Florida congressman Alan Grayson.

Florida congressman Alan Grayson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have Alan Grayson to thank for reading all the fine print in healthcare insurance plans and explaining their essence in two sentences.

“Don’t get sick. If you do, die quickly,” (or go bankrupt).

That is GOPcare in a nutshell. Obamacare is a step in the right direction. It is a COMPROMISE between what we have had, GOPcare, and what I believe is the ideal, Medicare for all. If the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is flawed, and it is, it is because it is a COMPROMISE, and compromises never satisfy everyone.

Supporters of GOPcare claim that we have the best healthcare system in the world, and I suppose we do if you can afford it. Most of us cannot. My wife was born and bred in Canada and her relatives still live there and are much more satisfied with the care they receive at little cost than we are with the care we receive at a much greater cost. Of course, they and we represent the low-end of the income scale. If we were a part of the 1% and could afford the best in healthcare, our reactions to Obamacare and Canadian medicine might be different.

Life expectancies

English: Life expectancy vs. GDP (PPP) per cap...

English: Life expectancy vs. GDP (PPP) per capita, accordig to World Bank, 2009 (sample: 162 coutries) Sources: :GDP per capita (PPP), (World Bank, 2009) :Life expancy (CIA factbook, 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I searched on-line for US life expectancies based on whether or not one has healthcare insurance, and I couldn’t find any statistics. According to an article on Forbes, those numbers don’t exist. Why not? Perhaps because someone wants to keep us in the dark. Logically, one would expect those with more access to healthcare to live longer than people with limited access. In his book The People of the Abyss, Jack London in 1902 found that the poor of London, England lived an average of only 30 years while the better-off Londoners lived an average of 55 years.

Of course, it is possible to manipulate statistics to produce any results you want. In the second related article below, the author removes deaths from car accidents and violent crimes to boost the US longevity results. Going further, if you were to remove all deaths before age 60 or 65 or 70, of course the resulting longevity average would be higher.

Please see People of the Abyss

Apples to prunes

Logo of the Fox Broadcasting Company

Logo of the Fox Broadcasting Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In all the discussion about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), some in the media, particularly at FOX, are quoting statistics about how some insurance premiums have risen 200-300%. However, they are not comparing comparable policies, apples to apples, they are comparing policies with vastly difference coverages, apples to prunes.

Health care insurers


Insurance (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

From The Predator State by James K. Galbraith:

“A successful private insurance company follows an ancient formula: it stratifies its clientele by risk class and charges premiums adapted to each class. The most successful companies are generally those that manage to exclude the riskiest clients.

“Public universal health insurance schemes like Medicare do not evaluate risk. Since they are universal, they do not need to. Therefore, they save the major cost of providing private health insurance. They pay their personnel at civil service salary scales and are under no obligation to return a dividend to shareholders or meet a target rate of return. Insurance in general is therefore intrinsically a service that the public sector can competently provide at a lower cost than the private sector, and from the standpoint of an entire population, selective private provision of health insurance is invariably inferior to universal public provision. Private health insurance companies would not exist except for their political capacity to forestall the creation of universal public systems, backed by their almost unlimited capacity to sow confusion among the general public over the basic economic facts.”

The trouble with insurance

Health Insurance Does Not Insure Health

Health Insurance Does Not Insure Health (Photo credit: SavaTheAggie)

The trouble with healthcare insurance is that you don’t know what needed care will cost. I don’t have dental insurance so my dentist can tell me in advance exactly what my needed care will cost. I believe that it is too expensive even with a discount for cash, but I know before I authorize treatment. With healthcare insurance, I don’t know.

Today I had my second visit to a dermatologist. Apparently Medicare plus a high plan secondary was sufficient to buy treatment without a co-pay, but I won’t know for months what my out-of-pocket costs are until the insurers send their statements/bills. This must change for consumers to make informed decisions. My wife and I am both postponing needed care because we fear costs not covered by insurance will overwhelm our limited budget.