Health care reform

I thought I could go to sleep without writing about this, but it seems I can’t. Anyd stopped by “my morning office”—otherwise known as the couch in the lobby—to tell me what he has been thinking about the whole health care reform ideas. And the point he makes is a valid one—why is health care tied to jobs?

He says, Why don’t we shop for health insurance in the same way that we shop for car insurance—on an individual basis. Why does my HR department decide what benefits I can have this year? Why can’t my wife get insurance on her own instead of being tied to mine? Why do people who don’t work, or work at small companies, have to pay extra for health insurance to make up for the good deals my large corporation negotiates for me? Why do I have to change my health insurance every time I change jobs and go without it when I’m between jobs? I’m not allowed to go without car insurance when I’m between jobs. I’ve had the same car insurance company for 15 years. I negotiate my rates and terms with them directly. I don’t have to call my HR department to deal with a car insurance claim, so why should I have to deal with HR for a health insurance claim. And isn’t that against my right to privacy?

There are so many benefits to what he is saying. Here are some of the things that should change.

1. Companies should stop offering health insurance as a benefit.

2. Companies can use the money they currently pay for health insurance to raise salaries to compensate.

3. Companies can eliminate positions of people who deal with health insurance (apologies to these people).

4. Insurance Plans start dealing directly with individuals and offer plans in the same way that we get car insurance (those people who lose their jobs from Companies might find a new one here). This should help make the rates more competitive for everyone.

5. People get to pick from all the available health insurance companies, not just the ones that their company offers.

6. People can keep the same insurance provider for as long as they want, not dependent on keeping their job or staying with the same company

7. People can choose a company based on what doctors they want to see rather than choosing a doctor based on what Insurance Plan they picked.

8. People should be able to change their plan at any time, not just once a year. (This will also force Insurance Plans to lower rates to be competitive)

I still don’t have a good solution for those who can’t afford to pay for any insurance. I think we need some sort of system in place. This is where car insurance and health insurance differ—I can choose not to own a car. But I’m also against free-loading.

I’m a big fan of the idea of non-profit health insurance. I don’t think that insurance companies should be getting rich from me being healthy. My being healthy should benefit those who are less fortunate than myself, not those who decided to place bets that I might be healthy. But I guess that is what insurance is all about. Legalized gambling on people’s lives.

So what do you think?

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