Healthcare Costs, not Health Insurance Costs could be the Problem.
Article by Didier Moujaes
We are facing a healthcare crisis in America. But it may not be the one that everyone’s talking about. Much has been said in the news lately and in political campaigns about the health insurance crisis in America, and the problems of the 47 million and growing Americans without access to affordable health insurance coverage. Now these things are a problem to be sure. But let us take a minute to look at the problem another way. It is not really the costs of health insurance that is the main problem in the country’s health system; it is the cost of healthcare itself. The cost of healthcare in this country is ridiculously high and skyrocketing. If medical insurance fees are also astronomical it is only a reflection of the actual high costs of healthcare. True healthcare reform should be targeted at reducing the cost of healthcare, and not necessarily the costs of health insurance.
Consider this. What is the purpose of insurance, any insurance? Forget about health insurance for the moment. Think about other insurance you have in your life, such as auto and homeowners. Those insurances have been designed to protect us from financial ruin in the event of an unforeseen crisis like a car accident or a major windstorm. Similarly that was the intended original purpose of medical insurance, but somewhere along the line that got skewed. Some states have recently enacted plans the require persons to purchase medical insurance, much like all states require you to purchase car insurance – so that is a good thing. However once again do you expect your car insurance to pay for the gasoline you put in your car or the routine maintenance you do like oil changes? Do you expect to have your homeowner’s insurance pay for every time you re-paint your walls, or replace a light bulb in your home? No of course not. And why? Because those everyday expenses are affordable, we expect our insurance to cover only the catastrophic expenses – except when it comes to medical insurance – we expect it to pay for everything – and why is that? Because the cost of everything in healthcare even what should be reasonable and affordable expenses like doctors visits and medicine are astronomically high. And why is that?
There are many reasons, and they go well beyond a simple article like this one. However here are a few of the tops according to economists. In other industrialized nations, healthcare costs are kept under control through government regulation. But here because of the influence of powerful lobbying groups for the insurance and drug industries the government has done very little to regulate or place any ceilings on the costs of healthcare. We also live in one of the most litigious societies on the planet. Lawsuits against doctors and healthcare organizations filed by class-action attorneys looking for million dollar payouts terribly drain the system. In many states, high malpractice insurance costs cause physicians to raise and raise fees, and have driven doctors out of practices all together, causing shortages in certain specialties. Supply and demand – less practitioners in a given specialty drives up costs. Fear of lawsuits has also encouraged the practice of “defensive” medicine, where doctors will often order additional tests or procedures to avoid litigation. And it goes on and on. If we really want to solve the affordable health insurance crisis here in America we must first make healthcare in general more “affordable.”
About the Author
Didier Moujaes is a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Consultant. Together with his partner created InsuranceBuddget.com, an insurance marketing company which represents several top rated medical insurance carriers offering affordable health insurance plans in all 50 states.