We've all heard that the love of money is the root of all evil. I believe that's in the Bible somewhere, but I'm going to skip that lesson today.
I've opined before that I think religion might be the root of all evil. Well, actually here, here and here. I guess I opined that a lot.
Today I discuss insurance. You could argue that religion is nothing more than insurance against eternal death (or something). Seems like a stretch unless you write it down and think about it.
Obama and his congress have started talking in earnest about the health care system. I've even heard reports that we'll see stuff as early as this year. They might even roll out a new health care system before Microsoft rolls out Windows 7!
I like the idea of the government taking a bit more of an active role in health care. Like it or not it is one of those things that we are all going to need at one time or another. I have Type I Diabetes and therefore my medical bills are a lot higher than the average Joe. Health insurance for me simply levels the financial playing field a bit. I'm the one that uses the portion of Joe's monthly insurance dues that he pays even though he's not sick (yet).
However, I hate what insurance stands for. Insurance has become a tool for living dangerously. It has removed the necessity of thinking ahead in our day to day lives. We can act rashly without fear of financial consequences.
Not all insurance is evil. Insurance against unavoidable disasters is necessary. You never know when a storm is going to blow your roof off or Mr. Dumbass is going to break into your house and alleviate you of all your possessions. However, if we couldn't get insurance against theft, it would probably encourage us to lock up the doors and perhaps buy an alarm system.
I believe health insurance is a bad idea. In fact, I believe it's a very bad idea. No one wants to get sick. All health insurance does is make it a little easier to eat that blood thickening cheeseburger or smoke that lung polluting cigarette. If you didn't have health insurance you'd strive to stay healthy.
They should pass a law that says you can only get insurance for something you physically possess. You can get insurance on your house. You can get insurance on your car. But health insurance? This is insurance on what? Shouldn't your creator insure your body? Maybe we should quit giving money to religions until we get a better warranty.
However, if you get sick, you should be able to go to the doctor without worrying about breaking the bank. The government should supply guaranteed loans like student loans to pay for these things at a low interest rate. This would require you to shop around. When you have a cold, you'll go to the clinic that's offering the special, "unclog your nose for $5". You'll go in, they'll check your vitals, unclog your nose and charge you $5.
Would it not be more economical for the government to make sure everyone has some form of access to a health facility without having to worry about finances than by giving everyone health insurance? Why do they keep harping on "affordable health insurance for everyone". Maybe I am taking the term "insurance" more literal than what they a meaning.
Purely from an economics point of view when you buy health insurance you are paying for the insurance and you are paying for the health care. Everyone is going to need health care anyway so why do we add the extra layer. Just pay for the health care.
You still have to keep the health care market open though so you somehow have to make the medical profession compete to keep costs down. There are several ways to do this. Imagine if the most the government would allow a doctor to charge for cold type symptoms was $100 for the evaluation. Would you go to the doctor where you have to wait in line at their clinic or call the doctor that makes house calls?
Malpractice Insurance is an abomination. The first thing I'd do if I were to overhaul the health care industry would be to do away with malpractice insurance. The gives unsympathetic doctors the ability to do whatever they want without fear of financial consequences.