GOP’s ‘free market’ principles don’t apply to health insurance companies
To my conservative, Republican, and Libertarian readers: you all believe in the free market system. Let the market decide and all will be right.
So help me out, okay. I want to buy some insurance. The insurance I seek isn’t for my auto or home or even life. Those I can find. Those send me literature in the mail, even if I don’t know them.
So how come I can’t buy health insurance?
This is a serious question. I have people knocking over themselves to sell me auto insurance, and I haven’t had a car since 2005. I don’t own a home, but I rent. People will gladly sell me renters insurance. Although I don’t have dependents, someone will eagerly sell me a life insurance policy.
But no one will sell me a health insurance policy.
Oh, someone will theoretically be interested in selling a policy. And they will be fairly polite to me in the conversation. But they have no intention of selling me a policy.
They might decide to sell me part of a policy, yet charge me full price. Sort of like selling me renters insurance, but not covering me for a fire or a tornado.
If you haven’t used health insurance in any significant way — significant being defined by the insurance company — then they would likely sell you a policy. Even some auto insurance companies will still take you in, even if you’ve had an accident.
But health insurance is unique in that if you’ve used it, they have no use for you. And if you’re unemployed, and your COBRA/state continuation has run out, in some states, tough.
Really. In the land of the free markets, the answer is “Sorry, none for you.”
I won’t bore you with the list of past ailments, or the medications I take. The list is probably similar to yours or someone you know. And unlike a lot of males my age, I have visited the doctor so I will feel better. Too bad that every visit means another reason that the insurance companies won’t sell you insurance.
Isn’t that brilliant? A man in his 40s can walk around with a fasting blood sugar of 300, and as long as he isn’t diagnosed, he can get health insurance. Now compare this to another man in his 40s who has had fasting blood sugar above 300, went to the doctor 6 years ago to fix it, and now has fasting blood sugar samples in the normal range. That person, who helped himself get better, can’t get health insurance.
High blood pressure can be enough to deny you insurance. And how many people have that “affliction”?
If you haven’t gone through this process, here’s a peek: You fill out a humiliating form, requiring information that you have no idea about, and yet it’s about you. For example, give us three blood pressure readings in the last year.
Even as you fill out your humiliating form, you realize that you aren’t likely to get approved, yet you still do so. Even if you get approved, it still may not be what you were looking for. And you get to pay for the right, that is, if they will take your money. At least with a dating service, you are probably going out on a date.
One of the interim solutions, since most of the health care solutions that the teabaggers are ranting about haven’t kicked in yet, was to have pools for people who need health insurance. Since there are a lot of people in this boat, why not have a pool (if you aren’t already sick of water analogies)?
The catch: you have to be uninsured for 6 months to qualify. If you have a “pre-existing condition,” you can’t afford to be without health insurance. So those people are out of luck until the next round of reforms comes years from now.
Of course, the best solution for conservatives, Republicans, and Libertarians is to have the free market system decide. Well, the free market system has “decided” to not sell insurance. So the people of these political stripes should clear the way for those people a chance to get insurance through the government. Unless they have a better answer.