WHEEL OF (IT COSTS A) FORTUNE: "Here is a new spin on 'free.' Yes, your medical care should be free--free from the restraints of government control; free from government rules that have raised the price of insurance premiums".

Author:Singleton, Marilyn M.
Position:DOLLARS & SENSE
 
FREE EXCERPT

YOU FINALLY REALIZE your dream and are selected to be a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune." You get to meet Pat Sajak and Vanna White! You win a vacation to some country that you do not really want to see. You cannot get the cash equivalent. You have to take 10 days off from work to take the free vacation you did not want. You discover that you have to pay the tax on the free vacation... or perhaps you win a free car. You have a perfectly functioning three-year-old car. The free car is not really the car you would have selected. You accepted it because it was free. Then you see that you have to pay tax on the list price of the free car. You also discover that the collision insurance and Department of Motor Vehicles registration for the free car are significantly higher than for the car you currently own.

In other words, nothing is "free." This applies to medical care as well. You may have to see the "health care provider" the government program or private insurer makes available to you. You do not particularly want to see a nurse practioner, but that is the way the cookie crumbles with free health care. Oh well, you convince yourself that it is okay because, just like that car on the game show, it was free.

Here is a new spin on "free." Yes, your medical care should be free--free from the restraints of government control; free from government rules that have raised the price of insurance premiums. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated 10 "essential" benefits that all insurance plans must include free of out-of-pocket charges to patients. Of course, this does not include the initial out-of-pocket charge: the insurance premium.

Insurance premiums have shot up during the post-PPACA years because insurance plans have to cover conditions that the insured persons may not even encounter in their own lives. A glaring example is obstetrics coverage in a menopausal female. Preventive and wellness visits also are labeled as free.

Moreover, a recent American Medical Association study reveals that, over the last four years, the competition in the commercial insurance market has decreased. In more than 50% of metropolitan areas, representing about 73,-000,000 persons, one insurer has half of the market. The more concentrated the market, the higher the premiums.

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