Tag Archives: values

how about behavior reform?

When I started this blog, I wanted to keep personal details out of it. Mostly so if random people happened to find it, they wouldn’t discount my opinions because of my background or experiences. But, let’s be honest: who we are shapes our opinions, world views, understanding and expectations. Right? So, if readers choose to discount my perspective because of any personal details I happen to share, I didn’t want them here anyway!

In 2007 I was working, my husband was in school, and our insurance was provided through my employer. Then I had a baby and chose not to return to work. But because we needed insurance for some medical issues, we chose to pay COBRA for the next 6 or 8 months. COBRA cost us around $850/month, as much as the rent on our apartment.

During that time, I needed to have a small procedure done. It came up just as we were considering ending our COBRA coverage, so we figured we’d see which was the more economical option: pay the $850 for another month of coverage or pay for the procedure in cash. I asked my doctor what the procedure would cost. She had no idea. I asked the front desk people what it would cost, they had no idea. I asked the billing people and all they could tell me was, “Oh honey, it’d cost a few thousand dollars at best.” No one could give me an exact figure. So, we paid for another month of COBRA.

But it’s hit me lately that, as consumers, it’s almost impossible for us to operate within the healthcare market the same way we operate within other markets. My husband, for example, is a huge deal hunter. He researches, he studies, he shops around, he gets the best deal he can find. I don’t think we pay full price for much of anything, and it’s great to be able to choose how we spend our money on the items we want or need.

With our healthcare, however, we don’t even question the cost. Why? Because “our insurance covers it.” Someone else is paying for it. We’ve even adopted the attitude that, “Well, I probably could just wait out this cold, but shoot, it’s only $5 to see the doctor, I might as well go in.” What does that doctor visit really cost? Who knows? $100? $10? If the healthcare market actually functioned like every other market in this country, I’d call around and see which doctor had the best rates (combined with the best quality of service) before going in and spending my money on a visit.

Before we blow trillions of dollars on sweeping healthcare reform, why don’t we focus on behavior reform? If consumers could understand comparison shopping and financial accountability, they’d force the market to become competitive, all without government involvement or mandates. How to achieve this, I have no idea, but letting the credit market crash would’ve been a good start.

This video demonstrates my point exactly! And I appreciate how he clarifies that insurance initially existed to cover huge expenses like cancer treatment, catastrophic emergencies, etc., not routine, day-to-day care. Can’t we get back to that way of thinking?

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Excuse me, is my conservatism showing?

I have a confession: I’m not a Democrat. (Is it that obvious?)

But I’m not a Republican, either. I don’t affiliate myself with any particular political party. Mostly because I want to feel free to examine issues and candidates without the blinders that sometimes accompany partisan platforms and agendas. Instead, I try to use my common sense while researching and forming opinions about politics. I tend to agree with conservatives; that doesn’t mean I’m against change. I am very religious; that doesn’t mean I don’t value science. I believe in capitalism and free enterprise; that doesn’t mean I believe in greed and special interests.

If you want to know what I stand for (and even if you don’t, too bad; it’s my blog), I’m sure the list will sound familiar to some of you: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, and integrity. It’s a list of principles I’ve heard since I was young. I’ve repeated it countless times without really thinking about what it all meant. As I get older, I realize these values infiltrate every aspect of life. Even politics. I could expound on how each of these builds on the other, how each plays a foundational role in not only living your own life but building a sense of community and making an impact in the world around you.

I think choice and accountability are the two principles that set us apart from other countries, yet are in the greatest danger of becoming extinct.

For example, I was in the car the other day, the radio was on. A teaser for the upcoming news announced, “Americans are constantly complaining about how difficult and how expensive their healthcare system is. So why are they so resistant to change?” I laughed out loud. I, personally, am not resistant to change, and I’m pretty sure 99% of the rest of you aren’t, either. What I’m resistant to is the kind of change the government is currently offering: a take-over of healthcare. I’m resistant to losing my ability to make decisions about my healthcare for myself and instead having to rely on some bureaucrat who thinks he knows better.

And not just in the healthcare arena. Back before the ’08 elections, a friend and I got into a little email conversation about the issues and candidates. Somewhere along the line, the term “socialism” came up and my friend made a comment that still haunts me: “Socialism. Anytime I hear that term, it makes me laugh. Everyone is so afraid of ‘socialism;’ what’s there to be afraid of?” And continued to take the usual stance that we should all provide for the needy, we should all have equal access to goods and services, yada yada yada.

Sure. I can’t argue with that. We should be providing for the needy. We should have equivalent access to goods and services that we need. The big difference is choice. Why should government officials or laws tell me what to do with my money, time, services, possessions, or ideas? Socialist leaders make all the choices for their citizens because they think ordinary folk aren’t capable of thinking for themselves. Socialists think capitalism is evil because (gasp!) individuals come up with ideas on their own and (double gasp!) profit from them. And what good could possibly come from making a better opportunity for yourself?

Gosh, I don’t know; maybe a sense of self-worth, a sense of independence, a sense of accomplishment, value, hard work, accountability for decisions? Wow. Those sound terrible. Completely detrimental to society.

President Obama hasn’t put us on the path to socialism, he’s just taking bigger steps down the path that was laid out for him. Our government has grown and taken over freedoms administration by administration as they pass legislation about issues that should have nothing to do with them.  If anything, the legislation should come from state governments, as outlined in the Constitution. President Bush (43rd) tripled the size of the federal government. And I think it’s high time we started taking it back and holding our leaders accountable before they tell you what kind of car to drive, what temperature your home should be, how many kids to have, or how much you should be earning.

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