I took my car in for an oil change. I didn’t make it for the early bird special and thus with tax and everything it cost $42 and some spare change. It took about 15 minutes, the guy came in, tried to up-sell me on some window wipers which I declined and then off I went.
Juxtapose that with my visit to my new, most favorite doctor, Dr. Eelkema.
I don’t like him because he’s personable.
I don’t like him because he’s professional.
I don’t like him because he’s on time.
I like him because he’s cheap.
So cheap in fact that it cost me LESS TO VISIT HIM THAN TO GET MY OIL CHANGED.
I showed up, and with a militant level of adherence to time he was ready for our appointment. Checked a couple things, took my blood pressure, diagnosed my problems and BOOM, I was out the door. And the price for this standard doctor’s visit?
$38 and spare change. AND less time than it took to get my oil changed.
It was one of those times where you were happy to pay because the deal you got provided more utility than the price you even paid.
The question is how does Dr. Eelkema do it?
Simple, he got rid of the insurance companies, thereby eliminating a huge amount of overhead, time and paper work, only takes cash payment and makes you sign a waiver essentially saying you won’t sue.
You eliminate three things – insurance companies, collection problems and lawsuits/lawyers – and the cost of a doctor’s visit drops to $38.
Now it could be because Dr. Eelkema is an older gentleman and maybe he has earned his fortunes and can afford to run his practice that cheaply. Perhaps he is just getting older and as one ages time becomes more valuable than money. But it still couldn’t prevent my economic spidey senses from thinking about what would happen if instead of the 2,000 page health care reform monstrosity Obama/Pelosi/Reid are trying to ram down America’s throat we did a Dr. Eelkema Health Care style reform. That instead treating health insurance like a right, we treat it more like car insurance. You pay OUT OF POCKET expenses for regular maintenance of your car such as oil changes, tire replacement, batteries, etc, just like you would regular maintenance on your body (check ups, visits, tests, etc). However, you only have insurance should a catastrophe occur. You crash your car, the insurance company pays for its repair or an entire new one. You crash your body, the health insurance the insurance company kicks in to repair you. And what amazes me is that if you’re in reasonably decent shape your health insurance and general health expenditures on YOU will cost the same, if not LESS THAN YOUR CAR, BUT THAT'S IF YOU'RE USING A DOCTOR LIKE DR.EELKEMA.
In otherwords, Dr. Eelkema is the empirical proof of "what could be" or what the REAL costs of health care are if you get rid of insurance companies, lawyers, lawsuits, and government. That $38 is what you really have to pay. Not the $200, the majority of which goes to other entities that have NOTHING to do with your health care except to make it more expensive.
But, I know, I know. We’ve all been told health care is a right (forget the fact rights don’t cost anything while health care is a commodity no matter what anybody tells you). And it’s a tragedy if a single mom of 6 children from 6 different fathers has to pay a $15 copay for each of them. And it’s a travesty if a union member has to pay a copay at all. Matter of fact it’s dictatorial totalitarianism if you have to spend a single penny on your own health care. And besides, we have to make sure all those lawyers have plenty of money coming their way, not to mention government bureaucrats need jobs too and taking over 1/6th of the economy will certainly help with that.
But the simple problem is health care reform is just like tax reform. The American people are just too damn brainwashed or perhaps too damn stupid to think that it can be that simple. You can have a flat sales tax or the 13,000 page tax code, just like you can have Obamacare or EelkemaCare.
Enjoy fighting for Obamacare.