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Ok, I think I am going to hear some boos and hisses on this, but in my opinion, one of the problems with health insurance is that we (as a group of people, in general) expect health insurance to insure for everything.

We don't insure our cars or our houses for EVERY SINGLE THING that can go wrong with them. Yes, we insure for collision and vandalism, for wind damage, etc. But we DON'T insure for things like general maintenance (having to replace furnace filters, replacing worn carpet, etc.). Yet, with health insurance, we expect insurance to pay for everything--not just for the tree hitting our house, but also for replacing the screens when they get ripped, and getting new furnace filters, and

Think about it. How many people do you know who are just as likely to go to doctor for a head cold or the flu (doctor: "Eat soup, take aspirin, go home and rest, and I'll bill your health carrier $200 for this visit."). We feel like we're ENTITLED to go to the doctor if we have a runny nose, because, by GOD, we paid for that coverage.

I think health insurance SHOULD pay for vaccines, preventive health stuff, etc. But I think it's kind of ridiculous that we expect health insurance to also pay for those routine visits where we're not that sick and the biggest healer is simply time.

I think it's GREAT that science is extending people's life, and helping their quality of life. BUT--why does health insurance HAVE to pay for all of it? I know you guys are going to think I'm a really mean bitch here, but how much do we ask our health insurance to pay to extend the life of people who are going to pass away soon anyway? We can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars so a person can live another week. How many terribly premature babies are born, treated very expensively, when they only have a 1 in a 100 chance of living anyway, and perhaps then with a poor quality of life?

I work in the property/casualty side of insurance, and one of the principles of insurance is that you insure some losses, but not all losses. You have a pool of money, put there by the premiums that people pay, to pay for certain types of predictable, catastrophic losses, losses that are too expensive for individuals to bear on their own. But the other part of that is, if a car is wrecked, you don't keep repairing it indefinitely so it can stay on the road. At some point, a decision is made to "total" the car.

Admittedly, it's very harsh to think about "totalling" a person. No one wants to have grandma put down like they had their hound dog put down, and that's not what I'm saying.

But part of the health insurance issue is that we, as a society, have a fear of death. No one wants to die. I don't want to die. But, guess what? I'm going to die. You are going to die. Thanks to medical science, you and I are probably not going to die of typhoid, polio, or scarlet fever. We are much more likely to die of degenerative diseases of old age. I'm not saying we should all just give up and die when our three score and 10 is up, but maybe if I think I want a knee replacement at 99, and I may live another year or two, maybe I should be expected to bear that expense myself. I think it's admirable when people have a child that is really premature, and they want to do everything they possibly can so it can live. I'm sure I'd feel the same way myself if it were my child. But is it really reasonable to ask health insurance to pay for that when there is only a 1 in a thousand chance that the child may live?

Ok, I'm nearing the end of my rant, but just one more point. Doctors also, I think, need to make sure that they clearly discuss the realities of people's medical situations with them. If there really is no hope, then doctors need to step up to the plate and tell patients and their families that, in a way that the patient and the family actually HEARS and UNDERSTANDS what they are being told. I don't think doctors do that nearly enough.

So people who aren't really sick, stay home and get better on your own, or pay for the doctor yourself. Let's help the people that can really be helped, and people who can't be, let's make sure they don't suffer in their journey into that good night.
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