The Advantages of Patient Controlled Health Care.

Today we have health care controlled by doctors and insurance companies.  Unfortunately such a system leads to much higher costs, and in some cases, inferior care because people cannot afford to pay the high fees charged by doctors, or the high premiums charged by insurance companies.  The entire US health care system appears to exist more for the benefit of providers and insurance companies than for the health of the American people. This is one of the major reasons why US health care costs out of control.  Costs so high that they are damaging the rest of our economy.  Draining away money that could be spent on other things.  Money that could be used to create more jobs, a better life for all of us…

We are edging close to having national health care costs of three trillion dollars a year.  Or about twice the cost that the rest of the developed world spends on their own health care. Additionally, the patient may well make decisions for himself that others will disagree with. However under the principles of libertarianism, it is the right of the patient to make these decisions even if the decisions do go against what a doctor would recommend doing.  For an example, consider someone with cancer who chooses hospice over chemotherapy.  Or who decides to take a pain controlling medicine even if it may shorten their lives.  The patient makes the decision.  It is their life, and as an individual, it should be their own decision.  Of course you have to be willing to accept the consequences of taking care of your own health care. If you are not prepared to do this, then you will have to put your life in someone else’s hands and accept their decision in place of your own.  This is an issue you will have to decide for yourself.  Your decisions could shorten your life by some unknown amount, but on the other hand if you believe in the ideals of libertarianism, then you are most likely willing to take this level of responsibility for yourself, at least to some level instead of relying upon others to make these decisions for yourself.  This is a decision only you can make.  There are of course consequences both good and bad in making such decisions.

One problem is the health insurance companies who seek to keep from having to pay out benefits.  There is a natural conflict between the policy holder and the insurance company in that what is a benefit to the policy holder is considered to be a “loss” to the company in the form of the concept of “medical loss ratio” (comparison of premiums paid in to benefits paid out).  Which brings up the question of whether or not there is a satisfactory substitute for health insurance.  Such as perhaps low interest long term loans instead of insurance. Of course for some things the cost would be so high that this option would be of little value to you.  However these situations are actually quite rare and most people will never reach this point.  For those who are concerned, there are catastrophic plans offered by insurance companies that will pay for conditions where the cost runs into the five and six figure level.

For most people, a good “Health Savings Account” is the best solution, but unfortunately the current restrictions on these make them less valuable than they would be otherwise.  Even so, there are considerable savings in being able to pay cash for medical services over using medical insurance, especially as insurance companies plan upon receiving a dollar’s worth of premiums for every 80 cents worth of benefits that they pay out.  A 20% rate of payment over benefits is even worse than what you’re likely to be paying in credit card interest!  Additionally, insurance companies like to have you have a lot of unnecessary lab tests and so forth, since the added benefits allow them to increase their premiums in turn. The average lab test doesn’t test for any really serious problems that have to be dealt with right away.  A screening for cancer might be worthwhile, but much of what is tested for the most part are not issues that require immediate attention for the most part.  Going by my own experience, about three fourths of the lab tests I get are not really all that necessary. They do of course put money into people’s pockets, your doctor earns more money, so they naturally support all of this.  Remember, if someone is going to profit from having you do something, it’s best to determine for yourself if they are acting in your best interest or in their own interest.  I fear that the second is much more common than the first in many cases.  Additionally, the more tests are made, the more possible mistakes can occur.  I’ve found too that doctors make mistakes, jump to conclusions that can be very expensive for you.  Nor are they anywhere near as infallible or even competent as most people think.  It is possible that certain tests, especially “stress tests”, can lead to heart attacks.  My own father died in a hospital after being admitted by a doctor who had run a “stress test” and apparently strained his heart to the point that my father died that night during a “23 hour observation”.  Medical mistakes do kill people, something like 30,000 of them every year. Roughly about the same number killed in auto accidents.  There are also “near misses”, where people survive, but came close to dying.  These are apparently even more frequent. I did survive mine, but only because my wife raised a real big “fuss” and demanded that a specialist be called in to deal with the situation.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this now.

There are some websites that you can use to check things for yourself.  “WebMD” is one I have found very helpful, especially in determining what the side effects of medical drugs are.  The fact that your doctor prescribed a certain medication doesn’t mean that he or she really knows all the possible side effects of that drug, or possible drug interactions.  They don’t have the time to go through this with everyone they see. So it is up to you to do the necessary work on the Internet to learn about the drugs you take and what they can do. Taking care of your health to the limits of your abilities is still the best solution for anyone.

For those interested in pursuing paying cash instead of using insurance, I recommend (http://selfpaypatient.com)  for more information.  There you will find a great deal of information in how you can save money by paying cash instead of using insurance. Remember the insurance company has to make a profit, and on the average you get only 80 cents worth of benefits for every dollar you send them in premiums.  Plus when the doctor doesn’t need to bill your insurance company for payment (and wait to collect it), there is a savings that he or she can pass back on to you.  Also, the Obamacare plan you might buy is likely to have a big deductible before it actually pays anything at all.  One serious flaw that leaves no doubt as to “who” is supposed to benefit from Obamacare!  

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About muskegonlibertarian

77 year old retired owner of a security guard agency. Member of the Libertarian Party.
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