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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Problem with Health Insurance

I am very thankful for my wonderful, generous bosses and the excellent and kind employees working for the company mediating between my place of work and the health insurance companies. Because of them, I feel I am blessed when it comes to health insurance.
That said, I often wonder about the concept of insurance itself. Isn't there something fundamentally wrong about paying a company an exorbitant amount of money "just in case" something bad happens to us? This seems very non-Christian for several reasons.
First, isn't it wrong to fear what will happen to us tomorrow? Aren't we told that tomorrow's troubles are enough for tomorrow? Isn't this kind of thinking a little contrary to what Jesus told us?
Secondly, these companies are making a whole lot of money off our fear. Isn't profiting off someone else's worries of tomorrow even worse than worrying about tomorrow?
Finally, I will never be convinced that being taken care of when you are sick is a privilege. Isn't taking care of the sick what we are commanded to do? How is socialized medicare really socialism, or to not beat around the semantic bush, why is socialized medicare ethically harmful, if Americans are to believe socialism itself is harmful? What is wrong with everyone paying the same tax rate toward medicare? Don't we have enough wealth as a nation to take care of everyone? For people worried that this isn't fair--hey buddy, you still get your big-screen TV, your yacht, your giant house--the only detriment you have is the satisfaction that as a hard-working American, you are ensuring that your fellow man need not worry about what random harm may come to him.
For those worried that doctors will make less... let's face it, doctors will still do well, and do we not want those who become doctors to do so because they truly want to help people?
This topic really bothers me. Statistically, modern nations with socialized health care are far healthier than us. Why don't we join them?
I feel that most people put to thought on this issue will see that we should. The only people with anything to lose are those employed by the insurance companies--and with all the money everyone will save that is not going to insurance, I think enough jobs will be created to pick them up...of course the executives making millions may not be so lucky in finding comparable work.
All of the money paid to insurance companies is easily far more than how much we as a nation would collectively need to pay in taxes to take care of everyone. Otherwise, how else would insurance companies profitably exist?
Some people worry they will not get as good a care if everyone else is getting the same care. For those people worried about this, repeat the previous sentence in your head slowly five times. Think about how you feel when you see an innocent human being or a child hurt. With that image in your mind, mentally repeat the first sentence in this paragraph five times again.
Still feel the same way?


jess said...

I just had this discussion with a co-worker over lunch the other day. I was lamenting the state of insurance and truly believe that all preventative and "regular" health care should be provided for all citizens. Check-ups, dental care, etc. (Dental care seems to be getting lost in all of this, but my place of work does not provide it. Thus, most of my co-workers do not have dental care.) I asked my co-worker if she would be willing to pay more in taxes if she knew everyone would be taken care of, at the very least in the basics of health care. She responded that she already pays enough.

I replied that maybe what we need to do is reform the way bills go through (so that pork is pretty much eliminated), and maybe we'd have more money for the things that matter: people. She asked me if I was calling for socialism. No, but I do think that many other countries have some of these things more settled (even if they do pay higher taxes). Why do we feel that we (the United States) have all the answers, while people die from tooth infections that could have easily been prevented?

I don't have all the answers, but I do think that people are not willing to open their minds enough to see that what we're doing? and what we're thinking of doing? is probably not enough.

(My verification word is "ninteat." What the heck?)

Stephanie said...

after working in the hospital and watching people -with- insurance getting rejected for things their DOCTORS thought they should have that their insurance didn't... i'm quite slighted against our current health care system as well. did you read that book i gave crystal last year? i think you'd like shane claiborne. his solution (that he practices) is to form a community of people who pull money together and then give to whoever has a need. because... it's hard not to prepare for -anything-... because then we'd also have no retirement or college funds for our children. it'd also be hard to ever save up for a house if you never thought about tomorrow (but maybe that's how it's supposed to be...?)

Nicholas said...

Jess: I wonder how your friend would feel if the savings from not having to pay for health insurance anymore meant that even with higher taxes, she was paying less.
I too do not understand why people think that just because we are America, the way that we do everything at this exact second must be the best.
Stephanie: Which book was that? I definitely believe in preparing for tomorrow when it is just being wise, but for me the health insurance business is the antithesis of that scripture I mentioned.

Jim S said...

I dunno, this issue is one among many that defies an easy its most fundamental though it seems like a lack of empathy. What possible difference does it matter if you call it "socialism" if it can help so many people? How can I possibly put a couple percent of my income above some mother watching her child die simply for lack of money? I'm not really a Christian, but I'm human. If being Christian helps that's cool, but it should be enough that I'm human, you're human, I don't like to suffer, so I understand what it is for someone else to suffer and not like it.

If someone wants to argue mechanics, that one way of doing it is more efficient than another, then absolutely, let's figure it out. But that's not the debate these days...its some are trying to do something (quite imperfectly and becoming more so by the day), but the other side is trying to stop anything by telling everyone the other side wants to turn your grandparents into soylent green and move the rest of us to collective farms.

-Rant off, sorry, just finished work and generic soul crushing hotel rooms get old after a while.


Nicholas said...

"the other side wants to turn your grandparents into soylent green and move the rest of us to collective farms"
These are of course the same geniuses that draw Hitler mustaches on Obama because he is so obviously exactly the same. Wanting health care for everyone is right on par with murdering 6 million Jews.