Health Insurance Is Not Health Care

Photo credit: terrellaftermath

With media attention laser-focused on the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), it is understandable that other matters related to health care have been overlooked.

Since the ACA is largely concerned with insurance, the notion that affordable insurance equates with affordable health care has caused an unfortunate conflation of insurance and care. Moreover, this verbal shell game has been proffered to hide the sad fact that health care in the US is anything but affordable. In fact, Americans pay at least 50 percent more than all other countries for health care. Even worse, on the whole, our outcomes are mediocre, at best.

More comprehensive insurance, without major changes in how this care is dispensed, will only increase the costs. The public has apparently swallowed the big lie that the “best” care is that which is the most high tech, the most aggressive, and costs the least—to the insured. The results of such care, if considered at all, are only secondary. Please note that there is no other human enterprise that is judged in this manner.

Further complicating the verbal masquerade is that this “insurance” is not really insurance at all, but is rather a sort of extended warranty plan. Furthermore, if pre-existing conditions cannot be invoked, but are built into the overall pool, this “insurance” has no legitimate actuarial basis. Imagine buying fire insurance based on an overall risk pool of all properties in your city, regardless of condition or individual fire risk.

And, if this weren’t bad enough, what is called “health care” is really disease care—mostly acute disease care. Much of what passes for “preventive” are little more than fads—and expensive fads at that.

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