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I don't spent nearly as much time on internet discussion boards as I used to, but every now and then I'll still chime in on something or other. Got into an argument on one today, over the subject of health care.

Seems some folks still don't understand that not everyone has health insurance through their employer, and that if you don't have employer-sponsored coverage, getting your own can be hideously expensive. It's even more expensive if you have any sort of pre-existing condition, if you're female, or (shudder) both.

While I don't particularly agree with the method used by what is popularly termed "Obamacare" (a moniker I abhor for a variety of reasons) which primarily drives business to the insurance companies -- I'd far prefer a system more akin to Canada's, which removes the profit element altogether -- the fact remains that every person deserves and needs to have health coverage. Everyone is at risk for illness or injury; that's a simple fact of life. Even the healthiest among us can get sick, and it's entirely possible to suffer an injury in the course of daily living or while engaged in activities intended to increase or maintain one's level of physical fitness. As someone who has experienced all of the above (and who managed to inherit a defective gene besides), I'll be the first to tell you that there is no sure-fire way to guarantee the avoidance of health issues for the entirety of one's lifetime, no matter who you are or how healthy your personal habits may be.

That's why the whiners who go on about "personal responsibility" and "socialism" annoy the crap out of me. These are the people who complain that they shouldn't be expected to help foot the bill for someone else's health needs. When asked whether they have health insurance and pay taxes, of course they nod and say yes. Then where do they think their premium dollars go, I ask them, and who do they think currently pays the bill for the uninsured who obtain their care at expensive ERs in the absence of insurance and a personal physician, and who often cannot pay the bill?

The question garners a blank look nearly every time I've asked it to a person's face, and quite a lot of vitriol when asked online. The fact is that these people are ALREADY paying the freight for other people's healthcare. That's what insurance does: it spreads out the cost of treatment across the entire pool of insured persons. And guess what? Your tax dollars help to fund the hospitals who treat even the uninsured. Not to mention the fact that this second item helps to drive up the overall cost of care, especially to those forced to pay out of pocket because they lack insurance. (Insurance companies negotiate better pricing for themselves and their patients. It's all about the power of the purse.)

Seriously, shouldn't this sort of basic understanding be taught in schools? It isn't rocket science, people.

July 2017



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