I saw a really interesting question posed online this week by a friend of mine. He simply asked how much people were paying for their health insurance. He was paying $1,100 a month.
The answers ranged widely. Those with really good company benefits paid as little as $150 while many others paid more than $2,000, especially for whole families. On the flip side were many who paid nothing because they can’t afford insurance or chose not to get it.
The discussion reminded me of a column I wrote a few years ago. The premise of that column was simple, too. For insurance to work one of two things needs to happen. Either the government needs to get completely out of the way or the United States needs to switch to single payer.
My personal belief is the government needs to get out of the insurance business completely. When Obamacare was made law, I’m guessing around a decade ago, I paid $150 a paycheck for health insurance for my entire family. Today, that same coverage costs $700 a paycheck. And that’s my share, which is likely less than half the cost.
On top of that, to actually get any real benefit, we have to spend $5,000 out of pocket. So for me, doing the math, I would spend $18,000 before the insurance really kicked in and paid much. And frankly, listening to others, I’m getting a bargain.
With those numbers, it is clear what is going on right now in the United States with health insurance and health coverage simply isn’t working.
When Obamacare passed, we were promised the cost to middle-class families would go down. Instead, the cost has gone up so fast many are being priced out of the market.
In my life, with a wife and five children, there has only been one year where we would have come close to spending $18,000, and that’s a year my wife had two surgeries and spent four days in intensive care because the doctor screwed up the first surgery.
Oh, and the surgeries didn’t work, but because of that experience my wife refuses to get more medical treatment on the issue. After all, the first time almost killed her.
But back to my original issue — it really is time for America to make a choice. Either the government needs to get out of the insurance business or the government needs to be 100 percent in charge. This half-ass attempt at socialized medicine is doing nothing but making costs rise with little to no benefit for most Americans.
I never thought I would say this, but if the federal government insists on being in charge of healthcare, then maybe it’s time to hand them the keys and get out of the way. If most Americans are like me, the cost of having and using health insurance went from 8 to 10 percent of their yearly budget to close to 30 percent in just a decade. That’s due to a law that was designed to lower costs for everyone. Remember the name? The Affordable Care Act. There is nothing affordable about paying 30 percent of ones earnings just to have basic care.
So right now, with the way things are going, if I were told I could pay a 20 percent income tax to have free medical care for my entire family would I take it? Probably.
I understand if the government took over it would lead to bigger problems — long waits to see a doctor, hospitals closing, fewer people willing to go through medical school, no incentive for top-tier medical breakthroughs. I know the government being in charge is never the right answer.
And for the record, Medicare for All is not the answer. The Medicare system costs a ton and offers little. Ask any senior on Medicare — they still pay premiums, they still pay every time they visit a doctor and many pay an arm and a leg for medicine. That plan is another half-ass venture that would fail.
But the current system is not the answer either. Something must be done and right now neither the Republicans or the Democrats seem willing to do much more than yell at each other with no changes in sight.