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Insurance is a guard against risk.  Term life insurance is provision for your family in case you die young – an unlikely occurrence.  Car insurance is coverage in case you get in an accident – which most people won’t.  What we call health insurance is not insurance.  It is a “benefit,” like a retirement plan.  Our system originated when companies were competing for labor without breaking the salary cap laws. 

We could have health insurance, an investment to pay large, unexpected expenses if they come up.  There are a few plans that cover only catastrophic needs.  These are not the kind provided by employers in our market today.  Of course, if employers want to pay for preventive healthcare and common doctor’s visits, that is their competitive option.  It shouldn’t be mandatory, any more than a salary cap should be mandatory. 

Employers could also provide grocery coverage: the planned, necessary expense; for each employee and his family.  The price of food would go up, and options would go down, and companies would do better to just pay well for their labor, letting the consumers determine the demand and value of food.  Consumers are less extravagant, more cost-conscious, and diligent to hold providers accountable for their products and services. 

What makes us think that paying rows of middle men for our health care payment system will result in saving money or improving care?  Are these middle men doing something I couldn’t do myself?  No – they’re distancing me from information about my options in health care and the shocking costs of some procedures. 

My solution is this:

1.  Do not require an employer to do anything for his employee that does not concern his job: cover injuries caused by the job and keep work environments safe. 

2.  Also eliminate what is essentially a tax break on the benefits provided by employers.  If wages are going to be taxed, so should the health care benefits and retirement plans. 

3.  Do not require insurance companies to have a minimum amount of coverage, nor any specifics.  Instead, enforce contract law: openness of the agreement being made and stiff penalties for either party dropping their end of the bargain.

4.  Do not require individuals to have health insurance of any kind.  If the problem is in collecting payment for emergency services rendered to the poor, this needs to be addressed in a wider question of bankruptcy laws and debt repayment.  Leaving individuals to the option of health insurance reduces the weight on the health care industry by discouraging unnecessary doctor’s visits and encouraging preventative lifestyles. 

5.  Allow increased competition by revoking the state line restrictions on insurance policy sales. 

6.  Reduce the cost to healthcare professionals by reforming the system that allows doctors to be sued without probable cause.  Our economy and government is almost completely biased against businesses in favor of consumers.  The customer is not always right; sometimes the “customer” is committing fraud. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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For a few years there has been a Sylvan Learning Center near my house.  Driving home from church Monday, I noticed that it is now empty and “for lease.”  Whoever owned that franchise location probably felt like they had a good geographic.  The neighborhoods nearby have plenty of kids whose grades tend to teeter on the passing line.  Whether English wasn’t their first language, so they’re playing catch-up at school, or if they’re simply not disciplined enough to learn and do homework, students in this part of the world could really use some one on one tutoring. 

 

But more, it would appear, was necessary for the success of the business than identifying a need and providing the solution.  First of all, there had to be interest.  The parents of the students had to care about their grades and the solution Sylvan offered.  Secondly, the parents had to have the currency to pay for supplemental education: the currency of money and of time. 

 

Five minutes home from church ought to be a short period in which to fit analogies for life, but one struck me.  At our church I see several high school girls who need older ladies to care about them, to spend time with them, to ground them in faith, and to guide them to maturity and godliness.  So a friend and I, under our youth pastor, are offering a small group.  This would also enable the girls to get to know each other and encourage each other.  But most of the girls aren’t coming.  Either they don’t have the interest, or they don’t have the currency of time to invest. 

 

What’s the solution?  Should we close up like Sylvan?  Is our tactic wrong? 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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