you really have a plan for fixing the escalating cost of health care and providing coverage to everyone without any government involvement, please explain it. I’d be delighted if that could be done.

But truth be told, I think you are going to find that the failing of Obamacare is it does not involve enough government, not that it’s an overreach. What will actually work is Medicare for everyone. Maybe the Con-Man 5 on the Supreme Court will be doing us a big favor if they strike down the individual mandate so we can go back to 50 million uninsured, lifetime caps, cancellations when you get seriously ill, exclusions for pre-existing conditions and massively escalating costs and just wait out the final meltdown that will force the idiots in our electorate to finally do something sane about the problems instead of rely on industry crafted bumper sticker slogans convincing them to vote to be ripped off.

rojo's avatar

Health care is not the problem. How you pay for it and the cost of Health INSURANCE is the problem. What if we had NO health insurance, would the price of medical care be the same?

PurpleClouds's avatar

I believe that the mandate is unconstitutional. It cannot be compared to car insurance. You choose to own a car and are responsible for covering yourself from a liability standpoint. You do not have to cover your own car. That whole stupid argument fails in a big way!

ETpro's avatar

@vitro All but one state requires that you have a minimum car insurance policy to register a car and hold a valid driver’s license. New Hampshire does not, but it requires that to opt out, you must show personal financial ability to pay. But driving is not a basic human need. It is possible to live long and be prosperous without car insurance. Heath care is a basic human need. Like food, you won’t live a long and full life without it.

The commerce clause of the US Constitution gives Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce, and health care is definitely interstate commerce. The common good clause empowers Congress to act in the common good. Everyone having healthcare definitely impacts the common good.

Way back in 1824, a very conservative SCOTUS under Chief Justice John Marshall found in Gibbons versus Ogden that the commerce and common good clauses of the Constitution are plenary. There does not need to be a precedent for Congress to act. If there did, then nothing Congress has ever done would be constitutional, as nothing had ever been done by congress when the first congress convened. So all the blather about precedents and broccoli is just Con-Man posturing, looking for enough confusing gibberish to allow them to take care of their wealthy benefactors ewithout any real concern to what the Constitution says.

vitro's avatar

I thought we have been over this already….

It’s clear that it can regulate, but, “Dispute exists within the courts as to the range of powers granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause. As noted below, the clause is often paired with the Necessary and Proper Clause, the combination used to take a broad, expansive perspective of these powers. However, the interpretation of the Commerce Clause has depended on the Supreme Court’s reading. During the John Marshall era the Commerce Clause was empowered and gained jurisdiction over several aspects of intrastate and interstate commerce as well as non-commerce. During the William Rehnquist court era the Commerce Clause was restricted, thereby allowing states more control over business conducted within its borders.”

An example of this. The new deal was found unconstitutional, twice. If it was that simple it would be smooth sailing. Here is what former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist observed: “President Roosevelt lost the Court-packing battle, but he won the war for control of the Supreme Court… not by any novel legislation, but by serving in office for more than twelve years, and appointing eight of the nine Justices of the Court. In this way the Constitution provides for ultimate responsibility of the Court to the political branches of government. [Yet] it was the United States Senate – a political body if there ever was one – who stepped in and saved the independence of the judiciary… in Franklin Roosevelt’s Court-packing plan in 1937.” This is why under Justice William Rehnquist the commerce clause was restricted.

Here is another example from Congressman Ron Paul.

“On June 4, 2004, Congress hailed the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Act. Only the heroic Ron Paul dissented. Here are his comments.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to explain my objection to H.Res. 676. I certainly join my colleagues in urging Americans to celebrate the progress this country has made in race relations. However, contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.

This expansion of federal power was based on an erroneous interpretation of the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. The framers of the Constitution intended the interstate commerce clause to create a free trade zone among the states, not to give the federal government regulatory power over every business that has any connection with interstate commerce.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business’s workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge’s defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.

Of course, America has made great strides in race relations over the past forty years. However, this progress is due to changes in public attitudes and private efforts. Relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, while I join the sponsors of H.Res. 676 in promoting racial harmony and individual liberty, the fact is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not accomplish these goals. Instead, this law unconstitutionally expanded federal power, thus reducing liberty. Furthermore, by prompting raced-based quotas, this law undermined efforts to achieve a color-blind society and increased racial strife. Therefore, I must oppose H.Res. 676.”

ETpro's avatar

How nice. If only Con-men had had their way in the Great Recession, it could have lasted much longer. And the South could still be free to enact Jim Crow laws. Somehow, your story has not touched my heart.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here is an interesting interview with Hogan Gorman, the author of “Hot Cripple.” She was 24, healthy, with no health insurance and was hit by a car. Interview
How will we pay for this? Maybe the value of health care insurance could/should be counted as income on taxes.

augustlan's avatar

I’d rather have universal health care (single payer), but this will have to do.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Today, R.J. Matson came up with a solution for NOBAMACARE fans.
Sign it and carry the card with your driver’s license.

Sunny2's avatar

@LuckyGuy Great idea! I think I’ll print a few out.

Ron_C's avatar

Isn’t it strange that this “free country” is in the top 5 for executing people and the bottom 40 for health care?

JLeslie's avatar

@sinscriven I actually agree with you that health insurance is part of the reason health costs are high, but until there is socialized medicine, there seems little other choice. At minimum we should take the employer out of the equation, and increase competition since people seem so against socialized medicine.

We do treat the uninsured to some extent, whether it just be childhood vaccines or three months in the hospital and rehab from a bad accident. We all pay for that.

Every American uses the health care system at one point or another in their life.

flutherother's avatar

There is a situation in the UK just now which highlights the differences between private and public health treatment. 47,000 women paid to have cosmetic breast enhancement surgery done privately, an operation which is not normally carried out by our National Health Service. The silicone used by the private company was not medical grade and was actually intended for use in mattresses.

As there are potential health issues the women would like the faulty implants removed and replaced but most of the private companies involved are not helping so the women have turned to the NHS.

While the NHS are prepared to remove the faulty implants they are reluctant to replace them as this is an operation they would not have carried out in the first place. There is an ongoing debate about how this should be dealt with which you can read about here.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

whitecarnations's avatar

I don’t know all the details. Should will it be mandatorily taken off a pay stub? Or is it something every individual has to just purchase and prove they are buying insurance.

ETpro's avatar

JLeslie Generally, emergency room care is provided without regard to means to pay. But you should listen to the interview that LuckyGuy linked to above. It’s pretty abysmal how much coverage the system really provides. Certainly not 3 months in the hospital. At max, it’s a quick patch in the ER and you’re on your own. And even that is costing us who have insurance an extra $1,000 a year to pay for services emergency rooms provide to the uninsured, and never collect on.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro Yes, ER only cares you don’t die in front of them, and don’t create a major liability for the hospital in the care they do give.

whitecarnations's avatar

Pretty much this only applies to the poor and those working towards the median curve of income. But how does this benefit those who are already making about 30k with health insurance provided by their employers? Is it fair that someone making 30k has to pay for someone who is stuck in the ruts earning 10–15k as a lifestyle? Would it be fair if the 30k person helps pay for someones healthcare if they were working and going to college only? What about those who rely on government assistance for housing, food and insurance already, how will they be forced to purchase health insurance?

I feel everyone has to work towards health care. In other words earn it and provide proof of efforts. Depending on welfare as a lifestyle is already horrendous how will being forced to “put into a universal healthcare pot” benefit the guy who earned it (the person who actually paid attention in highschool) vs the person who didn’t earn it (the person who just flunked through highschool).

JLeslie's avatar

@whitecarnations I don’t think people on government assistance have to purchase, they already have health insurance through the government most likely. I guess maybe there will be some people who get on type of assistance, but not medical? Kind of fall through the cracks so to speak?

There are plenty of people who make decent money willing to risk not being insured, but who when in an accident or have an emergency will be treated. If they have no savings, there is percentage of them who will not pay for the service, or not in full. If they make decent money, have no savings, and are willing to take risks, they likely also are not a great credit risk. We need to protect them from their own personality of not believing bad things happen. Or, protect ourselves from what they will cost society monetarily. Or, we can get rid of our laws protecting people for emergency care.

I kind of wish I knew how I would have been treated, what scans and xrays would have been done, if I had come into the ER a week ago following my recent accident without insurance. I do feel I had one expensive unnecessary test while I was inpatient that I am going to challenge.

whitecarnations's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, so they fall into the same boat essentially, since according to their income as of now, they are able to most likely qualify for some sort of medical. So who does this affect? The 22 year old college student who is the son of two parents who earn 30k each but is forced by his parents to earn his own living in which they don’t provide any financial help? (My tone is low key! I’m just trying to see who is mostly affected). Obviously, it’s a great idea to have affordable access to health care, but I’m not too sure if young adults are ready to face a forced purchase of healthcare.

JLeslie's avatar

@whitecarnations I added more to my answer FYI.

Do you agree the parents should have the option to insure their 22 year old on their own plan? The parents are not responsible for the bills of the 22 year old legally. If he gets in an accident or sick, no hospital is going after them for his ER treatment.

If it were a tax, it would likely be a percentage, and much cheaper for a teen or 20 something at the start of their career, than a 45 year old well into their career. The young adult would have been paying into the system for when they need care later.

Right now you could pay $20k over 5 years time to Cigna, or pick whatever insurer you want, and then if you go out of work it counts for nothing. The government would recognize you have been a paying citizen over time.

whitecarnations's avatar

Then I’d have to say I’m against it. The poor are getting help anyhow and those who do make enough to afford healthcare but don’t should have that option to not purchase it. My personal opinion is that it is wise to purchase healthcare if one could afford it, otherwise I don’t think the government should be enforcing healthcare upon everyone. Unless it’s like the Canadian system where healthcare is universal and part of the tax?

Qingu's avatar

@whitecarnations, what’s the philosophical difference between the Canadian system (which forces everyone to buy health insurance through taxes) and forcing people to buy health insurance on the market?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@whitecarnations Children can now stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 as long as they are in college.

I do believe that everyone should have health insurance, but I’m not sure this is the right way for it to be done. Unfortunately, something is better than nothing at this point. If nothing else, it will get the people that are so vehemently opposed to it to think of a better plan in order to get rid of this one.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seaofclouds Apart of me thinks we should, maybe, go to an opposite extreme of being wholly ripped off beyond comprehension by the medical system, and middle class not being able to afford health care, let companies drop coverage, people be crippled, die, lose their homes and savings more than already, for their to finally be a very large consensus that America needs socialized medicine. Too many Americans don’t usually work towards the better thing, they tend to resist change, and only act when pain is so bad something different must be done. We are a country that tends to swing from one extreme to another, rather than calmly try to find the middle gound, understand some results are unpredictable, and when decisions made don’t work out exactly as planned, simply tweak/work towards better solutions. We are too black and white, too all or none.

The thing is what I suggested at the top is so inhumane we can’t stomach it. I can’t. So, I guess I go along with this terrible system we have, and people like Obama doing the best they can within it.

whitecarnations's avatar

@Qingu The philosophical difference is that in America health insurance is seen as a commodity. The more you pay, the more benefits you are able to receive whether it be through discounted prices or something along those lines. In Canada the sense that it is a tax, puts everyone on the same playing field when it comes to health care, none of this I’m entitled to go in front of Joe Shmoe because I work harder and feel more obligated. That’s the only difference I can see.

PurpleClouds's avatar

@Qingu The difference is Canada’s socialism. USA does not have and does not want that.

Qingu's avatar

Well, except for our socialized medicine for people over 65. People do love their Medicare. And the VA.

JLeslie's avatar

@PurpleClouds I see people all around me saying they don’t want socialism, and then I look at their situation and think they are totally naive. A friend of a friend just lost her husband, she is 55. She is left with about $20k in IRA money, $5k in the bank, and a truck worth about $10k she is going to try to sell. Her husband did not have life insurance. She is basically right wing on these types of issues, but she will be going to see about food stamps and other help this coming week. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think most Americans believe in helping each other when a temporary difficult situation is handed to them by the cruelties and unfairness of life. This woman has incredible integrity, she does not want to feed off the system.

But, I think she should thank God we have a system that takes money out of her check for social security. She has lived relatvely middle class, is in her 50’s, no other great tragedies in her life that would have zapped her savings (oh I forgot to say above she has a few thousand she owes for her husband’s medical bills right now) and so with the amount she has saved, I would say she needed the nanny state to force her to save via social security. She can work, and will, but she already has cancelled her cable, phone, and some other things because she is and will be so strapped for a while. She obviously was not very future oriented and did not believe things can go wrong.

Since a significant percentage of Americans live with huge debt and little savings, it seems a lot of people can’t be trusted, or don’t have the ability to secure themselves in their elder years. What are we going to do? Let older people be poor on the streets? Have no medical care? Suffer because the medical attention or medication they need is not affordable, and watch them die? Or, does it make sense to demand they pay in during their life so when we need to help them financially as a society, at least they have contributed.

The poor who live of the system ongoing is a separate category, I am talking about average hard working citizens.

Qingu's avatar

It may be possible for a human being to adequately predict the economic and medical risks she will face in her 80–100 years of existence, become skilled or lucky enough to earn money to cover those risks, and manage those finances accordingly over her lifetime.

But it sure seems unlikely. Which is why we have things like, you know, society.

JLeslie's avatar

Society. :)

Ron_C's avatar

You want to know if we agree with mandatory health insurance and I would like to know why it is even a subject? Part of the U.S. constitution is the right to the pursuit of happiness. How it that even possible without a reasonable expectation of health care. It doesn’t matter what you do or what other privileges or rights you have if you are too sick to enjoy them.

It is also morally reprehensible to profit from the misfortune of others. I grew up during the time of community hospitals and the function of Blue Cross and Blue Shield were non-profit organizations that processed the paperwork to pay doctors and hospitals. The idea that HMO and Insurance agencies could handle our health better than individuals is a tremendous blow to our freedom. The current opposition to universal health care is probably the most anti-American idea out there. They twist the truth and somehow make it acceptable for companies to make a profit on your pain. Ironically, almost half of Americans agree that they should have no say in their health care except to pay for a company to “manage it”. I just don’t recognize the country where I was raised.

whitecarnations's avatar

@JLeslie I think that story makes for a rather great read.

JLeslie's avatar

@whitecarnations What exactly do you mean? Does it make you think differently than before?

whitecarnations's avatar

@JLeslie Well it’s separate from what I think about the whole healthcare shebang. It’s just that your story reveals a perspective and told really well and understandably.

Thammuz's avatar

Fact: The US, in 2001 was #22 for expected healthy years, trailing behind Ireland of about 1 year and a half. Every western european country (you know, rich countries WITH public heath care) has a higher place in the chart except for Portugal.

Some countries that are just below the US:

# 23 Portugal
# 24 Czech Republic
# 25 Poland
# 26 Slovakia
# 27 Mexico
# 28 Hungary
# 29 Turkey

(If i can find more up-to-date data i will post it here)

missingbite's avatar

@Thammuz Do those statistics take EVERYTHING into effect like size of country and average wealth?

Simple fact is, if people in other parts of the world can afford it and get here they all want OUR health care. Every Western European country is tiny compared to the US and more people walk or bike much more than we do.

I agree we need health insurance reform but I don’t want public health care. This country has a long history of not having much success at government run anything.

Ron_C's avatar

@missingbite you are correct. Many Saudi royalty come here for treatment but not the treatment that average citizens get. They rent a floor of a hospital, have specialists flown in from around the world and insure that the best equipment and facilities are available for use. That care is comparable to what they would receive in Dubai or Germany. They choose the U.S. because the medical system is more easily manipulated and purchased.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t understand how the fact that super-wealthy people fly to the US to pay millions for health care is somehow worn as a badge of honor. Who gives a shit?

missingbite's avatar

@Ron_C Many people from Canada drive or bus across the border as well because they can’t get in to see a doctor when they want to.

@Qingu What it says is that we have the best health care in the world…..if you can afford it. Heath care and longevity aren’t always connected.

LostInParadise's avatar

@missingbite , I don’t know how to break this to you, but Medicare is in fact socialized medicine and it is very effective. We should ditch the individual mandate and extend Medicare.

Thammuz's avatar

@missingbite Simple fact is, if people in other parts of the world can afford it and get here they all want OUR health care.
Provided that they can’t get the exact same service where they live, @Ron_C already gave the example of saudi royalty, and there is a huge difference between going to see a doctor and actually getting treated. A diagnosis is small stuff, both when it comes to payment and as far as time goes. I seriously doubt you’ll see many canadians coming to the US for a treatement they would have to pay for themsemves.

What it says is that we have the best health care in the world…..if you can afford it.
Which means that you don’t. How many europeans do you see fleeing in horror from their own healthcare system to be treatred in the US?

I can give you an egregious example of “good health-care if you can afford it”: every fucking where in Europe. We still have private clinics where you can pay for the service yourself, instead of having the state pay for it, and recieve a better service (Private rooms, hotel level guest service, almost no waiting lists, etcetera), the difference here is that you don’t have to. One does not exclude the other and if you seriously think that biking and walking make any difference i will have to go change my pants, because i will piss myself with laughter. (By the way, the Italian health care system covers almost any procedure, save for cosmetic ones, and WE are ranked the third best health care system in the world, believe it or not.)

What really puts you in the shitter as far as healthy years go is your 30% obesity ratio, which is not because of that lack of biking thing, but because you people have terrible taste in food (on average) AND lots of poor people that would rather eat fast food than buy the ingredients and cook themselves a meal, which is ironic because here it’s usually those who cook for themselves that get fat.

Anyway, the reason i put up “healthy years” instead of general life expectancy, is because your system is notoriously shit at caring for chronic illnesses, and this statistic proves it. No matter how rich you are, you need to be fucking loaded to be able to afford constant care in the US, which means most people will, at some point or another, be royally fucked by an illenss they’re not able to get treated anymore. You’re dooming your people, up to and including upper-middle class, to fall victim of something they could easily get treated for much longer but won’t because they’d have to pay an outrageous amount of money for it.

Not to mention those who will not get insurance at all because they didn’t buy it ahead of time and now they have an illness they can’t afford to treat. Or that they can afford but means they will never be able to get insured again because they’re a walking time bomb.

Yours is a system that makes people sicker than they would be because of money, ultimately ending up wasting much more money as a result of all the dead weight these people amount to, ours is a system that spends just enough money not to have to spend more of it.

Guess which one makes more sense.

dabbler's avatar

“Many people from Canada drive or bus across the border as well because they can’t get in to see a doctor when they want to.”
You or whatever radio dope you listen to made that up.
Either that or you mean entirely elective procedures like a cosmetic nose job. Big deal they wait for that, big deal.

There are lots of people in the US who can’t get onto any doctor’s schedule at all. Period. Because they can’t afford and there is nothing about the US system that will help them.

ETpro's avatar

@Thammuz Thanks for bringing us back into the fact-based universe.

@dabbler Spot on.

Thammuz's avatar

@ETpro You’re welcome!

GracieT's avatar

@Thammuz, @dabbler, I so much want to give you more luv than I am allowed to. Thank you for responding to @missingbite. I just read his answers and was so incredulous I couldn’t answer. You also were able to bring perspectives that I couldn’t.

dabbler's avatar

@PurpleClouds “socialism. USA does not have and does not want that.”
Say’s who? Thank you for your opinion. The USA is not a single entity and I’m quite sure you do not speak for it, or all of us.

Plenty of people in the US would like a socialist form of healthcare.

And plenty more would a healthcare system that is exactly like a socialist healthcare system but does not have that word in it, because they don’t really know what that word means.
They just heard somewhere that it’s the same as the old USSR’s communism, or it’s something awful that the Europeans suffer under. Well, the Europeans, with some of the highest standards of living on the planet and some of the best life expectancies on the planet wouldn’t give it up for the insurance corporation and anyone with the extra cash in those countries can get deluxe care when they want.

What’s your problem with socialised healthcare?

Personally I think we’d be best off with a single-payer system. But a socialised system would be better than what we have. The best (most effective, most cost-effective) health care system in the US is the Veterans Administration’s, and that’s completely socialised.

ETpro's avatar

@dabbler, @PurpleClouds may have been taken in by the right-wing’s constant, deliberate misuse of the word “socialism”. It actually means an economic system where the government owns the means of production and distribution of wealth. Under socialism, everyone works for the government, and everyone gets a government paycheck which they cash in a government bank. It is beyond ridiculous to suggest that the US is close to that.

Every other developed nation on Earth has a single-payer or government provided health care system. The best seem to be single-payer with private healthcare delivery. We are at the bottom of the developed world in healthcare outcomes, and WAY at the top in cost per person. So we are doing it in an incredibly stupid way. Given what you wrote, I am sure you know that.

dabbler's avatar

@ETpro Sounds right.
And in my opinion it’s not useful to through out anything that smacks of socialism just because you don’t want everything run that way. I don’t want the whole country run that way myself, but some aspects are bets off in public hands.

Some systems, in particular those on which we all depend, lend themselves to socialist structure because the incentives are in the right places. Health care, water systems, education, electric power… all work as well or better run by government entities than when they are provided by for-profit corporations.

missingbite's avatar

@dabbler Sorry but really? Education in this country is horrible. Most Charter schools do much better and almost all home schooled children end up more educated.

Regulation I can agree with but the Government doesn’t force me to purchase electricity. If I so choose to live in a cabin without it, I can.

Thammuz's avatar

@missingbite I hope you’re not homeschooled or a product of a private school because, if that is the case, you’re working really hard at disproving your own point.

First off: almost all home schooled children end up more educated.
Considering that is the number 1 preferred choice of creationists and other such groups, I highly doubt that. Considering your country is home to such stellar educational institution as Patriot University, i also doubt the validity of many of your private schools. As a cherry on top, yes, even your public schools aren’t up to my standards, see Kansas.

That aside, your country is shit at running things. We’ve got that. It’s shit at running things because politicians have an interest in making them private so they can step in and profit from them.

Problem is you’re taking as if you think that government run==shit by default. That is not true. Fact. In most countries in the world it is the exact opposite.

Don’t believe me? Don’t care. Go check some statistics, pretend like you give a fuck. I already know you don’t, and you won’t, and I’m not trying to convince you, to be honest.

You clearly believe whatever you want to believe despite all the evidence, so i’ve decided to make my best effort preventing anyone from seeing any merit in your position via the medium of fact. Because I can.

“But i don’t have to pay for electricity, yet they still want me to pay for health insurance!”

I could be facetious and say that you do use your health every day, but that’s beside the point.

The point is this: true, you don’t have to pay an electrical bill. But you do have to pay taxes, and if you think that electricity comes to you at the actual price you’re so ignorant it stops being funny.

Electricity is partially payed for with everyone’s taxes so that everyone can afford to pay for it on a consume basis. This is what we Italians call “calmierare”, which means “to deliberately mandate a lower price on an article to allow everyone to afford it, by paying for part of the price with the state’s money”.

Public infrastructure is maintained with taxpayer money. All of it. Don’t use electricity? you don’t pay the bill. But the bill is just the tip of the iceberg, the actual price you pay, like everyone else, you pay every year in your taxes, whether you use it or not.

You don’t want to use public health care? Gotcha, no problem. If the state would pay x amount to have you undergo that procedure in a public institution, they will foot that amount in a private facility, the rest is up to you to pay. The state spends the same and you can have whatever you want, public or private, if you feel like throwing your money away.

The state would subsidize a certain quantity of hospitals where people could get treatement, payed for with the money from everyone’s taxes, free for everyone to use. Those who would rather go somewhere else will get some of the expense payed for by the state.

Just like now, with electricity. You pay the infrastructure everyone uses, regardless of whether you use it or not. And if you do decide to use it you get the same benefits as everyone else. The bill is irrelevant. It is a symbolic quota, it is not the way you actually pay for the service.

missingbite's avatar

@Thammuz I’m glad you are so concerned with all of our problems. Yea, Italy is doing great… With that said, I’ll reference facts for my home schooled remark.

Here is an excerpt from a recent study of homeschoolers: “According to a report published by the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, homeschool student achievement test scores were exceptionally high. The median scores for every subtest at every grade were well above those of public and Catholic/private-school students. On average, homeschool students in grades one to four performed one grade level above their age-level public/private school peers on achievement tests. Students who had been homeschooled their entire academic life had higher scholastic achievement test scores than students who had also attended other educational programs.”

One interesting facet of the study noted that academic achievement was equally high regardless of whether the student was enrolled in a full-service curriculum, or whether the parent had a state-issued teaching certificate.

The study states, “Even with a conservative analysis of the data, the achievement levels of the homeschool students in the study were exceptional. Within each grade level and each skill area, the median scores for homeschool students fell between the 70th and 80th percentile of students nationwide and between the 60th and 70th percentile of Catholic/Private school students. For younger students, this is a one year lead. By the time homeschool students are in 8th grade, they are four years ahead of their public/private school counterparts.”

missingbite's avatar

@Thammuz Also, thanks for making my point that I shouldn’t be forced to purchase health insurance because I already pay Federal taxes. Which I do pay unlike 51% of my fellow Americans.

Thammuz's avatar

@missingbite Yea, Italy is doing great…
Corruption has always been a problem here, which hasn’t prevented us from having the third best health care system in the world. We may be corrupt, but we like to be corrupt while healthy.

[the homeschooling bit]

Very well then, I stand corrected on that point. Too bad homeschooling everyone is phisically impossible, otherwise you’d be all set, wouldn’t you?

Also, thanks for making my point that I shouldn’t be forced to purchase health insurance because I already pay Federal taxes. Which I do pay unlike 51% of my fellow Americans.

If you want that reasoning to hold, you would have to have a public health care system. which you don’t.

If your taxes actually did go into the healthcare system, then you wouldn’t have to pay any form of health insurance. Why? Because the state would pay for your cures and you wouldn’t need an insurance company to pay for them.

As it stands, what goes out the door comes back in from the window and therefore they force you to pay for health insurance separately because a nation can not afford the consequences of having that many sick people go untreated. Untreaded illness results in death, which wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but it also results in disability that ends up on the state’s shoulders.

In summary: as it stands it’s perfectly logical for the state to force people to buy insurance. Were the state to introduce public health care without this transitional phase insurance companies would riot, and your economy would end up even worse. It is a needed transition. Next step is to incorporate the public insurance option in the taxes, then make it compulsory and fade out private insurance. Done.

Ron_C's avatar

@missingbite the way I understand it, when Ontario first started a single payer system, there was a shortage of MRI machines. The patients were sent to U.S. hospitals, usually in Buffalo, N.Y. the services were paid by Ontario Health. The situation wasn’t as acute in Quebec so they weren’t flooding into Vermont for those services. Remember health care in Canada is supervised by the individual provinces. Some provinces negotiate harder than others. I understand that the Quebec system drives a hard bargain with drug companies.

I worked for a Canadian company for many years and still travel to Canada quite ofter. I live in Northern Pennsylvania and I can get to Toronto faster than I can get to Pittsburgh.

Additionally, I have asked my Canadian counterparts about their system. EVERYONE of them said that would never want to go to the U.S. system and don’t understand what is wrong with people that fight against a single payer system.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C From what my father told me, what he has read, in the last 5 years many MRI machines have been purchased to correct the problem. Also, I onve saw a show about when Canada went to socialized medicine, and a lot of the citizens were against it, or worried about the transition. Now, years later, when polled the majority of Canadians, even thoughthey might havesome complaints, would never want to go to a system like America, or back to their old system. I actually don’t love the Canadian system, because there is still billing, so doctors still have incentive to do unnecessary procedures I think?

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I have been unlucky enough to experience socialized medicine in Manchester, England and in Toronto, Ontario.

It is a bit funny because you go into the emergency room and an Indian doctor does the preliminary work up then they send you to a specialist. It is exactly the same as the hospital in my home town. I wonder how Indian doctors got the lock on emergency rooms around the world.

I also had food poisoning in Singapore and the doctor that treated me was Indian. I think that India’s greatest export is doctors.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Possible. Some of our American cities actively recruit Filipino nurses, why not Indian doctors?

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I didn’t know about the nurses. I lived in the Philippines and really liked the people there and expect that nurses would be especially good at their jobs.

By the way, I wasn’t complaining about the Indian doctors but I am pretty sure that our small town hospital doesn’t have the resources to recruit from foreign countries. I expect that it was word of mouth where one Indian doctors tells a countryman how much he enjoys living in our area.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C You did not come across as complaining, not to worry. I understood you were just making an observation.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie good. I actually thought it was funny, especially at the hospital in Manchester. It was almost an exact copy of our local hospital. The main difference was at check in where they only asked for my name and address and why I needed emergency service.

I also had a gorgeous French Orthopedic surgeon.

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