My Health Care Story

Submitted by david.reagan on Sat, 10/03/2009 - 14:53

I'd like to tell you about my recent experience with the health care system.

I am a 24-year old, full time college student who has no job. Because of this I have no health insurance. This really isn't a problem for me, since I usually only get a cold maybe twice a year. But recently I started having bad stomach pain. Long story short, it took about a month to figure out that I had gallstones. Thus, I would say I have a good perspective as one of the uninsured millions, on how well our health care system works here in the USA.

First off, there are definitely problems with the system. But, I cannot see how the health care plans that are being discussed in Congress right now would fix things.

The first problem I encountered was swift access to a doctor I could afford. My first recourse was the college health clinic. Visiting the doctor there is free, but they are quite busy. I got lucky the first two visits, but then ended up with an appointment weeks away. I also called an office near where I live, but the soonest I could get in was a week later. Eventually, I ended up giving up on trying to stand the pain, and went to Urgent Care. This is where I finally found out I had gallstones.

The second problem I encountered was cost. The visit to Urgent Care was almost $200, and the ultrasound that found the gallstones was around $360. As for the surgery to remove my gallbladder, I still haven't found out the total cost, but it's over $1000.

The third problem is related to cost. When I talked to the surgeon about how much things would cost, he was unable to give me a good answer. Just a very loose estimate.

So, if you like the current plans that seem to, collectively, be called Obamacare, you may be thinking, "If he had been insured he could have figured everything out sooner and the insurance would pay for it." Sure, the insurance would have paid most of the costs, and I would have gotten an ultrasound sooner, but it would ultimately be more expensive.

Think about it, I'm young, I barely go to the doctor. That wouldn't change much if I had insurance. For decent insurance, I'm looking at around $100+ per month. And the deductibles I've seen are far higher than my surgery cost. Even if the insurance covered it for me, I'm still looking at spending the same amount or more on insurance over a year as I would having surgery. That's hardly helpful. And it also is one of the major reasons that I consider Obamacare to be so flawed, it acts as adding a bunch of regulations to the health insurance industry will fix everything.

Obamacare does say that it will lower the cost of insurance. I do not understand how that is possible, proponents keep saying it will be deficit neutral, but they never actually explain how. Insurance companies work by making a profit. Thus they adjust rates according to how much they end up paying the health care system. Yes, they could get by on slimmer profits, but I doubt that would lower premiums and deductibles much. The only way to make insurance work would be to have the government paying the extra cost. And that just means that I am still paying more via taxes. Or, considering how the federal budget looks now, my grandkids will be paying for my health insurance for when I was a 24 year old.

Obamacare solves the access problem by making it worse. It adds millions of new patients to a system that is already barely able to keep up with those who are already in it. Not to mention the thousands of doctors who have said they will likely quit if the bill is passed.

Here's how we solve the access problem. More doctors. The government should make it easier, and more lucrative to become a medical professional. More doctors equals easier access, and also equals more competition, which means lower costs. If there is anything in Obamacare that does that, I have not read it or heard about it.

Obamacare solves the cost problem by mandating that everyone have insurance. First off, I'm a free American, forcing me to spend money on insurance when I don't want to is wrong. It is the Government totally overstepping it's bounds. That's the kind of stuff that King George was doing that started the American Revolution. Secondly, as I explained above, insurance does not help people who do not need lots of medical care.

The way to solve the cost problem is relatively simple. Increase competition. Break the insurance industry away from being connected to employment. Allow insurance companies across state lines. Cut down the amount of time doctors have to spend doing paperwork. Stop frivolous medical lawsuits. Help the manufacturers of medical equipment lower their prices with tax cuts. More doctors. And I am sure there are a ton of other ways out there.

Again, for the third problem, Obamacare doesn't seem to do anything. And to be blunt, I don't know that the government could do anything to fix it. But the medical establishment should figure out a way to estimate costs for patients better than they do.

So, people, don't support Obamacare. There are so many things wrong with it that I could write a book on it. Plus, it doesn't even address the real problems in health care. Instead, look for the real problems in the health care system, and find ways to fix those problems.