Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Drives Health Cares Costs?

The cost of health care is high. Is it too high? Who should pay? Those who play by the rules or those who do not? These are a great questions. Among the debate are questions of chronic visitors to their favorite health care provider vs. the relatively young who seldom seek health care and see it as it is - insurance the individual may or may not elect to acquire. However, health care is different than car insurance. If I keep crashing my vehicle and taking it to the body shop for repairs, I will and should expect my costs and insurance premiums to increase. If I dislike the repair or paint job performed, there are remedies, but limited. By limited, I mean I cannot take my vehicle from repair facility to facility hoping to get something repaired if it cannot be identified as broken or repairable expecting someone else to pay for it. If I abuse the driving privilege, I lose it if society deems me an unacceptable risk.

Naturally, as an incentive to keep my costs down, I [often] avoid getting speeding tickets and I [generally] avoid side swiping the vehicle next to me. I may drive above the posted speed limit, but I am at least am aware of cause and effect. For example, a nice empty highway vs. a busy city street. For those who cannot quick grasp that lesson, they get to pay for the mandatory insurance state required insurance. In reality, younger drives pay more for the privilege to drive, simply because they cost more. On the other hand, with health care - there is little consequence to unchecked behavior. At the moment, there is little consequence to my wallet directly when I seek to go from doctor to doctor, as long as I can find a willing insurance company to pick up the tab, or the state. That is a difference, and until the individual is motivated to treat their physical well being at least as well as their vehicle, health care costs will continue to rise. This all speaks to a message that our President spoke of during the campaign and today. Taking some Personal responsibility. Ben Franklin, with all his foresight, envisioned a system where you paid in periodically so it was there when you needed it, money would be there to cover expenses. In my opinion, if you demand more of any product - you should pay more for it. Of course, the obvious exception is person who hits my car, burns my house down, or causes me to get sick. Well, they need to pay more as they did not keep their end of the civil bargain. Their insurance rate should rise and they should pay a premium. That is only logical.

Who knows, maybe our President will speak up and say he let congress try to figure this out and it did not quite work out as expected. He will advocate something like car insurance SR-22, direct cash for insurance, and exercise incentives. One thing is certain, for all but appearances - you are pretty much stuck with the body you were born with. There will be no cash for clunkers programs.

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