Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Achilles‘ Heel of Healthcare Reform

Having spent 25 years in the insurance industry, I learned the Golden Rule: "You cannot insure a burning building!" Whether right or wrong, the working model for health insurance companies is: "You have to buy the insurance before you get sick.” If this was not a requirement, everyone would wait until they got sick, and then they would buy their insurance on the way to the hospital. Our current healthcare system, as well as all health reform proposals, struggle to balance the need for people to have health insurance versus turning people away when they need urgent care. Since a compassionate society does not turn away people when they need care, we have various safety nets to allow the uninsured. to receive the care they need. The question not being asked is: if we are requiring people to have health insurance as a matter of law, then it stands to reason that, compliance would be higher, if the punishment for not having health insurance were them being turned away at the emergency room. Thus, the counter argument is: If people can still get care at the emergency room even if they're not covered by the various insurance schemes, why should they bother getting coverage??? In many large cities; as many as 35% of the drivers do not have automobile insurance, even though it is required by law. As every driver knows, there is always a chance of getting pulled over for some reason by a police officer and being asked for your insurance card. So I ask; “If 35% of the people don't have mandatory automobile insurance and they're aware of the severe penalties, why should anyone believe, that requiring medical insurance, will have a better compliance rate, unless the penalties for not having insurance, are extremely severe?" Alan

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