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What’s Your Excuse for Not Having Health Insurance?

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Despite the everpresent danger of unexpected illness or injury, about 16% of the United States population has no health insurance of any kind. The bulk of these uninsured fall in a low-middle income range and are in their 20s or early 30s. The majority of them are employed full-time earning enough that they don’t qualify for Medicaid and they are mostly young enough that they don’t feel immediately threatened by major health issues (for demographic details see covertheuninsuredweek.org).

Well over half of the uninsured earn $15,000 a year or more, but work at jobs where no insurance is provided by their employer. At that income level they could probably afford some sort of basic health insurance, but at that income a budget can be tight and they presumably choose to spend on other perceived essentials rather than insurance. I know I lived that way for many years, because I was young and healthy and didn’t even consider the possibility that I might get sick or injured. I got lucky and never needed insurance. I’m not sure that everyone can count on that.

While others may need government assistance, the insurance needs of this large group could be addressed without government intervention, which would cut the population of the uninsured in half. Many of those in this group may not realize that it isn’t as difficult to get insurance as they think. There are ways to reduce insurance costs and alternative sources for insurance which might make you think twice about deciding that insurance is something you can afford to live without.

First off, consider the cost of not being insured. It may save you money in the short term, but that could all be erased instantly by one major illness or even a relatively minor injury. For example, a simple broken bone can cost as much as $5000 to treat in a hospital – even more if there are complications. That would exceed any possible spare money you might have and would likely leave you making payments to the hospital as high as you would have paid for insurance for several years. That’s a real budget buster, so maybe you would have been better off with health insurance.

So how do you afford health insurance? There are ways you might be able to save money. Driving an older car, cancelling your cable television, eating bag lunches – each of these could save you $50 a month. Taken together that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but it might be enough to pay for a lot more health insurance than you expect.

In a recent article, BusinessWeek had some suggestions on how to make health insurance more affordable.

For example, if you’ve lost insurance because you changed jobs you can use the COBRA program to keep that insurance for up to 18 months, but payments are often higher than you may like.

One constant problem is the higher expense of getting insurance without being part of a group plan. But there are ways to get into a group plan. Some membership stores like Sam’s Club and Costco sell decent no-frills plans at reasonable prices with premiums as low as $50 a month for limited coverage with a high deductible. Local community groups, professional organizations and student groups may also provide access to group plans.

They also suggest using a Health Savings Account to put money aside against medical expenses tax-free, which can help if you have no insurance or to supplement insurance with a high deductible or copayments. Of course, if you are having a hard time finding money to pay for insurance you’re going to have a hard time putting money aside for a HSA. But HSA money can be transferred into a tax-free retirement account if it isn’t used, which is more attractive than just seeing your money vanish into insurance you never use.

They also point out that if you need health insurance more than you want a full-time job there are some employers who offer group health insurance to part-timers. Starbucks is a good example of a company that does this, not to mention having a 401K and stock options. This is a great option for a family with one parent who works full-time and one who wants to stay home with kids at least part of the day.

The BusinessWeek article mentions this, but doesn’t go into much depth. In a lot of states there already are programs to help out those in the gray area between Medicaid and being able to easily afford health insurance. They mention a plan called Dirigo in Maine, but there’s an even better system in Washington State which offers both cooperative-based community healthcare and subisidized low income healthcare from their Health Care Authority. Almost every state has subsidized health insurance for children under the CHIPS program, and many offer family plans as well. This sort of program usually has a maximum qualifying income, but it is much higher than Medicaid’s cut-off.

One other option is to just go looking for individual or family health insurance either with an independent broker or through the internet. BusinessWeek sort of glosses over this option, but it’s much more viable than you may realize. The idea of group health being the only way to get a good rate is really quite outdated. Websites like eHealthInsurance.com offer a wide selection of plans from lots of different reputable insurers in an a-la-carte format which lets you find the insurance that’s right for you.

Despite the hand-wringing over rising insurance costs, the quotes I’ve gotten online suggest that almsot anyone earning that hypothetical $15,000 a year income ought to be able to afford passable health insurance without cutting too many expenses. For $150 a month or less they can get surprisingly good coverage. For example, a 27 year old male has a choice between plans with high and low deductables and with and without a copayment at a price under $150 a month.

Basically, the higher your deductable and the higher the copayment the lower your monthly premium is going to be. You can trade off deductable level against copayment level to find the right fit. I would advise against a percentage based copayment under any circumstances, because it could leave you paying a very large bill for a major operation.

A plan like the one offered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield for $112.50 a month with no copayment and a $1500 a year deductible would certainly be sufficient for most. If you really want to just be covered for maintenance and real catastrophes there’s an Aetna plan with a $56 a month premium with no copayment and a $5000 deductible. The no-copayment plans also usually have no cost for doctors visits as well.

The high deductible is where a Health Savings Account could come in handy. If you took the $56 a month plan and put another $50 a month into the HSA you’d be in good shape after a couple of years. And even if you had to pay some or all of the deductible out of pocket, it’s a finite one-time cost no matter how much medical treatment you need.

So the question is why, if you can get decently insured for about $100 a month, are so many people who can afford it going on living without insurance? It’s likely a function of ignorance and the feeling that they are young and healthy and invincible, but it’s not really because they can’t afford it. Increasing public awareness of both the need for insurance and the options available at reasonable prices could potentially cut the number of uninsured by half or more. Unfortunately the people who could benefit from this advice probably aren’t reading this weblog and they certainly aren’t reading BusinessWeek.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Shark

    Wow.

    Things in America are just hunky-dory for those living below the poverty level!

    Just give up that cable tv and take a brown bag when you go to work at that $8 an hour part-time job!

    Next Nalle article:

    “Iraq a Great Tourist Destination”

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Shark, I see the ADD is kicking in again. Where in this did I say one word about people below the poverty level? The group I’m addressing is those earning $15,000 or more. They earn at least 50% more than the poverty level and make up half of those who do not have health insurance. And that’s not a $8 an hour half-time job, it’s $8 an hour working full time, and that’s the lowe-end cutoff of the group I’m talking about.

    And I’ve already done my article on Iraq as a tourist destination.

    Dave

  • chantal stone

    Dave….
    i happen to work with a lot of the people you described…..20- early 30-somethings, feel invincible, earn about 15-16k per year, of course, uninsured. and we work for an employer who offers health insurance for part-time employees. and surprisingly, most of my beloved co-workers choose not to use the health plan provided by our employer.

    most, i think, can get away with it, at least for now, but i do have one friend who has found himself in a position where he NEEDS medical attention, but can’t get health coverage until the open enrollment in November.

    although i think $100/month is certainly feasible on a 16K/year income if its something you absolutely deem as necessary, although a HUGE stretch, most of my friends (most single, no kids) have trouble paying their rent every month, let alone an insurance premium. it’s all about priorities, i suppose.

    thanks for the info, i’m definitely going to direct my medical-attention-needing friend to the links you provided.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I resemble that remark, Chantal. For about 10 years – into my early 30s – I chose not to have health insurance. My employers made it available, but didn’t pay for it. I think back then it would have cost me $50 a month for pretty good coverage, but I much preferred to spend that money on having fun, plus I was pretty sure I was indestructible. Turned out to be the right decision for me because I’ve always been freakishly healthy. But the moment I got married and had kids I realized that I needed to have health insurance and got it, even when it was a fairly major expense. Now I’m tussling with the ‘is life insurance worth it’ for 40-somethings issue.

    Dave

  • chantal stone

    Dave….if you have kids, then life-insurance is totally worth it….you never know when your computer monitor is gonna fall on your head or something. better to be safe than sorry.

    i’ll pray for your safety

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I think my LCD monitor isn’t actually heavy enough to crush my skull, but on the other hand, I might get fried by some of the Improvised Electronic Devices attached to it.

    Dave

  • http://asouthernbelle.blogspot.com Susan R-G

    For many years, I was covered by my s.o.’s health insurance through his corporation. Last year, when he bought his own business, I lost that fabulous group health insurance. He was able to get an individual policy rather quickly and inexpensively. I, on the other hand, could not find a company that would insure me. After nine rejections, a company agreed to insure me at a rate of $1,600/quarter for premiums, $1800/year deductible and none of my medications are covered (all are classified as pre-existing for life – out of pocket per month is over $1000). Granted, we make a decent income, but my insurance coverage and meds put a big bite into it, with no recourse or alternativea.

  • http://jeliel3.blogspot.com JELIEL³

    Health Insurance is my birthright… I’m Canadian.

    Properly funded Socialised healthcare brings new meaning to the saying NO ONE LEFT BEHIND.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    If you were covered by your SO’s insurance you ought to have been able to get COBRA coverage when he left his job, at least for 18 months.

    But yes, things are different if you have preexisting medical conditions, no question about that.

    Not that it helps you, but most people in the group described in the article are young and healthy and unlikely to have preexisting conditions. That’s why they are the ideal group that ought to be off the rolls of the uninsured and insure themselves.

    Dave

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I’m fortunate that the job I got right outta college offered pretty solid coverage for about $60 a month, which covers dental.

    Weren’t the “cash strapped” kids in college always blowing their money on booze, anyways?

    (P.S. – don’t hyphenate “cash strapped.” It’s a stopword.)

  • http://asouthernbelle.blogspot.com Susan R-G

    I find it a bit unnerving that severe migraines that I have had since the age of fourteen, that are all but completely stopped by a medication used to treat epilepsy (which costs almost $300/month), and controlled by imitrex (a migraine medication – approx $200 per Rx) causes me to be treated like a leper or severely handicapped. I also have fibromyalgia, which has been classified as an autoimmune disorder – putting me in a classification that really doesn’t represent the symptoms of the illness correctly and ‘labels’ me to a stronger degree.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Fibromyalgia is a serious illness. I’m surprised that with it you’re insurable at all. And I sympathize on the migraines. I had migraines from the age of 13 to the age of 15 – presumably hormone induced – which caused me to go blind and be immobilized by pain, and back then there were no drugs to treat them. Fortunately I grew out of them, but I sympathize.

    Dave

  • http://dianahartman.blogspot.com/ diana hartman

    per comment #4:
    there’s a big difference between freakishly healthy and freakishly lucky…one may well have been the former but one plays with fire thinking the latter had nothing to do with it…health doesn’t stand a chance against a drunk who crosses the center line into your car…some would say God only gives us that which we can handle and if that’s true then it’s clear some can’t handle much in the way of illness; but no one gets out alive…very few loved ones get out of having to pay the expenses of another’s death…again, that motorized drunk could be anywhere…

    without life insurance and a will, life for those left behind can get ugly, not as an exception but rather as the norm — and at a time when they’re grieving? i dare say not providing for one’s death is selfish…
    it’s not a question of “do i need this?”, it’s a question of “why am i waiting?”…

    if one can’t or won’t imagine what life will be like for those left behind without a will to guide them or a life insurance check to provide for them, then one ought to get it out of the way so as not to have to think about it anymore…
    death changes people…whatever you can imagine might happen will, in reality, be much worse than anything you could imagine…
    true, you won’t be here to see it, but again that’s a selfish disregard for those one claims to love…

  • Dave Nalle

    Diana, I’ll cop to the lucky as well as healthy. But in my 20s I’m not sure I needed a will as I had nothing and no one depended on me. Now that I’m older and have a family I have both health insurance and a will and a variety of other complex documents to go along with them.

    I don’t judge those who are young and with few ties who don’t have health insurance, up until the point where they become a burden on the state or their families. I certainly understand why they make the choices they do.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Funny how everybody just ignored you, Jeliel. Healthcare is your birthright. Good! It’s mine too – now tht I live in Israel. We paid all of NIS 0 when I had to go to hospital for a heart attack.

    We paid a fortune of money for health insurance in the States – and that was just one third of the premium with my wife’s employer picking up the rest. I pay NIS 396 (US$84) every two months to Bituahh L’umí. Drugs presriptions cost me an average of NIS 15 (US$3.25) per on average.

    Go find that in the States – anywhere.

  • Dave Nalle

    Health Insurance is my birthright… I’m Canadian.

    Freedom is my birthirght…I’m American.

    Dave

  • Dave Nalle

    Ruvy, if you adjust the cost of your healthcare for having a mean individual income about half what we have in the US, you end up paying a price comparable to some of the plans I discuss in the article.

    Dave

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    Freedom is my birthirght…I’m American.

    arrogance too.

  • Dave Nalle

    Freedom is a heady drug, Mark. Addictive too.

    Dave

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    yes, so is condescension.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “if you adjust the cost of your healthcare for having a mean individual income about half what we have in the US, you end up paying a price comparable to some of the plans I discuss in the article”

    Dave, I beg to differ with what you say. First of all, my wife paid $100 every two weeks for our BC/BS coverage. That works out to $2,600 a year. She made about $25,000. Just so you do not get confused, NIS means “New Israeli Shekels”

    So, if she was making 40% of her American wages, $10,000 (NIS 47,000 or NIS 3,900 per month), she ought to be paying $1,040 per year. That comes to about NIS 4,900 annually, or NIS 817 every two months. We pay NIS 396 every two months. We carry a supplementary plan for NIS 65 per month, or NIS 130 every two months. Add that to the NIS 396, and we pay NIS 526 every two months. That works out to $112 every two months. We paid $433 every two moths in Minnesota.

    Now bear in mind, I’m discussing a real plan, not a stripped down plan. We paid 25% of the cost of prescription medicine. Here we pay 15%. Mind you, I adjusted the income to 40% of American income, not 50%, and we still come out way ahead.

    But that ain’t all, Dave. We paid a $13 co-pay for doctor visits to regular physicians in Minnesota. Here we pay NIS 0. When I took my son to the doctor yesterday, I laid out exactly one goose egg. When I go see a specialist here, I pay NIS 18 ($3.85) per quarter. When was the last time you went to a specialist for $10, Dave?

  • lumpy

    I don’t see how health insurance is a right. are we unable to do anything for ourselves? why would I want the big nanny government to raise my kids and determine what medical treatment u should have and where I can live and how much I can earn. screw that. i’d rather die free and sick in a ditch than live as a slave of the stata.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Lumpy, have you ever slept under a bridge in winter? I don’t mean for a lark, I mean because you didn’t have a place to hang your hat.

    I have.

    When you’re okay, you can afford to have the attitude of not caring if you die in a ditch. When you’re not, or you have kids depending on you for food and shelter, it ain’t the smartest attitude to have. YOU may not mind dying in a ditch, but your kids might.

  • http://www.hootathought.blogspot.com Bird Dog

    Dave,

    I’m a former insurance underwriter for long term care insurance as well as individual health insurance. I’d probably take exception to most everything you’ve written. The phrase “probably could afford” at the beginning of the article speaks volumes. I do agree with some of your remarks however I see them in very simplistic, as opposed to realistic terms.

  • gonzo marx

    interesting that those who shout they are “free” and don’t want a “nanny” government to interfere in things like healthcare or “promoting the general welfare” of individual citizens tend to vote for the Party that feed billions into corporate welfare and cheers the saem government on with full trust as they lead the U.S. into pre-emptive war, undocumented (or judicially reviwed wiretaps), can’t seem to close our borders…, be nanny in our bedrooms and nanny regulating what’s on TV and in the media…

    on and on

    too fucking much

    Excelsior!

  • Dave Nalle

    Well bird, enlighten us as to what the missing details are. I just went by the Business Week article, my own experience with insurance and the information I was able to research on the net. I know there are all sorts of issues with prior conditions and qualifications for policies, but I was actually trying to keep things simple and general for the 80% or so of people in this group I’m addressing who could go out and get insurance if they were willing to bite the bullet and do it.

    Dave

  • Dave Nalle

    Gonzo, perhaps they don’t want the government to interfere anywhere at all, and when given the choice between a party which will interfere everywhere and one which will at least leave us alone in some areas they choose the lesser of the two evils.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    “the lesser of two evils”…who “don’t interfere”

    that is the fucking funniest thing i’ve heard in quite a while…let’s have a look at this “lesser evil”

    wants to overturn Roe v Wade (and nivade a women’s right to Privacy and Choice)
    record budget deficits (was a nice surplus)
    thinks the White House doesn’t need a warrant or court review to tap your phone or data mine the Net(ignoring FISA laws and the 4th Amendment, the “logic” being the presidential war powers in Article 2 of the Constitution…one problem here, Congress has NOT declared a War…but that doesn’t stop them)
    wants to “regulate” all media so it’s safe for “the children”…thus removing both the Choice from Parents but also Prental Responsibility
    says it wants to promote Education, then passes this new budget which cuts student loans and still doesn’t fund it’s own “no child left behind” regulations
    says it wants to help in healthcare, but cuts Medicaid/Medicare funding…while touting it’s own “drug plan” that cost MUCH more than it claimed it would cost…but made it Law that there could NEVER be any negotiation with the Pharma Corps to improve pricing

    on and on…

    record “pork” spending while cutting services to Citizens, yet increasing corporate welfare…

    lobbyists, DeLay indicted, Libby indicted for perjury and Obsctruction of Justice…Abramoff pleading guilty in 2 states….more Fun to come from ALL of that in the months to follow

    but these bastards are the “lesser” of the “evils”, whose concern over your privacy are so great that they want ot regulate who can get married while they peek into your bedroom to see if you are commiting “sins” with who you Love

    fucking spare me…k?

    tnx

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    “Freedom is my birthright…I’m American.”

    Ditto, but it’s the birthright of us all…even in lands where it’s not recognized at all.

    Government intervention has made getting good medical care harder in this country than it has to be, but not as hard as it is in countries where you have to wait for months to get an urgent operation. The answer in both cases is rolling back the interventions and instituting a fully free market in health care.

    A fine article, and I’m amazed at the venom with which some persons greet the knowledge that they have the means to be more self-sufficient than they want to be.

  • gonzo marx

    interesting..a “free market” for health care

    and here i had always thought the root of the current problem was when Doctors stopped pursuing a Vocation to Heal and instead greedily executed a business model where Profit was the prime motivator

    like the pharma corps

    your mileage may vary

    Excelsior!

  • gracefulboomer

    “I don’t see how health insurance is a right. are we unable to do anything for ourselves? why would I want the big nanny government to raise my kids and determine what medical treatment u should have and where I can live and how much I can earn. screw that. i’d rather die free and sick in a ditch than live as a slave of the stata.”

    For 23 years my family was treated by the Big Nanny Government. Government Socialized Medicine by Government paid physicians, surgeons, and health care personnel, in Government hospitals, clinics, and Big Nanny Government auditoriums. Well baby checks, immunizations, preventative medicine, scheduled vision, hearing, learning disorder screenings, advanced placement testing, language skill, scoliosis, any other -itis or condition and other screenings, x-rays, dental, pre-natal, labor and delivery (the food was not covered) prescriptions, 1 MRI, 3 sprains and a fracture, 1 arthroscopy of the left knee, and the various scrapes and stitches of active children. Little leather and rubberized handmade heel lifts placed in two (limit) pairs of shoes at one time – new ones every three months and then at six month intervals (unless a shoe size had changed) for 12 years. Really it is hard to remember all of the medical services. Probably a lot more. Really, I am sure a lot more.

    Every now and then the Big Nanny Government even offered very nice bags of Big Nanny Government bulk purchased generic products of aspirin, tylenol, alcohol, peroxide, assorted bandages, cotton balls, antibiotic creams, anti-diarrhea, sinus, and other items to make up a well stocked home medical kit . Free Big Nanny Government learning clinics and certified Big Nanny Government speakers or equally certified community guests who addressed such issues as ‘How To Control Cholestrol’ ‘Connecting the Dots Linking Poor Dental Hygiene To Heart Disease’ ‘Fit at Thirty, Forty, Fifty’ ‘Fitness for Life, Not Just For Readiness Exams’ ‘Lose Baby Fat The Safe And Effective Way For Good’ and easily available booklets and leaflets (or they could be ordered at no charge) on nutrition, child development, music and mental health, increasing mental skills- you name it if the government printed it or deemed it worthy to buy in bulk it was there for those who were interested. Not one of the above examples were mandatory or compulsory, although my friends from the ‘outside’ in the states sure enjoyed the lectures when seating was available. No one took your name down if you passed on the goodies, either.

    The Big Nanny Government also offered van or bus service to the Big Nanny Hospital or outpatient clinic when the spouses and their children were restricted by space to one car limits, and for the younger lower paid enlisted rates who simply could not afford a second auto or on all overseas bases.

    LUMPY#22- I can’t recall even one time that the spouse or kids felt like either slaves or chucking it all and living in a ditch. I do recall large-letter poster notices from the Big Nanny Government explaining detailed ‘Patient Rights’ and ‘Informed Consent..’ It is insulting and mean-spirited to suggest that members of the Armed Forces of the United States do not raise their children. That was a personal ill-informed grade A head-in-ass low-rent accusation to make about the finest group of soldiers and sailors the whole damn world has ever produced, and even more insulting to the spouses and *those kids* who love them. Shame..shame.

    I am quite sure also that ‘pre-existing condition’ makes absolutely no sense if you think about it.

    Silly me, I had always thought our neighbors to the north – Canadians- were free.

  • http://dianahartman.blogspot.com/ diana hartman

    thank you gracefulboomer…this family has been getting the goods of the Big Nanny for over 20 years and i gotta say i’ve wondered for a long time why the civilian citizens of the united states haven’t demanded the same…
    it should surprise no one that my healthcare options are greater coming from Big Nanny than for my civilian counterparts who see Dr Deductible…

    you’re already paying for someone else’s healthcare with your taxes…why is it such a stretch to insist, dare i say expect, that it pay for your healthcare as well?

    but hey, that could just be the slave talking…

  • Dave Nalle

    Government intervention has made getting good medical care harder in this country than it has to be, but not as hard as it is in countries where you have to wait for months to get an urgent operation. The answer in both cases is rolling back the interventions and instituting a fully free market in health care.

    Really good point, David. I wonder what a really free market in healthcare would be like. It might bring us back to gonzo’s idea of physicians who heal first and profit second. There was a movement at one point to try to create physicians cooperatives, but it got largely squashed by the big hospitals and the insurance companies. The idea of these cooperatives was that you would pay in advance to subscribe to basic health maintenance services from a group of doctors, and they would have a reciprocal arrangement with a hospital for their patients to get treated. Where it was tried it seemed like it was substantially lowering costs and improving and personalizing services, but try to find one of these health coops now.

    A fine article, and I’m amazed at the venom with which some persons greet the knowledge that they have the means to be more self-sufficient than they want to be.

    An awful lot of people are intimidated by the challenges entailed in truly being responsible for themselves.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I guess you Yanks don’t want to deal with the fact that other nations have better access to health care than Americans do, eh?

    When you find that you are poor and in the process of having a heart attack, that stripped down vesion of medical care (a $1,500 deductible?) doesn’t bring a lot of comfort. Some would rather be dead. But on the other hand, poor people dying does reduce poverty, doesn’t it?

  • Dave Nalle

    Ruvy, there are certainly some things that need to be fixed in the US Health Care system. In the article I reference the Washington State system, and IMO it should be a model for the rest of the states to follow. It does very much what is needed to close the gap between private insurance and Medicaid and does it pretty efficiently. I may have to write an article on it.

    However, when you do have a heart attack, a $1500 deductible is very little to spend – even if you’re one of the working poor – to be treated by a medical system which has double the survival rate for heart disease of many European systems. $1500 and alive beats free and dead every time. Plus ‘free’ healthcare isn’t free, you just pay for it at the point of a gun at tax time.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    oh shit! dave nalle is in my state! i knew there was something creepy about the place… although i’m more in agreement with him about this issue. we do have a less-than-perfect… sometimes less-than-adequate… health care system here. it’s true. but! socialist systems may not work either. the wait times can be deadly.

    an old roommate of mine was from… sweden? denmark? one of those cold places. they have a socialist health care system. he said that if two people entered the system with the same problem on the same day, the system would look at their worth to society. if one was a minimum wage-making 40-something, and the other was a 30-something corporate pig, the corporate pig would go through. on the other hand, if the minimum wage-making 40 something was only up against an 85-year-old pensioner, the 40-something would go through. maybe it could seem fair to the inhuman state, but who makes these decisions? how is one person to judge the worth of another? what gives them the right?

    i really can’t say i totally believe him on the subject (he never had anything good to say about socialism… but he did grow up under it…) because it just seems so wrong. but, that is what he said. anyone ever heard of anything like this?

    our system may be flawed, but i’ve never died under it. never had to wait for anything other than a teeth cleaning. and taxes in countries with socialist health care are outragous. so, really, there is no free health care there, only compulsive health care, where you have to wait forever to get treatment and you may be judged by your perceived “worth” to society.

  • Dave Nalle

    Zing, I live in Texas. Is that where you are? Or did you get confused by my reference to the Washington state healthcare system?

    As for people from Denmark. I had a friend in college from Denmark. He would come into his dorm room every night so drunk he didn’t know where he was and then urinate in the corner. I think that says it all.

    Dave

  • nugget

    so, all the Danes are insured, pissing drunks?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Pretty much, Nugget, but the Finns are worse.

    Dave

  • nugget

    yikes. Thanks for the article by the way. I won’t get lost in this rhetorical war concerning redistribution responsibilities.

    I’m 24 years old and currently chewing on health insurance options. Practically speaking, it gave me more insight than I had.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Dave, you wrote,

    a $1500 deductible is very little to spend – even if you’re one of the working poor – to be treated by a medical system which has double the survival rate for heart disease of many European systems. $1500 and alive beats free and dead every time.

    That’s nice. If you have a heart attack, and if you have the $1,500 that you badly need for luxuries like rent, food, etc., you can just piss it away on deductibles and get another heart attack realizing that you’re dead broke. Sounds like a plan!

    Just to note for you, I know nothing about Europe or its health systems. But I know that the hospital I went to for my heart attack is the most advanced in the country, and others from other countries hustle to keep up with it.

    You know from my other articles that I have no love for the government here. But in all but one field (transplants) I’ll match up Israeli medicine against American medicine any day of the week and probably come out ahead.

    You know – all those Jewish doctors…

  • Dave Nalle

    Ruvy, like any insurance it’s a gamble. Limiting your total risk to $1500 with no guarantee that you’ll have a major illness is a good gamble. And with payment plans, $1500 is $100 a month for a year and a quarter. Not an unbearable burden.

    You know – all those Jewish doctors…

    Have happy mothers.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/whats-your-excuse-for-not-having/ Mark

    Everybody has other things to worry about and pay for, but everybody also gets sick or injured at some point. There is no good enough excuse not to have health insurance for you and your family.

  • kristen

    Recently I am seeing a lot of people holding “fundraisers” for themselves when they’ve run up hospital debt without insurance. It cracks me up- the nerve they have to say “I was too irresponsible to protect myself and now I have alllll this debt and could you guys bail me out?” I ran into an older friend the other day who handed me an invitation to come give her money for her hospital bills. She was driving a $70,000 BMW she inherited from her mother. So obviously she’s not bad enough off to sell her fancy car. The nerve!
    Insurance costs money, so does rent and food. If you want to roll the dice fine, but don’t come back crying expecting me to pay for it when this incredibly stupid plan goes awry.

  • Igor

    Well the whole insurance system is now a game, a game whose rules are set the lobbyists who give marching orders to congresscritters and presidents. And the rules they set are tilted against the ordinary citizen and in favor of the insurance companies.

    You don´t have a chance. Especially if you try to play it straight. So, you can´t blame the guy who´s trying to game the system on his own behalf.

    Anyone at all could arrive at the hospital steps and discover that his insurance company no longer covers that specific malady, or that they can trace your problem back to some disallowed previous condition, or that some bureaucrat at the insurance company has moved you malady from one list to another.

    Being an insurance company customer is like being a broken-field runner returning a punt. Good luck.

    I suggest trickery and cheating instead. If you can believe the Miami Herald (and a number of other fish-wrappers available at your local newstand) insurance companies are bilked out of tens of billions every year. Sounds promising.

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