The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Beating on the dead horse that is health care

Gregory had a few quibbles with the “The Man, The Plan, The HMO” section of my health insurance rant of the other day (I think he didn't like the “Oh, you may pay some token amount like $20/visit, but otherwise, who cares what the price is?” bit).

Even Bunny said I got some details wrong in this section, saying that insurance companies don't just shrug and pay (Gregory said the same thing). She said that the insurance companies have a concept of a “normal price” for each service and can refuse to pay the doctor's (or clinic's or hospital's) but counter with what it thinks is the correct amount to pay. The doctor (clinic/hospital) can then either accept this counter offer, or go after the individual who had the service to pay the bill.

I don't think that Gregory's or Bunny's critiques change my main point in ths section all that much—that price is not the primary selection criterion when selecting a doctor (clinic/hospital).

I received another comment, commenting on this bit from Gregory:

Y'know, I was re-reading this entry and thinking about my good buddy PipeWrench, who is a very conservative Republican. He believes (as most Republicans do) that we Americans are responsible for ourselves and we should be going out and buying our own insurance and not begging the government for a handout.

Sadly, while PipeWrench is in the majority of people in this country who have health insurance, he is in an extremely small minority when it comes to the worldwide population of industrialized nations. People from Canada, or most of Western Europe would listen to his ideals and then look at him like he was completely nuts.

Increasingly, most Americans nowadays would look at him like he was nuts, too …

I'd like to ask PipeWrench if he'd like to shell out that kind of money on his own without any kind of health coverage, or save up that money just in case he happens to get hurt. But I've learned my lesson not to engage PipeWrench in discussions of a political nature. I like him and want to keep him as a friend.

While PipeWrench didn't respond (he doesn't really use the Internet all that often) his girlfriend did (at LiveJournal, reproduced here because once the entry rolls off the feed, so does the comment at LiveJournal):

I think you know I agree with your political views for the most part. This was very well worded. I happen to look at the link to Greg's journal, where he mentions PipeWrench and politics in the same entry, lovely. To answer his question … yes PipeWrench would pay for his own hospital stay. He almost paid more than twice that amount to have his spine fixed at a different hospital, but his doctors talked him into one in his network for various reasons. Oh, and shock! He does save up money for emergencies. PipeWrench is not a hypocrit, sorry to disappoint.

“Well, there it is,” as Emperor Joseph II is wont to say in Amadeus.

And while I'm beating a dead horse here, my entry also spawned some interesting comments at Flutterby.

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