As much as I love President Obama, I don't think health care reform is going to happen this summer. It's just too complicated. I consider myself an intelligent person, and I really don't understand it. So I imagine that most other intelligent people (and maybe some less intelligent people) don't understand it either.
To make it even worse, the right wingers have used some pretty annoying tactics to try to derail Obama. Focusing on several issues that are hot-button issues to many, such as abortion (i.e. saying that abortion "on demand" will be paid for by the new health care plans) and "death panels" (i.e. saying that elders will be unable to receive life supporting care at the end of life). And finally, sending disruptive people to town hall meetings all over the country. Here is an example of one, and Barney Frank's amazing response.
This is what I do understand.
Under the new plan, you will probably still get health insurance through your work, if you do so now. But if you don't get health insurance through your work, there will be a different way to get it: through the government plan. That plan will guarantee everyone basic health insurance. This sounds good to me. But I don't understand exactly how it will work.
I've tried to understand, I really have. I've even looked up information on other country's health care systems, like France and Israel. It's been interesting, but I'm still confused.
Speaking from my experience of this past year, while I'm grateful for my health insurance and health care, I'm pretty confused by it. Every time a procedure was submitted to the insurance company, the hospital or physician received approximately half of what they asked for (or sometimes less). Does this mean that the price they asked was inflated intentionally? Or has my health insurer negotiated a lower rate with them? And either way, what is the ACTUAL WORTH of the procedure? Or is there no such thing?
Here's an example: for my lumpectomy this winter, the surgeon charged $3056. She received in payment $1038.52. This is about a third of what she charged. What does this mean? The hospital fees for the surgery were $9519. They were paid $4890. So that was about 50% of what they charged. Again, what was the actual worth of the services? $9500? $4800? Or something in between?
Apparently I'm not the only one who is confused, as there isn article about this very topic in the NYTimes today.
If any of my readers can shed light on health care reform for me, please do so in the comments. Thanks!