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The High Cost of Not Owning Your Healthcare 

Rachel Mills

You either pay in dollars or control. And loss of autonomy in your own healthcare decisions can be much more expensive.

The “health insurance” model as a whole is failing.For example, I have excellent teeth, thanks to my dad and his excellent teeth genes. However, even though I have no particularly bad dentist stories to tell, I am terrified of the dentist. I can only attribute this to the ‘fear of the unknown’ factor. I have no better explanation.

During my “Year of Adulting” last year I had my first checkup in about 8 years and two small cavities were found. I had them filled last week and was very afraid. Facebook assured me beforehand that the survival rate for these procedures is pretty high. Afterwards, I proudly proclaimed on Facebook that I had voluntarily gone to the dentist to have a procedure done.

Voluntarily?

Someone inquired. What other way is there to go?

Ohhhhh, dear sir! Involuntarily, as per when I was a child. Our mother took us kids dutifully for checkups on the regular! Every second of that was involuntary, I assure you. My mother had my best interests at heart, but she was calling the shots and paying the bills and cries to CPS about forced dental visits fell on deaf ears, so I said “ahhhhh” and went to my happy place and hoped nothing horrible would happen to me.

It almost did.

You have a right to see the doctor. But the doctor is also not your slave. Neither is he/she your slave by proxy.At 16, I still had a stubborn baby tooth that hadn’t dislodged itself yet and the dentist proclaimed braces and head gear were in order to bring the adult tooth down. Mom opted for a more conservative approach as she saw large tears coursing down my angsty teenage face (and, being a frugal woman, wondering what all that could possibly cost) and viola! In a few months, after a mere extraction, the adult tooth made its appearance, no embarrassing, expensive headgear required.

Bullet dodged, thanks to my mother listening to either/both the concerns of weeping teenage daughter and/or her own pocketbook.

Walk Away

But it was kind of a relief to remind myself in the chair last week that I could leave the dentist office at any time. I can walk right out of there untreated at basically any point. Or I could go through with it. I could even opt for tooth whitening if I am having a particularly nice time.

The bill comes to me. I call the shots. I am in control.

I could get treatment. Or not. It felt reassuring. And that’s the point. He who pays the piper calls the tune. When my mother was in charge, that was one thing. She was truly concerned with my long term well-being.

Government Loves You Not

When you ask or force some other entity that doesn’t love you to pay for your healthcare (or education for that matter) for how long will you suffer under the illusion that you also retain control or that decisions made for you are truly in your best interest?

Put a large layer of bureaucracy between you and your doctor and what do you imagine you might get?

I promise you it won’t be more control.

Health insurance companies routinely deny this or that course of treatment, for whatever reason and they largely get their way. They are paying the piper.

He who pays the bills will always preeminently care about smaller bills. I just don’t know how you get around that. Only you’re slathering on an additional thick, thick layer of bureaucrats into the mix who need specialized knowledge of how to deny claims and fight court battles and they don’t come cheap. Instead of paying medical bills, you’ll be paying them.

If what you want is healthcare, be the one paying the doctor, as directly as possible. If what you want is denial of treatment, give as much of the money that should go to your doctors as possible to entities that deny treatments. It is basically as simple as that, in the long run.

Do you have a right to healthcare?

Does the doctor have a right to work and make a living at a wage commensurate with the time and money spent on the necessary education?

Here is what you have a right to:

You have a right to see the doctor. But the doctor is also not your slave. Neither is he/she your slave by proxy.

When you argue that everyone else should shoulder your healthcare costs and/or for doctors to be forced to serve you, think about what you are advocating.

You are advocating for people charged with controlling costs (denying healthcare) to be in charge of healthcare.

What we call health insurance now is nothing of the sort. You are advocating for an unsustainable system in which the financial burden of years of expensive medical training can never be recovered. In other words: You are arguing for a doctor shortage. And long waits instead of large bills. You pay one way or the other.

You are arguing for the stable and lucrative employment of faceless bureaucrats whose measure of success will very probably not be how healthy you are but how much they saved the system in payouts. (You can see how there might be a conflict there.)

In short, you are not advocating for your own health.

We need other solutions. The “health insurance” model as a whole is failing.

A Real Market

Here’s an idea: How about payment plans? You can negotiate these with the hospital already and often for very reduced rates. If healthcare is so exorbitantly expensive, how about saving money on all these middle men, and only using insurance for major medical events like accidents and cancer? Anything under 6 figures, you could just pay directly to the doctor/hospital in installments?

But that is currently illegal as of the ACA. That model was actually insurance. What we call health insurance now is nothing of the sort. It is some kind of paperwork producing bureaucratic jobs program that makes the “health insurance” industry about 10 times bigger than it needs to be.

I don’t know about you, but as a grown adult myself, I take comfort in owning my own healthcare decisions as much as I can. And if I could legally own even more of them in the form of a cheaper major medical insurance plan instead of what has been forced down our throats by Obama, and now his successor, I would.

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