Monday, October 08, 2007

Lowering Health Care Costs for Everyone

From In order to bring health care costs down, it's important to understand what makes them so artificially high. John Stossel at Real Clear Politics sheds some light on this important issue:

Control Your Own Health Care
Candidates for president have plans to get more people health insurance. Some would compel us to buy it; others would use the tax code to encourage that. Regardless, insurance is the magic that will solve our health-care problems.

But contrary to conventional wisdom, it's not those without health insurance who are the problem, but rather those with it. They make medical care more expensive for everyone.

We'd each be better off if we paid all but the biggest medical bills out of pocket and saved insurance for catastrophic events. Truly needy people would rely on charity, not government, because once government gets involved, unintended bad consequences abound.

If people paid their own bills, they would likely buy high-deductible insurance (roughly $1,000 for individuals, $2,100 for families) because on average, the premium is $1,300 cheaper. But people are so conditioned to expect others to pay their medical bills that they hate high deductibles: They feel ripped off if they must pay a thousand dollars before the insurance company starts paying.

But high deductibles may be the key to lowering costs and putting you in charge of your health care.

Five years ago, the Whole Foods grocery chain switched to a high-deductible plan. If an employee has a sore throat or a sprained ankle, he pays. But if he gets cancer or heart disease, his insurance covers it.

Whole Foods puts around $1,500 a year into an account for each employee. It's not charity but part of the employee's compensation. It's money Whole Foods would have otherwise spent on more-expensive insurance. Here's the good part for employees: If they don't spend the money on medical care this year, they keep it, and the company adds more next year.

It's called a health savings account, or HSA.

CEO John Mackey told me that when he went to the new system, "Our costs went way down." [...]

(bold emphasis mine) The article goes on to describe the many ways this plan has worked out to benefit both the employer and the employees. I have high deductible health insurance, and a Health Savings Account. All my deductible medical expenses can be paid out of that account; Dentist, Optometrist, Doctor, Chiropractor, even Acupuncture if I want it. With insurance, I'd have to have separate Dental insurance. Eyeglasses or contacts are not always covered. Alternative medicine like Chiropractic and Acupuncture are often not covered by insurance. The HSA account allows ME to choose the kind of care I want, and how much I want to spend on it.

Last year I had a severe gall bladder attack; before the year was over, I had surgery to have it removed.

I used up all the money in my HSA account, but not long after that, my high deductible insurance kicked in, so I didn't end up spending a lot out of pocket. But I was also in charge; I wasn't sure I wanted the surgery, and was able to explore options and have addition tests, because I was paying for them, not the insurance company. That experience has made me a BIG believer in HSA accounts.

Read the rest of Stossel's article to see the affect this freedom has had on Whole Foods Employees. The freedom to choose works out best for everyone.

Related Link:

The Democrats corrupt use of children; lying to promote government sponsored health care:

Graeme Frost and the perils of Democrat poster child abuse
I feel sorry for the kids; it's not their fault that their parents couldn't be bothered to buy health insurance, but spent their money instead on things like business real estate and private school tuition for their kids, among other thingsWhat a sham. It would seem the parents feel entitled to spend their money on luxuries, while the rest of us pay for their insurance.

This isn't the first time Democrats have used children falsely to promote government health care. Remember what Hillary Clinton did in 1994:

Hillary's poisoned poster child

The Media was there while Hillary was using this child as a prop, but where were they when the real sordid story broke out?

1 comment:

Bob's Blog said...

Another very high quality post. Thank you!