Yes, reader(s)....I'm still alive. It's a season of memories and not enough time to think about them as life does still seem to go on.
A couple of folks have missed the blog, so I thought I'd make an attempt at a post. Know that what you are about to read is pure opinion, shamefully unsourced. But it's that kind of a day...kind of rantish.
So, for your consideration, some random thoughts on health care.
1. I've given up on trying to follow the permutations of the "health care bill" until, at least, one makes it to the floor of Congress. Seeing key provision after key provision go by the wayside in committee, in pursuit of utopian bipartisan support, has proven too frustrating. Our Democratic majority seems unwilling to stand up to special interests and the media, even in the face of the public's desire for significant reform.
2. We would be hopelessly naive to think that the insurance industry is going to place the availability and affordability of a private health plan over the profits it will generate. We need a public option. Maybe you know: did some of the obvious, simple solutions go by the wayside when I wasn't looking? Why not open federal or state employees' health plans to individual buy-in? Or do the same with Medicaid? Surely the government has had enough experience with Medicare premium programs to figure out a workable procedure. Or maybe not.
3. And yes, I have private health insurance. But since The Man and I are self-employed, we pay for it. And I mean PAY for it, an exorbitant amount, to the tune of a small car every year. While we hear about the problems of the uninsured at every turn, we don't hear much about those of us who already purchase insurance in the private market. A public option would give us a chance to take advantage of a large buying pool or maybe even force insurance companies to create buying pools due to competition. Ask anyone who buys his or her own insurance without employer contributions: we need relief.
4. Is it even possible to get to the bottom of why health care costs so much? Depending on the source, we can blame trial lawyers, insurance companies, big pharma, greedy doctors. Who knows? One interesting, informed opinion can be found in "The Cost Conundrum," initially published in The New Yorker.
5. Why are people worried about "the government instead of doctors making health care decisions" when our doctors' choices are already influenced by what private insurers will or will not cover? We now have a system where actuarial tables and statistical medicine determine, to a huge degree, the care we receive. It's my understanding that doctors actually have more freedom under Medicare and Medicaid than they do under some major health plans. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here.