What Do I Care If You Click The Link? The Nevada Health Link

Nevada Health LinkOkay, I’m an old fogey.  So, what do I care if you click the link to find out more about  the Affordable Care Act health care insurance plans available to you whippersnappers?

Because this is good news for all of us, and Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, helps explains why this is in my own best interests:

“This is good news. It means that tens of millions of people who are uninsured now will likely be insured in the next year or two as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However this is actually the less important aspect of the program. The more important part is that those of us who now have insurance will have real health care insurance for the first time.”

That’s right, those  who are already on employer paid plans or like me, are signed up for Medicare — we’ll get BETTER health care.  How does that work?

First, as a person in the Medicare program I get more preventative services at less cost to me.  Medicare now covers mammograms and colonoscopies — not that I particular enjoy those activities — but it is nice to know that they are covered by the Medicare program. That alone makes the sessions less uncomfortable — as if anything could really make a mammogram a “lovely outing.”

Second, I don’t have to worry about the household accounting associated with falling into that miserable prescription drug do-nut hole.  It won’t be there anymore after 2020.

Third, after seeing what happened to an even more elderly relative who was getting prescriptions from a family doctor, and two or three specialists, and then having prolonged sessions at the pharmacy discussing what could be taken when and with what…. whatever… the ACA provisions for coordinated care seem very appealing.  I was confused, I can only imagine the bafflement on her part.

Fourth, I like the part wherein the Medicare program is pretty well guaranteed to last until 2029, actuarially longer than I’ll probably last, it’s nice to know the insurance will be there.

Okay, enough about me, how about you?  How does it help me if you can purchase a health care plan in an exchange/market?

No offense please, but every time someone uses the emergency room for medical issues that could have, should have, been taken care of in a doctor’s office, we’re all out MONEY.  ER’s are expensive, and the more that’s squandered getting health care in the wrong place the more my taxes for the local hospital district have to increase to pay for the services.   I don’t mind that you take the kid to the hospital with the latest fracture or most recent abrasion — I do care when the kid is taken in for a good old fashioned serious cold that could be treated less expensively in your doctor’s office.

Then there’s the fact that for all intents and purposes Medicare is an insurance program.   The entire idea of insurance is that the more people in the pool  the less expensive the premiums will be for everyone.  This is why I was one of those “single payer” people.  However, the single payer idea didn’t fly, and there wasn’t even enough appetite for a “public option” to create more competition in the insurance market.  So, we have the next best thing, one stop shopping for uninsured people, with subsidies to the insurance companies if necessary to recoup the costs of the coverage.

Why do I care if you get insured?  Simple, the easiest answer capitalism has to offer — competition.  Remember, there were some parts of the country, and northern Nevada was one of those parts, in which there wasn’t much competition for individually purchased health insurance policies.  Not much competition means not much incentive to bring down the costs. “No incentive to keep costs down” isn’t part of classic economic theory in regard to pricing, and it isn’t an economically healthy thing.  We will have a better “market” for health insurance when there is more competition.  That’s what those exchanges provide — good old fashioned competition for your business.  If health care costs can be on a less steep trajectory, the longer the Medicare program stays solvent.

I also care because I am truly old enough to have seen people working past their “sell by” date because their health insurance depended on being on someone’s payroll.  Again, older, sicker, people please take no offense, but wouldn’t it be better for the youngsters to get employed in your place, IF you have insurance options that don’t depend on employer contribution insurance?  If a person is hanging on to a job solely for the purpose of maintaining health insurance, that isn’t’ a good thing for this economy.

Finally, the introduction more options for individually purchased health care policies would help people I know — the young family whose first child was born with a heart defect, easily repaired by prompt surgery, but should that family be denied future health care coverage because the little one had a “pre-existing condition?  I think not.

So, go ahead if you don’t already have health insurance — click the link, and see what’s available in the marketplace for you.

Nevada Health Link

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