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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why I Love Our Medical System

As you know, I've been a little out of pocket the past couple of days hanging out at the hospital.  Nice to see that things have remained calm in my absence.

My wife had some surgery at a wonderful hospital in Boston with an equally wonderful surgeon.  I would give a more specific shout out, but given it's Boston, probably better that they not get an endorsement from me.

We had to go "out of network" but most of it will be covered from our private insurance which is a run of the mill, standard issue policy available to anyone in the Cornell group.  We could have stayed in-network, and it would not have cost us anything, but that was our choice. We live frugally and save for rainy days like this.

We sought out the surgeon specifically for his expertise.  He appears to have a thriving private practice, because there was a delay of a few weeks until he had an opening.  I hope he is making a fortune, he deserves it.  (All went well, by the way.)

We didn't have to go on a government created waiting list; or worry about whether we met the age or other parameters for the surgery.  And there was no shortage of supply.  If that surgeon were not available there were plenty of other competent choices.  Most of all, we controlled the whole process. 

This experience is pretty typical for the many surgeries we have had in the family in the past two decades.  Sure we hate it when the insurance companies nickel-and-dime us on some reimbursements, but when it has counted for the big ticket items, it never has been a problem.

As I pointed out as the health care debate raged in 2009 and early 2010, the vast majority of people in this country have health insurance, and the vast majority of those people are satisfied.

If your comeback is that there are many people who do not have such benefits, I agree.  So let's make the current system more accessible, let's not destroy it.for the rest of us.

Obamacare, with its bureaucratic tentacles reaching deep into every aspect of our health care, is a disaster waiting to happen.  We lost round one, now we have to knock it out.: 

Update:  There are many aspects of Obamacare which are bad, but this recent experience highlights to me the damage from the destruction of the catastrophic insurance market.  Since high deductible policies no longer are acceptable under Obamacare, such policies will all but cease to exist.  Making low cost, high deductible policies available more easily would prevent the sort of financial disasters which are the worst feature of the current system.  Such common sense solutions would have worked far better at reforming the system than Obamacare ever will.

Related Posts:
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An Inconvenient Truth About The "Death Panel"
"Put Your Laws All Over My Body"

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  1. "Nice to see that things have remained calm in my absence."

    Your sarcasm becomes you, sir. ;)

  2. So let's make the current system more accessible, let's not destroy it.for the rest of us.

    Wow! You sound just like Sarah Palin!


    Glad all is well.

  3. Hear, hear! Great post. And - glad to hear that all went well. :D

  4. Having been on the receiving end of health care over the past 18 months far too often, I concur with your analysis. I had major issues with my primary care physician who seemed to never actually TREAT me, but instead referred me to endless specialists, but in the end, I got rid of her and the specialists in large part and am very happy with my CareFirst Blue Cross HMO. I am feeling healthy and am actually healthier right now than I've been in years. I really want to keep my coverage. I'm 68 years old and not yet availing myself of Medicare, nor do I want to do so. As long as I'm working full time, I won't be forced into it. So I'm continuing to work full time!

  5. Does the name of this hospital rhyme with Brigham and Women's Hospital? Wild guess.

  6. The vast majority of people who don't have health insurance can get excellent health care if they need it.

  7. We did basically the same. She picked the surgeon and got exactly the care she wanted. All the while we never had to justify ourselves to some government functionary. They do some pretty amazing things with a knife and a sawsall these days.

  8. Been there done that. I was uninsured, needed my mitral valve repaired, got one of the top surgeons in the world (WORLD!) to repair it, paid what I could, worked off some of it, got a grant for some and the hospital discounted some of it. Good surgeons know more than just how to perform surgery - they know how to get the whole job done.

  9. Well, looks like the deficit commission not too keen on Drs. pay....they propose that Docs get paid less. And in exchange we'll pay Lawyers less too!, so there...social justice is action

  10. Your point in the update was well taken. No rational observer can conclude this health care bill was about fixing problems. It was all about government control of the health care system. So, the same people that cannot plan lunch and who think the new TSA procedures are perfectly lovely, now want to control health care. The whole idea is absurd.

  11. Glad to hear things worked out for you. In Southern California, where I live, the patient typically picks up 30% of out of network costs for surgery. This is prohibitively expensive for most people.

    The networks are not insurance networks, which may have hundreds of specialists, but "practice networks" with much fewer specialists.

    While we may debate the merits of Obamacare, to state that the system works because you had a good experience with it, is, as the doctors say, "anecdotal". The system works badly for many people, and many doctors, if you talk to them about it, are also unhappy.

    I hope you wife recovers quickly.

  12. I'm happy for your family, as a practicing surgeon, and Instapundit reader. Doctors, even the best are not so content that the 'system' is fashioned in a way that respects them and their patients, however.

    We need to ask for help from the best lawyers, judges and legislators to reform our system in some other fashion than Obamacare - status quo has some definite problems - nobody would deny that.

  13. Well, actually, the health care bill basically was in favor of the status quo. Force people to give money to health insurance companies by requiring health insurance for everyone.

    Personally, it's easy to say this system works great, unless you happen to be like me, and are sick and can't afford a doctor.

    Drop by a free clinic sometime and see just how great the health care system is working. It will open eyes.

    But hey, a rich law professor can afford health care, so the system is great. (Never mind that lawyers are a big reason health care is so expensive for the rest of us...)

  14. Canadian here. Don't let anyone fool you - our system is horrible (unless you're poor). Everyone I know goes to the USA for operations, and pays out of pocket, because the wait here is just too long, the equipment isn't as good as in the USA, and the expertise is not as cutting edge.

  15. to state that the system works because you had a good experience with it, is, as the doctors say, "anecdotal". The system works badly for many people, and many doctors, if you talk to them about it, are also unhappy.

    I love that. First you say his claim is "anecdotal" but then go on to say it is bad because you talk to people.

  16. Please keep in mind the idea of choice. Once it becomes "personal" you are gratified that in America we still have choice.


  17. There are too many moving parts for the health care or health insurance system to run well for everyone. I would have thought that those on the opposite side of this debate from mine would really get behind the numbers here - the greatest good for the greatest number, and all. The fact that they don't suggests to me that the greatest good is not, in fact, what the debate is about, but rather maximum governmental intervention. For some reason. I'll never understand that impulse...

    But anyway, Jeremy et al., that YOU are not happy doesn't change the fact that MOST Americans ARE at least satisfied with what they have now. Wouldn't it have been both cheaper and more protective of that which works in our current system simply to address the major issues where everyone concedes a problem (acknowledging that not everyone agrees on the solutions to any of the trouble spots - but that's what a political majority is for, right?) - malpractice reform, the uninsured?