Should government tell you how much insurance you need and what it should cover?

Our President naturally supports his namesake law Obamacare which has greatly expanded coverage, but at a price. He also insists that the coverage be comprehensive including many things a lot of people don’t need or want. That insistence, in part, has caused coverage for many to become unaffordable under the Affordable Care Act.

We constantly hear from left leaning politicians that prescriptions or some other service is unaffordable to many Americans, but you never hear the “compared to what?” question.

Where does paying for a portion of your health care expenses come within the hierarchy of needs? I’m guessing right behind food and before shelter and clothing, but I can guarantee that’s not the way many, if not most, Americans see it. Rather a lot of other stuff comes first.

guy_back_to_square_1_lg_clrNow we have a few years experience and we know for the most part Obamacare is not affordable and premiums are rising at significant rates. The conservative view says let people choose less comprehensive plans that cost less. The liberal view says let’s increase the government subsidies to make comprehensive coverage more “affordable.”

Both these views are illogical. Increasing subsidies does nothing in total to make health care affordable, but only spreads the costs between individual consumer and taxpayers.

Allowing people to buy catastrophic coverage will only make other coverage more expensive because healthy people will tend to buy the less generous coverage and it also creates the new problem of people selecting catastrophic coverage to save on premiums, but unable to pay out-of-pocket costs before coverage kicks in. Just consider those who are buying high deductible plans and then complain about what they have to pay.

It all comes back to my basic premise; paying for health care is not even within the hierarchy of needs. In the mind of Americans every other expense of life both basic and the other stuff comes first. 

Once we accept that, we can design a viable health care payment system … but nobody will like it.


1 reply »

  1. Your basic premise is 100% correct. Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, health is not one of them so why would anyone think about future health problems that they don’t have in the present? How many people would buy car insurance if it was not mandated?

    First thing out of school when you are living paycheck to paycheck, you worry about food and shelter, hopefully in a safe place. After you find love and friendship you move onto improving your self-esteem and achievements. At last you begin to seek personal growth and experiences. This is how we program.

    Madison Avenue has convinced people that by collecting “stuff” you will achieve improved self-esteem and have achieved life experiences. But healthcare is not one of them sold by Madison Avenue.

    Now Wall Street is at least trying to get people to save for retirement because they want to make money off of you. Healthcare costs you money so that is a tough sell. Do you see health insurance ads on TV aimed at 20 year olds? Maybe we should. Madison Avenue sees no money in selling healthcare so about another pair of jeans?

    Even I will not put healthcare before shelter. It is way down on my list. If I do not have a safe place to live that includes the electric, heat, food, and transportation to get to work in order to pay the bills including health insurance then what’s the point of having health insurance?

    As you have often pointed out people waste money on coffee and tattoos and I totally agree with you. Are these people trying to reach the last two levels of Maslow’s Needs?

    The government through Obamacare has poorly tried to mandate health insurance. Since the only way to lower healthcare cost is not to use it, then we will have more people dying from preventable causes. I myself will refuse most cancer treatments should that time come for me. I do not want the expense or the pain to live a year or two more. So from that respect I am going to save other people money in their insurance premiums. Hospitals and doctors want you to believe that you can live forever if you come to their treatment center that is until your money runs out.

    The real question is how do you make the American public believe that health insurance is one of Maslow’s very basic needs? Being a benefit manager how successful were you in convincing people to save and plan for retirement? You can’t even convince 20 year olds that they will reach retirement let alone save for retirement. They have a kids at home that need school clothes.

    As long as the government increases social security benefits and provides Medicare, people will look around and say, “it will work out”. Instead of bashing people over the head telling them they need an unknown amount of health insurance (not knowing which disease or accident is in their future), the government should be trying to sell health insurance as a basic need. Instead politicians sell it as a basic right in order to buy votes which is making the problem worst not better.

    Liked by 1 person

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