This post is a response to this blog post on the come up.
“And just for the record, the reason why people like Ben have such a hard time in situations like this is because we’re one of the only country’s fucked up enough to not have public health care. If you oppose Obama’s health care reform plan you should kill yourself.” -Adam Grandmaison
I appreciate the bmx community taking an interest in politics (although on this particular issue it may come off as a bit self-serving), but if you make a remark as strong as that one, you should at least get your facts straight. First, Obama does not have a health care reform plan. At this point, the Obama administration has not submitted a plan to congress – read through this article for some good discussion on that issue. Second, the plan that is currently making the rounds in the senate does not include any version of public health care. It is nowhere near the single payer system used in other Western countries, and at this point it still has co-ops in the place of a government run insurance company. The only plan that it really resembles is the one currently in place in Massachusetts, which is “an incomplete result for an unsustainable cost”.
I would love to launch into a full-scale healthcare debate on this blog and bum you all out with seriousness, but it would be nice to keep things relatively fun here. I will say this – of you want to talk single payer health care, research the good and bad things about it. Also note that the United States faces the additional challenge of having healthcare costs that are significantly higher than the rest of the world, and we don’t have unlimited resources. Many of the reasons for this are legit, and some are unfotunate, but I’ll give you a hint – it doesn’t have much to do with insurance company profits.
Also, I think it’s awesome that the rider in question had his bill waived. I know some hospitals will set up fairly generous payment plans, but I’ve never heard of them waiving fees almost entirely.
Update: I spoke with a guy a while ago and it shed a bit of light into why this bill may have been waived. Previously, if a bill hadn’t been paid after a certain period, hospitals would forgive the debt and write it off as a charitable donation. This is beneficial for tax purposes – they wouldn’t get the money from the bill, but by writing that amount off they saved an amount equivalent to 35% of it in taxes. Now, due to revisions in the tax code, they can only write this off as charity if they forgive the bill immediately, they are not allowed to wait and see. The guy I talked to was working with a hospital to develop a model that calculated the probability that someone would pay their bill based on a number of factors. They run the numbers, and if it seems like someone won’t pay the bill, they forgive the debt in the beginning. Unfortunately, the costs of fogiving these bills are factored in to what everyone else pays, so those who don’t have their debts forgiven are even more screwed. As with most government regulation, some people win, and some people lose.