Friday, May 2, 2008

More Mumblings about Medical Care

Last week as part of a random, rambling post I mentioned looking for health insurance for Natalie and also watching a Frontline program about health care in other countries. I also made a few vague observations, as is my wont, about the information presented in the program.

I think I ought to connect a few dots, and maybe disconnect some others because I think my vague ramblings sometimes get taken more seriously than I intend. With that said, some more thoughts...

First of all, I am not about to complain about the health care system on a personal level. We have excellent insurance coverage through my husband's work, and we also have access to some of the best medical care available.

Secondly, I found when I was researching insurance options for Natalie that I had some misconceptions about what was available to people who didn't have insurance through their jobs. Insurance that you buy yourself costs more and is harder to qualify for than I realized. For someone young and healthy like Natalie it's not terrible; we'll pick an option with a fairly high deductible and we will stretch our budget to afford it.

But the plan we get for her won't cover her like our work-based plan does. There's no going in to the doctor and only paying a $15 copay, for example. We'll also be losing her dental insurance. Again, because she's young and healthy this won't be, Lord willing, too big an issue.

Thirdly, when I went looking online for discussions about and reviews of insurance plans and options, I read about quite a few young people in Natalie's situation who, although they were young, were not healthy. I also read about parents having to get coverage for their whole family under this same type of plan, and how many are struggling to pay extremely high premiums because of pre-existing health problems or just because of the number of people they need to cover. They are also struggling to get medical bills paid by these companies because, as I said in my other post, these insurance companies seem to do best at taking payments, not making them.

Fourthly, I watched the Frontline show about medical care in other countries. Of course this report was carefully edited and scripted to get across the point they wanted to make. Overall, the report featured patients and doctors who were happy with the way things were working in their system. They might have walked past huge groups of people who hate the system, who knows? :) I thought it was interesting mainly because I didn't know anything about health care systems in the countries they featured.

Obviously I have questions about all this, but not any firm answers. It's another one of those areas where I start feeling anxious about not having enough knowledge, but then I have to squash that feeling and remember that I can do what I can do and that's it. God hasn't given me the job of fixing the government or the medical system or the insurance industry.

But what would Biblical thinking be in this regard? God didn't specifically give government any role in health care in the Bible, but neither did He give it a role in building roads or educating children. As long as we live in a sinful fallen world we are going to have corrupt governing officials who like to take our money and redistribute it where they want it to go...while taking a chunk off the top for themselves, of course.

Another thought...if secular socialism is wrong, does it automatically follow that secular capitalism is right? I don't think so.

If I say to my neighbor "Hey, I've got great health insurance, too bad your husband can't get a job like mine has so you can get treated for that heart problem!" then I am sinning.

If I say to a country full of neighbors like that "Hey, I've got great health insurance and I want my health care to stay exactly the same as it is now. If you want to get your heart problem treated and you're self-employed with bad insurance...well, sorry sucker, that's the way the market forces worked out!" am I still sinning?

Finally, I mentioned the thought that government officials could use an economic downturn as a time to institute health care "reforms". Again, I'll say that I'm not trying to start or pass on a conspiracy theory. I don't really put much stock in that kind of thing, I lean towards being slightly more skeptical than Scopes.com.

So, are y'all ready for me to go back to picking songs for the American Idol contestants now? :)

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