It's funny how that works. Opt out, and you get cheap or free health care.
Opt in, and you pay a fortune for insurance.
As an example, one of our business partners was in town this weekend. His company employs about 50 people, and he has been struggling with health care coverage. His out of pocket expenses for employee health insurance is $500 per person... per month. His employees have to pay out of their pocket around $500 a month (depending on family, existing medical conditions, etc). That's $12,000 (combined company and individual premium costs) per year per employee. He even said a few employees are high risk, paying up to another $500 per month.
Anyone see a problem here?
I do. The problem is the current system and how it's structured. Health care costs are rising much faster than inflation. There are many reasons. One is like the video above... paying for the freeloaders. Another is lack of tort control and reform. Malpractice insurance is through the roof, thanks to uncontrolled and unlimited lawsuites. Lastly, a big problem is lack of competition and free market.
So how does lack of competition fit in? Well, it's due to the health insurance companies. Health insurance takes away the consumer choice. They give you a list of certain doctors that you can see, so you don't research prices, quality, etc yourself. This eliminates the competitive market. With competition gone, prices artificially inflate. Insurance companies, in order to keep up with price inflation, turn around and increase premiums for coverage.
What's an example of price inflation? Well, a friend of mine recently went to the hospital with an injury to her finger. She cut her finger, and fractured one of the bones. She was there for 2 hours in the hospital, got an X-ray and a few stitches. The cost? Over $3,000 for that simple proceedure. Do a few stitches and an X-ray cost that much? No, they don't. In comparison, I've gone to a clinic (not a free community clinic or anything, just a regular one) for an X-ray and stitches. The X-ray cost $50, the stitches were $100. That was it. As you can see, there is a pricing problem. She went through her insurance for her health care. I just went to the closest clinic available because I was gushing blood like crazy... and the hospital was too far away. My expenses I paid out of pocket, without ever calling my insurance company (I had high deductable at the time, so it wouldn't have mattered anyway).
So how do we get health care costs under control? Simple, we fix the broken market. Get malpractice lawsuites under control to bring down doctor's costs of insurance. Second, restructure the entire health care insurance industry. Health savings accounts (HSA's) are a great tool, but need to be changed. Why is it that the government puts such a low cap on how much you can contribute to HSA's each month, but has no cap on how much you spend, how much you take a loan out, etc? Reform HSA's so you and your employer can contribute larger amounts. Restructure health insurance to be a high deductable coverage for major and/or long term health care problems that HSA's can't afford.
If consumers use HSA's, it means they keep the money in hand instead of giving it up to insurance companies. This also means that consumers now have an unlimited choice of doctors, and take personal responsibility for their own healthcare. This means they can shop pricing and quality of care, and the market in turn becomes competitive. Doctors now have to compete with each other to get customers, just like any other industry. In order to attract customers, you have to provide high quality at a reasonable and fair market price.
In the end, health care costs come down to a normal and affordable level. People are more responsible for their own health care choices, meaning they will also more likely take care of themselves better (the U.S. is currently one of the most obese countries in the world). There's a lot of good that can come out of this simply by allowing capitalism to work properly in the health care industry. In the end, it means less, not more, government involvement in day to day health care.
Ok, end of my rant.