Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ignorance, Apathy, and Selfishness vs. Patriotism

It is a tragedy that it takes something as personal as the impact of the ACA on "my" insurance to get many US citizens interested in and even passionate about what is going on in Washington. The current controversy has resulted in all kinds of folks coming forth with anecdotal testimony, absent any meaningful detail, about what happened or is happening to their personal insurance coverages and rates, sometimes favorable to them and sometimes unfavorable, implying that if the ACA lowered their costs it is good and that if it raised their costs it is bad.  And all that without any thought of what is really going to happen to the medical profession and the health care provided by it as a result of this onerous and controlling legislation.  It seems that many have come to believe that insurance is all that matters.  

Here is a key point: Washington is not supposed to be acting in our own personal best interests but in the best interests of the United States of America as a place to live safely, prosper, and pursue happiness. That is the meaning of patriotism.  The disturbing current trend is expansion of the attitude that everything is all about me and my insurance rates or me and my tax rates or whatever. And, if you want to raise the other guy's tax rates or insurance premiums, that is fine with me.  It is a very bad sign. 

I think it was Hillary Clinton who first, at least in recent history, used the phrase, "I will fight for you," as a campaign theme.  It was never clear to me to whom she was speaking.  Of course the reason such an appeal to personal self interests works is because of a troubling mix of voter ignorance, apathy, and selfishness.  Speaking of the promise that anyone who liked their health insurance could keep it under the ACA, Kathleen Parker writes in The State today that, "The administration knowingly misled with a false promise and a deliberate omission. Worse, it did it for your own good because you might be confused by the truth. Call it what you will." Read the column.  She makes her case well.  And the really sad thing is that the administration was right for far too many of us...that we are confused by the truth and, as a result, are easily manipulated by false promises, especially those that seem to promise something better for us personally.  

And, of course it is my personal desire that, in order for the United States to be a place to live safely, prosper, and pursue happiness, health care should be available to all who need and want it.  That could have been provided with a simple one page bill that contained three provisions:

1. It shall be unlawful for health insurance companies to deny coverage or payment of benefits because of pre-existing conditions or to cancel health insurance for any reason other than non-payment of premiums. 

2. It shall be unlawful for health insurance companies to charge different premiums on any bases other than age of the insured and benefits promised.  

3. Any individual who can prove inability to pay available age based health insurance premiums may apply for Medicare and, upon approval, be added to the Medicare rolls.

Now that would have created a true competitive scramble for policy holders by all the insurance companies, would have avoided the need for billions in software development and associated turmoil for a government "roll out," and would have kept the IRS out of the mix.  

1 comment:

  1. I like the simplicity of the solution to a complex problem. How do we increase capability to provide quality health care with the additon of 20-30 million new enrollees? How do ideas like this get through the political maze of self interest, priority on looking good vs being good?