Friday, January 16, 2015

“Free” health care? What about free legal and accounting advice?

In a recent conversation, the issue of health care came up. Reference was made to an article in Time magazine in which the author talks about spending $190,000 on heart surgery. He didn’t pay all of that. Insurance covered some. In the article the author discussed medical centers which basically self-insure the patients. In other words, hospitals are the insurance company. For instance, instead of going to Wake Med and filing insurance with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Wake Med would be the insurer. By being both, the management would do everything to keep costs down on both entities. Competition for health care and health insurance would come from Duke Hospitals and UNC Hospitals. Competition should drive down prices.

“Health care should be free,” the other person said. “If other countries can do it, so can the United States.” He was reminded that nothing is free. Even if the services were at no charge, someone would be paying for it through taxes and fees. Nothing is free, so if someone starts talking about a single payer system or free health care, please remind them that someone someplace must pay, so it’s not free.

If making healthcare free or, let’s say if controlling it through government would be better, let’s do the same for other items of necessity such as legal advice and accounting services. Everyone needs legal advice probably as often as medical care, and with the cost of legal services skyrocketing as healthcare services are, why not have a single payer system for legal advice? Same for accounting services, especially when it comes to estate planning, filling out and filing tax returns, and other reasons to hire an accountant, even if it’s to figure out what to do when you win the $250 million Powerball or MegaMillions lotteries.

One last thought about controlling healthcare costs: While it takes more “education” to be a heart surgeon than it does to be a general practitioner/family doctor, who is worth more? Is it the heart surgeon who can count on fingers and toes the number of surgeries performed annually or the GP who sees and keeps healthy 10 to 100 times that many patients a year? The GP is, no doubt, of greater service to mankind than the heart surgeon and therefore should be rewarded so.
-------------------- word of the day
internuncial (verb) [in-ter-nuhn-shuh l]: serving to announce or connect

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