08 October 2008

Health Care in the Debate and quality of life.

My gosh, did Obama's words resonate with me.

When I ran my small business and my small company, for 5 out of the 10 years that I was in business I could not afford health care. McCain's policy is just bullpucky. It would in no way have helped me or allowed me to insure myslef and my employees. How dare he talk down to me and think that I don't understand how ridiculous a $5,000, 1.6 trillion tax cut for health care is, when I will then be taxed on any part that an employer would provide. And how could I buy a health care plan when the average plan cost $14,000 (in my area, for an HMO, family). Who is going to hand me that $9,000?

Instead, as we know adverse selection and moral hazard are the reasons for market failure of insurance plans. That's why universal coverage must be required.

I can only thank G*d that several years later, when I required spinal surgery or risk losing permanent use of my left arm, that I was working for a big employer. Because even the small policy I was able to buy later, for myself and the few of my employees who could, and would, be part of the insurance: it wouldn't have covered the operation I needed. And the young and healthy chose not to be insured, as they believed the cost to their lives was greater than the risk of requiring the insurance. (Even in my small company this was proven untrue, as an employee went skiiing, broke a leg, and was almost bankrupt as a result. And a simple broken leg is really not that expensive.)

When I examined the costs of my surgery and associated bills, I saw that if I had not had insurance, the bills would have topped $350,000. My insurance company was billed, and paid, under $125,000.

All the better to change the bankruptcy laws to prevent discharge of medical debt, right? It just makes sense to bill the uninsured more than three times the cost of the insured.

When we consider whether we will go back to the US, we have one primary concern: health care. The other two, retirement and educational costs for the kids (and housing costs are just a sub-set of education- housing floats on school districts, to a large extent) are relatively unimportant as long as the German continues to be employed and suceeds as he has been doing.

Because I left a very good, very secure job with great benefits to stay home (and move here) the odds of my getting back in that mode (and of wishing to return to required long work weeks) are slim. But the German has made up, at this point, for the loss of my income (that and no longer needing nanny/ au pair services). So if he continues to be employed I expect that we will be able to save for retirement and to also get a pension (and social security, although it will be fully taxed). We will be able to send our kids to university, even if we need to take on debt to do that.

But if he loses his job, we will lose our health insurance. Then we will be bankrupt, perhaps die for lack of medical care, leave our children without medical care or the possibility of educational advancement, or perhaps a roof over their heads or any security net, and leave the remaining spouse penniless.

This is not acceptable from my country. This shame must end.

(PS- Thank you, computer, for allowing me to watch the complete debate without interruption. Thank you federal government for underwriting the beginning of the internet.)


Diane Mandy said...

I thought that moment in the debate when McCain called health care "a responsibility: and Obama called it "a right" was among the most telling!

The Honourable Husband said...

Yes, you are correct. "Shame" is the right word.

kenju said...

I agree with Diane! It was the pivotal point for me. (That, and when McCain pointed to Obama and Said "That one.")

Anonymous said...

Is there room in GErmany for a family of four, plus a grandma and a grandma should McCain and that pittbull in lipstick be elected?