Member Rara Avis
And only $14. is deducted from my pay.
Do you really believe, Denise, that you're getting decent insurance for only $14?
I used to play a lot of poker when I was in the service. I had a guy, once, after winning several hands in a row, gleefully announce he was now playing with my money. I felt like telling him, if it was my money I wanted it back. I didn't, though, because I knew with that attitude it really would be mine again soon enough.
People get funny ideas about money.
The total cost of your insurance program, Denise, is your money the instant it leaves your employer's hands. So is the employer contribution to FICA, your retirement, and any other funds they spend to keep you working for them. All of these contributions and deductions exist because someone somewhere doesn't trust you to manage your own money wisely enough to not become a burden on society. If your employer didn't give someone that money to take care of for you, he'd be giving it directly to you. It's your money.
If you want to avoid comparing apples to oranges, you have to realize that you're currently spending far more than $14 for insurance. Is it more or less than four percent of your gross pay? I have no idea, of course, but statistically we know you're almost certainly paying more than you should. Fifteen years ago, the insurance industry paid ninety-five cents of every premium dollar towards your medical expenses. Today, that has dropped to eighty cents. We know, without absolutely any doubt, they are making HUGE profits.
Those profits aren't coming from your employer, Denise. They're coming right out of your pocket.
That guy who was playing cards against me with "my" money? He gave it all back, of course. He also gave me a good portion of "his" money, which instantly became MY money once it exchanged hands. People get funny ideas about money, and it invariably costs them dearly.
It certainly has cost this country dearly.
It irks me to no end that everyone is talking about medical care as if it's the same thing as medical coverage. People in this thread, and throughout government and the media, keep using the term medical care incorrectly. Your insurance company doesn't provide medical care. They just make it so you don't have to manage your own money wisely enough to avoid becoming a burden. They provide a false sense of security that your medical bills will be covered.
Ultimately, the insurance industry encourages you, albeit inadvertently, to get some funny ideas about money.
When was the last time you bought a car or major appliance and didn't bother to even ask how much it was going to cost? When was the last time you laid out more than a month's wages and didn't at least try to negotiate a better price? Or look around for one? That's capitalism, my friends. It's fueled by supply and demand, which in turn is fueled by a realistic valuation of our exchange currency. When you start playing the game as if you're "playing with someone else's money," capitalism doesn't work so well any more. Denise, you can tell me right off the top of your head how much money is deducted from your paycheck every week. Can you tell me how much the entire insurance policy is costing? Can you tell me how much your last major medical procedure cost? Or are those irrelevant to you because they're someone else's money?
The cost of medical care in this country is sky-high because YOU (the collective you, not picking on Denise), the consumer, stopped caring how much it cost. Someone else is paying for it, right? That someone, however, has very limited negotiating power with your doctor or hospital. Why? Because when they try to negotiate better deals (HMO and all the other things tried over the years), YOU shop around for an insurance policy you like better. Their inevitable response? The market forces them to give you what you want and then raise their rates to cover the escalating cost of medical care. Duh? (Oh, and while we're at it, since the consumer doesn't seem to give a damn any way, let's increase our juice from five to twenty percent.)
Government sponsored programs work, in countries like Canada and Sweden, precisely because they remove consumer choice. You don't get to shop around for different insurance policies any more. That gives your insurance provider (the government) more power to negotiate equitable medical costs. It's certainly not something we should be happy to see. But you didn't do it when you had the chance? It's going to be a little hard to complain, I'm afraid, when your government steps in to glue capitalism back together again.
Insurance, in its current guise, is the greatest economic evil this society has ever faced. It drives a wedge between supply and demand, emasculating the very principals that make capitalism work. Medical coverage is NOT medical care, and this country is never going to get its head screwed on right until it recognizes the difference.
We need to get rid of these funny ideas we have about money and realize it's impossible to play (or pay) with someone's else's cash. Whether it flows through your employer or your government, through private or public insurance, the money that goes into your doctor's pocket always comes out of yours.