Per the Kaiser Family Foundation, the American family spends $15,073 per year in premiums (on average) for the privilege of having health insurance. Add in the average family deductible being $7,983, and you end up with a ballpark of $23,000 total out of pocket before that insurance company does anything, provided they even approve whatever it is that you need done.
Now, that figure is if you meet your deductible, which most people do not. Essentially, you’re paying (again, on average) over $15,000 a year for the right to pay another $8,000 before your insurance provider will cover anything that isn’t routine or preventative. Even after that deductible is met, you’re still on the hook for coinsurance. Considering the average American spends $10,345 on average on health-related expenses, it’s not hard to see how badly we’re getting taken for a wild ride by the fine folks at Anthem and Humana. It becomes even more glaring when you realize that only 5% of the population covers roughly half of the $3.35 trillion Americans will spend on health care this year.
Now that we all understand that the insurance industry has made us all a part of the #MeToo movement, how do we fix it? Well, I have a two phase plan to take care of the abject failure we call a health care system.
Phase 1: Free education and assistance for those going into the medical field. It’s no hidden secret, America is facing a nursing shortage. It’s also no hidden secret that our federal government pisses away money faster than Charlie Sheen in a whorehouse, and could easily earmark the funds from any of the wasted avenues they currently pour it into. But how can there be a shortage when the average hourly rate for a registered nurse is $34.14? Well, probably because nursing school is one of the hardest and most demanding degrees you can pursue. A major roadblock is knowing that nursing is unlike any other major. The pressure is immense and the margin for error is minuscule at best. Also being roughly $25-50,000 in debt (before interest) probably frightens some people. Knowing that when you leave school, you’ll spend the next decade spending more than a mortgage payment just to get the interest on some of your loans paid down is quite alarming. By the time you pay on your loans, your $34 an hour job is now around $22. After taxes, you’re at roughly the same take-home pay as a factory worker, only with ten times the stress, the knowledge that you can kill someone with the slightest mistake can drive you insane. No pressure or anything though, none at all.
Now, what does free education have to do with saving everyone money on health care you ask? The reason nurses get paid so much is because they enter the field with a mountain of debt and have a shit job. Seriously, nurses are a different and special breed of people. My wife and a number of friends work as nurses, and each one of them are a better person than I’ll ever be. The medical industry absolutely could not function without them. So, you wipe out the mountain of student loan debt they put themselves under and in doing so, we can drop their pay to a $25.00 an hour average. Without loan payments, we’ve just given nurses everywhere a pay raise on their take-home pay. And they absolutely deserve to get more money at the end of the day. Additionally, we’ve now saved the medical provider 26% on nursing payroll. Now under our current system, the hospitals and Dr’s offices would just pocket that and buy themselves a shiny new Benz and a beach house. Enter the next step…
Phase 2: Abolish health insurance. Seriously, just wad it up and throw it in the trash where it belongs. We’ve already proven that it does nothing but take your money and not return on what you’ve put into it. The result would be hospitals and Dr’s offices being forced into competition with one another. And it absolutely, 100% works. The Lasik & cosmetic surgery industry is not, has never and will never be covered by health insurance unless absolutely medically necessary. While the cost of overall health care has risen 177% since 1998, the cosmetic surgery industry has risen less than 30% and the laser eye surgery industry is seeing (pun intend) their costs fall by 30% on average. For the sake of clarity, the average cost of goods overall have increased 50.2% since 1998. The reason is in the competitive market design. They are forced to continue developing faster, cheaper and better services. As little as a $100 difference in price is more than enough to sway a consumer from one doctor to another when they provide the same service. Further, the industries have been forced to become safer. Without an insurance company forcing you to one specific provider, the reputation of both the facility and individual surgeon become critical. The overall customer satisfaction rate in the cosmetic surgery industry is 87% and rising. Conversely, the overall customer satisfaction rate in the healthcare industry is at 63% and falling one point a year on average.
So in one industry, you’re seeing costs almost triple over the past 20 years and customer satisfaction spiral down the drain. In the other, you’re seeing customer satisfaction climb higher and higher, while costs are rising at less than the national average. It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots. Forced competition will save you money upfront, save you money over the longterm and provide you with a better overall experience. The money we’ve saved the hospitals by giving the nurses a free education and support gives the medical providers the room to lower their prices and still make money.
Make that doctor earn your business, not be given it by a bullshit industry.
*Any and all topic suggestions are welcome. Comment below and I’ll be happy to add to my list of topics to rant about