No, This Is Not Good Health Insurance

One point I’ve been making on this shitty little blog since 2009 is Obamacare/Romneycare, while it does some good things for some people, still doesn’t get at the affordability problem. Between co-pays and deductibles, many people can’t afford the healthcare they need–hardly surprising in a country where 41% of households couldn’t afford a $400 emergency. Even in wealthy states like Massachusetts, this is a problem. Which brings us to this disturbing story from the Great State of Missouri (boldface mine):

Every time one of Heidi Hendrix’s four kids has a health issue, she has to work out an agonizing equation.

“A lot of times I have to decide, is it really important enough for us to see a doctor?” Hendrix said. “Because for us, it sometimes comes down to, ‘Do I spend $200 for him to see a foot doctor or do I use that $200 to buy groceries?’ ”

Hendrix is a stay-at-home mom in Independence. Her husband is a plumber and the family has health insurance through him. It’s a union job, so the insurance is actually pretty good, she said. But with a $5,000 deductible, the family has had medical bills that it just can’t pay all at once and has had medical providers turn them over to collections agencies…

But for most Kansas City residents, it’s relatively routine medical bills that put them in collections, not five-figure debts for things like surgeries or extended hospitalizations.

To be clear, I don’t mean to pile on Hendrix’ problems. But for the love of the Intelligent Designer, a $5,000 deductible is not good insurance. Maybe a $500 deductible is. But this is essentially catastrophic, five-or-six figure debt avoidance insurance. In no meaningful sense, especially if you have kids, can this be thought of as healthcare insurance. If you have to decide whether or not to see a doctor when a child is injured, that is not good insurance.

I realize the ‘Resistance’ is going Full Metal ‘Russians Are Coming’ (and Il Trumpe’s Russian ties are bad), but let’s not lose sight of the goals here.

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3 Responses to No, This Is Not Good Health Insurance

  1. Maybe everyone’s been sufficiently brainwashed to believe high deductible is as good as it gets and they’re just waiting for the generation of middle class who remembers comprehensive insurance to forget or die off.

  2. jrkrideau says:

    Deductable? What’s that?

    I had a lesion on my temple that my family doctor thought was probably turning cancerous. Two visits to my family doctor, the second one for a biopsy, and an outpatient operation by a plastic surgeon (today) resulted in personal costs of CDN$00.00.

    Canadian medicare systems have some problems but, at least, one can take a child to the doctor and not have to worry about hunger.

    I find it amazing that the USA has such a totally dysfunctional medical delivery process. Particularly as the VA and Medicare seem to be shining examples of well-functioning medical delivery systems.

  3. Dave Dell says:

    I see part of Heidi’s problem. Four children. No, I’m not advocating genocide but I think a lot of problems would vanish or be mitigated by a lower population.

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