I would love to buy a camper.  You know, the pop-up kind that you pull behind when you travel, and that keeps you and the kids from sleeping on the wet, rocky ground!  If only I had camper insurance, then a bunch of other folks who had kicked in could help fund my purchase of the camper.

I have always wanted a mule.  My great grandfather raised mules.  But I never purchased any mule insurance!  Dang it.

And wouldn’t it be wonderful to send my children abroad to school! They would really benefit.  But I didn’t purchase the ‘college education’ insurance.  I guess they’ll be going locally.

My wife and I have four children.  Feeding them can be expensive.  Why didn’t I get the ‘feeding my family insurance?’ That way, when others weren’t needing as much food (due to old age or sickness), we could use their premiums to fill our freezer!  Oh well, maybe next time.

Doesn’t it all sound stupid?  And yet, this is what I hear:  ‘I’ll get the MRI when I get insurance.’  ‘I can’t be admitted, I don’t have insurance!’ ‘We’ll try to have a baby when we can get insurance.’

Why should a regularly used commodity like health-care require another commodity, insurance, in order to access it?

And yet, we see more and more agitation for expanded insurance benefits.  But that’s the problem,not the cure.  Insurance shields some from the real price of care (by allowing others in the insurance pool to pay for it) and then exposes still others (the uninsured) to costs that are elevated because the uninsured see insured cost.  Admittedly, that’s an oversimplification.  Part of the insured cost is due to hospitals and physicians covering the uninsured.  Still, it’s generally true.  It’s a circular kind of madness.

I suspect that if there never had been any insurance, we would not have the problems we have now.  Costs would have stayed lower.  Let’s face it, you can make all the expensive drugs and therapies in the world, but if no one can (or will) buy them, you’re out of luck as a manufacturer.  Or physician.

Maybe it’s time we seriously look at the idea of just doing away with insurance and starting on a cash basis.  I know it sounds absurd, and maybe we’re too far gone, but I think it may be our last, best hope to save American healthcare.


PS  For a good book on the problems with insurance, see:  2 Days That Ruined Your Health Care.


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