Health Care is Not Health Insurance


One of the biggest pet peeves of mine is people who conflate “health care” with “health insurance”.

If you are healthy, and are worried that you might contract some expensive disease, you need health insurance. This will cover future expenses related to some unforeseen disease that you are unlikely to get. It is, in short, the opposite of gambling. You are basically aggregating the risk of getting sick with a lot of other people, with the agreement that those who have some bad event will get covered.

If you are diagnosed with a bad disease, what you need is health care. Obviously, health insurance should cover that health care for you if you did not already have that disease before you bought insurance.

In today’s medical industry, we have conflated the two concepts. We don’t need insurance for people who are already sick. We need doctors, we need hospitals, we need nurses and technicians and machines and medicines.

Ideally, health insurance would simply pay out a lump sum when you get diagnosed with a disease. They would run calculations to figure out how likely you are to get a disease, and if you end up with that disease, they write you a check. You would then use that money to pay for health care to treat that disease for the rest of your life.

Now, to address people today who have already been diagnosed with bad diseases and are looking for health insurance, let me explain what you really, really want more than anything else in the world: You want the best medical care for the lowest price possible.

Thus, you really want a free-market solution for health care, since the free market and capitalism has been proven time and again to drive down costs and increase quality.

For those of you who are healthy but worry about what would happen if you got sick, you need health insurance, and you want it at the lowest price possible with the highest coverage. So you, too, need a free market and capitalism, which are proven to bring the lowest priced goods at the highest quality to the largest number of people.

The combination of free market health care and free market health insurance would be the ultimate ideal. Not only would you get the benefits of free markets for those industries in isolation, but the fact that medical care is cheap and abundant would mean you don’t need as much insurance coverage.

We live in a world today where free market goods are readily available to even the poorest among us. It is the brutal and condescending regulations of government bureaucrats that is causing health care costs to go up and health care quality to go down, along with the problems in the health insurance industry. Keep that in mind, and look for a free market solution, even if you are sick right now.

4 Responses to “Health Care is Not Health Insurance”

  1. Jason Says:

    The problem is that there is no fix for bad behavior. Sure, doctors, hospitals and big pharma will take your money when you get sick but the only cure comes from a proper diet and proper body maintenance.

    We are getting murdered by people’s poor health choices. No pill, procedure or health plan will fix that. Look at your parents. One died of a untreatable cancer. Nothing can be done about that. The other one makes poor choices daily then is more than happy to take hundred of thousands of dollars from the government but recoiles at the idea of lifestyle modification.

    It is simply not sustainable to keep financing poor health choices.

    If you do not care enough about you to take care of yourself then why should anyone else?

    I think the only answer is a single payer system the is funded by shitty processed foods. Any food with more than one ingredient get a 100% tax. So a tomato will be tax free but pasta sauce will be taxed. Treatments would be limited to things that work. No depression pills, statins, etc.

    Somebody will eventually have to say no to treating people who dont care about themselves.

    Again, look at dad. All of his problems are due to diet. All are preventable. Why should I have to pay for him? Doesn’t that seem selfish and immoral?

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I agree that we too often treat the medical system the same way we treat our auto mechanics. Doctors should be teaching us how to keep better care for our bodies rather than only showing up in emergencies. Health care should be about focusing on how you spend your health, not just trying to alleviate the suffering of illness.

      We need to be careful when we inject ourselves into other people’s lifestyles, though. How can we know more about what they’re doing and going through than they do? Give them the tools to take care of themselves, give them the responsibility, then let them make their own decisions and suffer the consequences of it. If we’re going to take their freedom away, then we become their slavemasters and we become accountable for their health, which I certainly don’t want to do.

      If we’re going to try to influence people to behave better, it comes with patience and love and all that. An old man set in his ways isn’t going to change overnight, and we shouldn’t expect him to. We can be kind and patient though, and we can gently persuade him to make changes, and all the while still respect his personal responsibility and empower him to make better choices should he want to.

      Regarding dad collecting thousands of dollars from the government, he’s paid more than enough into that system and frankly, it’s highly unlikely he’ll get everything back he paid in, especially when you consider what that money would’ve done had he only invested it in the market.

  2. Jason Gardner Says:

    Two factors in play here:

    1) Healthcare does not really work that well. Sure, they’ll keep you alive in some sense of the word but the majority of health care is simply trying to stop the damage people are doing to themselves and works extremely marginally at best. Healthcare cannot, by in large, make you healthy if you choose to be unhealthy.

    Doctors, hospitals and the pharma companies love it that American public believes that happiness and health are just a procedure or pill away. However, study after study shows that this is not the case. Annual check-ups don’t work, statins don’t work, the best cure for diabetes is diet, etc.

    So the first point is that we spend hundreds of billions on remedies that don’t work.

    2) Incentives do work. We know what makes people unhealthy. Fast food, processed food, sugar, etc. Most people are bombarded by health information they get from media. The message of “this crap can be a part of a health diet” is effective. People, for the most part, don’t understand how dangerous some foods are.

    Sugar, for instance. Sugars (and their sisters / derivatives) are by far the worst chemical humans are exposed to right now. Responsible for diabetes, vision loss, vascular disease and likely the cause of dementia, etc. This list is nearly infinite.

    And the government subsidizes it.

    So we are subsidizing poor health choices and providing incentives for people to use useless health care treatments. That is how we have the current disaster.

    Now the health care system we choose, government or private, isn’t really the issue. The issue is the money we spend collectively on health care and how effective it is.

    If you really want to save money (public and private) something has to be done to either get people healthier (education/incentives) or reduce the use of useless procedures.

    Think about the case of a guy who is overweight, out of shape and has a poor diet, rich in sugars and processed foods. He goes to the doctor and the doctor puts him on insulin. That costs money. He could also change his diet (very effective) to a healthy diet free of processed foods and sugars. The second option is radically cheaper. Especially considering the future problems (heart, kidney, eyes, vascular system) that will still need to be treated in the absence of dietary change.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Get government out of the food industry and out of health care. Let people make their own choices, and let them pay the price for their own choices.

      When people have to pay for the consequences of their decisions, and there is no mama government to save them from themselves, they are either going to succumb to the diseases or figure out that maybe a lifestyle change is in order.

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