Socialized Medicine, Bah, Humbug.

Warning- Rant Alert:

I very rarely post about serious issues. I usually use my blog for posting happy things, but I’m steamed, and I’m going to have a public rant:

I hate the idea of socialized medicine. I don’t really want my healthcare dictated by the same people who brought us the US Postal Service. Have you ever been in line at the post office? Yikes.

Here is my opinion folks: Medical Insurance is a scam. Now wait a minute while I explain. Insurance companies, like casino owners and stock brokers are gamblers. Insurance is all about the company betting that they will not have to pay out. The insurance company bets that your house will not burn down, that your car will not get in a wreck, and that you will stay moderately healthy.

The house always wins, remember. The medical insurance company makes money because most of us stay well, and do not get major illnesses. Most people just need regular, preventative medicine. Most people pay out thousands of dollars every year on medical insurance, and “lose” the bet  by staying well. If they make money by betting I stay well, how does that help me?

There is something very interesting I learned twelve years ago after I could not afford to have medical insurance anymore….

Not having health insurance is saving me money. I ask for, and get, a cash discount for all of my medical expenses, including hospital, eyeglasses, dental, and my regular doctor. Plus, my doctor prescribes the most cost efficient medicine when we need some. Not only that, but without insurance, you can talk to the doctor and just get what you NEED.

Medical offices do NOT like to deal with insurance companies. They very gladly give a cash discount because they are only treating you, not having to do a mess of administrative paper work. The prices are higher just because insurance is such a pain for the providers. Because of that, they do not mind passing some of the savings to those paying CASH.

(We pay cash for everything. We do not have credit cards. If we want to buy something, and we can’t pay cash, we do not buy it. We give up luxuries in order to save money for emergencies. We live like this because it is cheaper. We do not want to pay interest on purchases. No credit cards equals no interest. If you can’t afford to buy something NOW, how can you afford to pay for it later, PLUS interest? OK, I’ll get off my soapbox….Paying cash just saves money all the way around….)

Back to my rant: My hubby smashed his hand at work some time back, and opened a finger up really bad. Obviously it needed stitches, so we went to the emergency clinic. The doctor wanted an x-ray, but we asked if we really needed it. He looked at the finger, and felt it, and said, no x-ray was needed. In addition to not having to pay for the x-rays, we were given a discount for paying cash. If we had insurance, we would not have questioned getting the x-ray, and would have been charged full price.

For the last two years, I’ve been treated for a lung disease. I’ve paid cash the whole way, getting cash discounts from everybody I’ve seen. I even get a cash discount for the oxygen tanks I have to use when I go out, and the oxygen concentrator at the house. I have negotiated every stage of my treatment, not getting anything that was not necessary.

When you compare the cost of medical care between the insured and the not insured (those paying cash), you are not comparing apples to apples, but apples to oranges. As a person who negotiates each financial step of my medical care, I am actually getting a better financial deal than I used to what I had insurance. All the money I save my not paying insurance premiums I can actually use to pay my doctor and hospital bills. What a concept….

When the newscasters talk about the “uninsured” they are assuming that people who do not have insurance are not paying their bills, and are a drain on the country. That is very dishonest. Now that I know how the system works, I do not want health insurance. I especially do not want to be FORCED to pay for it by the government’s socialized medicine program. That should be my choice, no one else’s.

The concept of national health care is being sold to us like it’s going to help all the people who cannot afford health care. In reality, the taxes of people who cannot afford health care are going to be raised up so that the government can mismanage the money for another badly run system. Private businesses know how to make money. The US government can NOT run things properly.

For instance, I have paid into the social security system for a very long time. If I had been able to put that money in my OWN retirement plan, I’d have a lot better future to look forward to. The US government mismanages money so badly, that people older than me might not receive the social security benefits that they paid for all of their working life.

Please, Washington DC, don’t ask for more money from me until you show you can be responsible with it….

(That said, I am very happy that I was born in a country where you can complain about the government and not get punished…..)

X

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48 Comments

Filed under News and politics

48 responses to “Socialized Medicine, Bah, Humbug.

  1. Jen

    Thank you for having the intelligence to write about what I\’ve known for a very long time. I won\’t say any more here, but you\’ve scored a "hole in one" as they say. Gambling and betting. That\’s exactly it, X.

  2. X-Evolutionist

    @Jen. Thanks for seconding the motion. This has been bugging me since Hillary started talking about it. This rant has been boiling in me for a long time.

  3. Jen

    After living with certain conditions for many years, you start becoming very cynical. Enter, my own thoughts, which have been boiling for years on this, and similar subjects.

  4. John

    Hi X, thanks for posting the above, the tide seems to be turning on public opinion on the massive spending we are seeing (not going to get into it here). The cost and hidden paticulars of this plan added to the full court press to get it passed make me skeptical on how effective this program will be. Your observation is dead on, the problem is not the lack of access; the problem are the cost increases which are caused by – you said it, insurance. Malpractice, hospital facility, etc. are one cause, HMO deals are another, they are in it to make money, not save money for their clients, so there is price inflation. The poor in the nation use the ER for their primary care, having government insurance will not change that, just shift it from the ER room to the clinic room making the clinics overburdened. We need to address the root causes of the high prices and correct those, not just throw $1,400,000,000,000.00 at the problem. Despite Joe Biden\’s words, you can\’t spend your way out of debt. Thanks again!

  5. X-Evolutionist

    Rant bump

  6. Cynical

    Good rant! Especially in the medical (and mental health) fields everyone who isn\’t the doc or the patient is the house. Big pharm sells us meds for much more than they charge in other countries. Insurance companies have us coming (buy insurance) and going (but we\’ll decide what we\’ll pay out). With crazy huge malpractice awards by juries, docs either leave certain fields (OB/GYN, neurosurgery, neonatology, any area where the results of a failure is catastrophic) or have to charge high prices. Hospitals charge for high tech diagnostics and because they are people intensive organizations. I dropped out of being a Medicare Part B provider 10 years ago because collecting 50% of what they considered reasonable (always much less than the prevailing rate in the area) often wasn\’t worth the effort and time. It\’s good to bring this into the open.Peace, Doc

  7. X-Evolutionist

    Thanks, Doc and John. This rant had been inside of me for a long time. It feels good to have people agree with me. X

  8. Mandy

    All makes me sorta glad I live in England! Ok the NHS has it\’s problems, but blimey……….!!

  9. Greg

    Well written post! Can you imagine how much American\’s will have to pay in fines under Obama\’s socialized health care plan if they choose not to have it? Talk about taxation without representation!

  10. X-Evolutionist

    Yep, Greg, it\’s scary.

  11. Touch

    All well and good if you have the cash to negotiate with. Those of us struggling to survive on fixed incomes are faced with the choice of paying for life saving medical care and prescriptions or buying groceries and paying the bills. If you don\’t like the idea of government subsidized health care I suggest your first move be to demand our government stop dumping tax dollars down the toilet in Iraq. George Bush\’s oil war is costing the American tax payers $500,000 a minute! Spend that money on health care for American taxpayers and the health care crisis in this nation would practically cease to exist.

  12. X-Evolutionist

    Rocket Man, we are in no great financial shape. I was the main bread winner, but two years ago I could no longer do my job for health reasons. We gave up a lot of stuff. We ate macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles and we don\’t go out hardly ever. My hubby is only working part time because there is not enough work on his job. You just gotta do what you gotta do. Since we hardly have any money coming in, we have to manage it very carefully. We even negotiated the child support. We just plain could not afford to pay it. We know what it is like to be broke. But, we don\’t want to do what some people do and use credit cards. We can\’t afford to pay interest. We just get by. Good luck to you! X

  13. Cassie

    Since you have no income (as such) the government will not be asking you for more money. I notice that you complained about the post office..but the fact remains that when you send a letter via the post office it usually gets to the recipient—and as for "standing in line" the post office has it arranged so you can purchase stamps and so forth on-line so there are very few reasons to "stand in line" unless you are sending out Christmas Packages and when you consider that everyone else is doing the same thing lines are rather unavoidable (although there are hours even during holiday time when you can avoid the worst part of the crush).All in all, considering the volume of mail that moves around this country every day the government actually does a pretty good job. And one more thing…as you get older there will be age-related problems that can\’t be handled by doctor\’s offices and emergency rooms but WILL require hospitalization…and what is your plan for THEN?

  14. Touch

    As I understand it, a vocal minority in this country are saying we should just go without health care if we can\’t afford it. i didn\’t ask for a broken back or bone disease. my wife didn\’t ask for diabetes, heart problems or neurological disorders. Both of us worked hard forover 40 years, oaying taxes, social secuity and Medicare deductions. I\’m also a veteran and a former civil service employee of the US Navy. My position was abolished, along with 800 of my co-workers, in 2004. All of us were within 2 years of retirement (17 months for me) and we were stripped of health insurance and retirement benefits. I was reimbursed for the contributions i paid into the plan for over 23 years but lost the matching funds paid by the government. The letter ntifying each one of us that our careeers would end in 21 days stated "this is a better business adjustment bought about by budgetary cut due to the cost of the war in Iraq." That is a direct quote.After nearly a year of searching and over 100 applications I finally found a company willing to hire a 50+ individual who was not "over qualified". Less than a year later I had my accident and all of our savings, including the 401k, went for medical insurance co-pays and deductibles. We even maxed out all of our credit cards in an effort to avoid losing our home.When we couldn\’t afford the $1200 per month COBRA payments we lost our health insurance. This left my wife and I, both with life threatening medical conditions, reliant upon the charity of the free clininc which is supported wholly by donations and with ZERO tax dollars sfter the VA refused to treat me or help with medications. In the blink of an eye my family\’s annual income dropped for $50+k a year to less than $15K.Make do? Sure. Do you have any idea how much Social Secuity Disability Income pays? Are you aware that the annual cost of living adjustment on those benefits has been cancelled for the next 2 years? What should we do, pay for utilities or groceries or medications? Out of pocket costs for my prescriptions and my wife\’s total over $3,500 per month and those are the ones we have been warned are not optional. We have both been warned by our dcotrs, repeatedly, that failure to take those meds will be fatal.

  15. Touch

    Just a quick note to say I\’m not angry with any of you, despite the heated nature of my comments. I\’\’m just frustrated to be at the same point in our healthcare battles for the third time in five years. I hope no one took offense at my comments and if you did please forgive me. That was not my intent. I\’m fed up with the system, not any one person.

  16. X-Evolutionist

    Rocket, no offence taken. I totally understand your frustration. Please accept my best wishes to you and your wife. X

  17. Diana

    Great blog post. Recently, I have came to realise the same thing about medical insurance and indeed, all other insurances. For years, I was happy to pay for hospital plus extra services but only ever getting back 30% to 40% of the cost, generally on my glasses and dentistry services. Now I realized I’m much better off saving the extra cost and use it for those services when I need to. Since I earn above a certain level of income, I still have hospital insurance to avoid paying an additional 1% on top of the tax I pay every year.As for national healthcare in the US, how does the proposal work exactly? In Oz, we have Medicare which is nationally available for all people regardless of the level of income. However, we pay for this privilege by forking over 1.5% of our income every year – regardless of whether one has insurance or not. Medicare then determines the fees and charges for doctors and hospital surgeries. It works well in principle until doctors and hospitals start getting greedy and charge a lot higher than the scheduled fees. The difference is called ‘the gap’. Private medical insurance does not fill this gap. They only cover for services that fall outside of Medicare like hip replacement therapy or acupuncture. All useful services really. It also means there’s no discount even if patients pay cash. So regardless if you are insured or not, you are screwed either way. This brings me to your point about social security which I’m guessing is the same as compulsory superannuation over in Oz where employers pay 9% of your income into a retirement fund. I agree with you as I much prefer to have the cash in my hand to manage myself as evidenced by the global financial crisis. If there weren’t so much money floating around the markets from super funds, institutions would have been a lot more cautious in lending and investing. It’s the basic law of supply and demand and the basic philosophy of you will always take things that are in abundant for granted. As for the point about credit cards, with the advent of internet shopping, I found that it’s really convenient way to do my purchasing. Also, when I travel, it’s easier to use credit card rather than carrying big wads of cash. I think with credit cards, like most things, it’s a matter of discipline. But hey, my Mum has the same philosophy as you though.

  18. X-Evolutionist

    Diana Le: Thanks for writing! Great info. Re internet shopping: I use a "debit" card for internet shopping. It works just the same as a credit cart, but it takes money right out of my account, rather than me borrowing it and paying it back later. There is just something about owing money that makes me feel uncomfortable. X

  19. Jen

    Hubs and I have the same regulation. We both loathe credit cards and refuse to have them.

  20. X-Evolutionist

    Jen, It\’s nice to know somebody here agrees with me about credit cards. I\’m usually in the minority where finances are concerned. I\’ve been this way all my life. God wired me up to be thrifty. It was never a personal decision. I\’ve just always paid cash or done without. We save up for things we want. It did not use to be such a rare thing, but it is these days. X

  21. Jen

    I have to do this, X. We cannot afford to be in debt, even more so now we\’re both disabled. I was taught as a child, save up for everything. If you haven\’t got the money, you can\’t have the item. It\’s simple good management.

  22. Mandy

    Actually that makes 3 of us – I do own a credit card and an Amex – but they\’re for emergencies only! Amex isn\’t a credit card BTW (And I do mean emergencies, usually when abroad) but mostly use my debit card like X, which is better than paying by cheque because it more or less immediately takes the money – so no forgetting what I\’ve spent by the end of the week/ month!

  23. X-Evolutionist

    Mandy and Jen. I finally talked my mother into using a debit card. She had been buying with a credit card, and taking each expenditure out of her checking account so she would know how much money would be left after paying the credit card. Then, at the end of the month, she would pay her credit card bill off. It was a lot of extra work each month for her. The debit card statement now shows her where she spent the money. So, nothing changed except it\’s a lot easier for her. But, it took me a long time to convince her. X

  24. Jen

    I\’m glad she WAS convinced. Well done, X.

  25. Mandy

    I wonder are debit cards the same there, as here, now? I know American Express is considered a debit card, in the US (diners club too?) Our debit cards here, are issued by the bank and spends deducted from the account almost instantly, with out ANY charge, (like an instant cheque) but American Express takes the money out each month without interest charges but you are charged an annual fee.?

  26. X-Evolutionist

    Mandy, I have a Visa debit card. Itlooks just like a credit card. As far as anybody I do business with knows, it\’s a credit card. It works just the same. I\’ve never heard that American Express or diners club is a debit card. It might be that they have debit cards too, like Visa. I don\’t know. All a debit card does is take money right out of your checking account, as you use it. There is no monthly bill, it is on the statement as if they were transactions with checks. I\’m not sure about other fees, but debit cards don\’t have interest charges since you are using your own money, not borrowing as with credit cards. X

  27. X-Evolutionist

    @Everybody: I am resurrecting this old post showing my opinion of socialized medicine. My recent post on a CS Lewis essay was hijacked for a discussion of this. I thought I would bump my opinion. X

  28. ROCKET

    There is a simple way to handle this entire situation. Stop wasting money on propping up corrupt regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our troops home and pour the billions of dollars dumped down the toilet in those 2 lost causes into programs benefiting our citizens. The money wasted on Iraq alone would go a long way towards providing health care for all of our citizens without raising taxes.

  29. X-Evolutionist

    @Rocket: I see you found my Socialized Medicine Rant. X

  30. Fernando

    Haha, look at this:http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-16/limbaugh-s-costa-rican-jaunt-would-be-plug-for-social-medicine.htmlThanks Mr. Limbaugh for the free publicity and it would be great if all the insurance companies moved here, we would have a lot of income from the increase in medical tourism. Unfortunately I don\’t think that will happen, you can see he is just ranting. As an ironic side note, let me point out that we have socialized medicine.Very funny tough.

  31. Dave

    I suppose it\’s because I\’ve always had it, but I can\’t imagine why anyone would ever consider living in a country without a national health service. To me it\’s the one sure sign of a truly civilised society. I know our one has a few problems from time to time, but at least I know that if anything happens to my family or friends they will be taken care of without having their pockets rifled for credit cards. Talking of which, I\’ve managed to get past 50 without ever borrowing any money for anything, and apparently this means I have a credit rating of zero! Funny old world isn\’t it 🙂

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