An excellent analysis of Romney's "I like to fire people" comment

See, Mittens defended himself by saying that he doesn’t like to fire people, he means that with competition, you can fire your insurance company. And that’s good. Right? Wrong. Here’s a contextual analysis.

The real issue, unfortunately, is that very, very few people have the luxury that Gov. Romney is endorsing. Let’s say that you are self-employed, and lucky enough to have found a company to provide you with health insurance. Then, let’s say you develop cancer. You suddenly find out that your insurance company stinks. So you fire them, right?

Of course not. You’re screwed. Now you have a pre-existing condition. There’s not an insurance company out there that wants to cover you. So you don’t fire them. You scream, and curse, and cry, but you’re stuck. Only healthy people have the luxury of picking and choosing.

Let’s also not forget that most people don’t find out that they’re not getting “good service” until they’re sick. Healthy people don’t make much use of their insurance, so they don’t know how bad it is. They only find out after they’re ill, and then it’s too late. It’s only fun to fire the insurance company if you’re sure you can go to another company to get what you need. Almost no one can.

I’ve felt this first hand. I tried to get even small-time insurance, and after a back injury I was told that, since my chiropractor had, years prior, diagnosed me with “lumbago” (which is chiro talk for “unspecified lower back pain”), I could not have an injury treated with coverage. I couldn’t leave them, either.

The notion of being able to scrap bad insurance and opting for better might work if you’re a healthy person who occasionally peruses the policy details, sees stuff you don’t like and then goes shopping for better. But if you’re in the middle of a health crises? Of course not. It’s quite literally impossible to get insurance when you’re already in need of service.

Now, if it was impossible for insurance companies to turn people down for preexisting conditions, that might let competition work, but that… well that sounds a lot like the Democrats’ plan doesn’t it? Not that it would work, either.

Allow me to digress.

You see, the reason insurance companies turn people down with pre-existing conditions is that, from a strictly business perspective, someone with a pre-existing condition is likely to lose you money. Let’s say you have what Insurance News calls a “good” policy, which runs around $200/mo. Now let’s say you need bypass surgery. Cost? Nearly $60,000. When you’re spending $2400 a year on insurance, to cover your own costs it’d be about 25 years of steady payments.

Again, these are just example numbers, simplifying things greatly, but the point is, imagine if that person needed heart surgery, and joined up for health insurance just for it. Boom, now the company is spending that money that they’ll never see back from him. That’s sixty grand they’ll need to pick back up elsewhere. Extrapolate this. In order to be able to pay out for these expensive procedures, they need to average more money in from policyholders than they pay. And that’s not even considering, say, visits or prescriptions. I, for example, take Lexapro, which costs $25/mo with coverage, and $130/mo without. That’s $1200/yr taken care of by insurance.

Now imagine you could hold off on getting insurance until you had something bad happen. Something that would otherwise preclude you from insurance. Now you can just sit around, pay for the occasional doc visit, and then buy some insurance later when you need it and are going to be costing more than you pay in. Which makes sense. No one’s gonna opt to pay more into insurance than they would have spent on care outright. But if everyone had the option to do so, then everyone would cost money and drive the business into bankruptcy. Again, insurance only works if the average person spends more than they take out.

This is why privatized health care is a failure and socialized makes more sense. When taxes are used to put into the pool, it’s a safe bet that the average American will need less than they’ll give in over the course of their lifetime, and that’s kinda the point. That’s how it’ll work. Everyone pays in, and when a minority needs it, it’s covered.

To bring it around, it’s just why Mitt is so out of touch. He’s a guy that’s full of money and government coverage, so he has no real idea of what it’s like in the trenches and just assumes that “capitalism” works with insurance. It can work with doctors if you pay for them outright, sure, but insurance? Hell no.


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