This US News and World Report was good: More Young People Going Without Health Insurance but the subhead was annoying – “Study finds 13.7 million without coverage, mostly because of cost.” The fact is that families are making informed decisions to not buy individual policies for their young adult children (which are quite inexpensive) because those young adults need little or no health care. Rather than spend $100 a month on a policy that will almost certainly not get used, they’d prefer to spend $75-100 on a doctors visit, and try to get samples, or request generics for any medication that will be needed. Because for the vast majority of people that age, the flu, an ear or yeast infection, or other mild-to-moderate problems requiring a single visit are the worst thing that will happen. Why spend $1200 on that gap year when you probably only need to spend $100-$150? It’s just common sense; less of a gamble than an educated financial decision.
It’s yet another false crisis to soften us up for socialized medicine, a philosophy which to one degree or another, all three presidential candidates subscribe. Still, the article was at least somewhat evenhanded; what you get out of a casual read of it will depend on your point of view.
The number of young adults without health insurance rose again in 2006, so 38 percent of high school graduates and 34 percent of college graduates will spend some time uninsured in the year after graduation, a new report shows.
It rose AGAIN. But they balanced it with “some” time.
“We’ve been tracking this since 2003, and every year we’ve done the study, the number of uninsured has grown,” said report co-author Sara Collins, an assistant vice president at the Commonwealth Fund.
There were 13.7 million Americans aged 19 to 29 without health insurance in 2006, up from 13.3 million in 2005, according to the latest federal data, the report said.
EVERY YEAR the number grows. Oh noes! They at least were specific with stating that people were without insurance, not without care. Free or discounted care is available from a variety of sources in this country.
“There are a couple of transition periods when you turn 19,” Collins said. “Many health insurance programs won’t cover you as a child, and also when you graduate from college.”
Public programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program end coverage at the age of 19. “Voluntary employer-provided insurance is tied to the ability to get a job, and the jobs available to young people tend to be those that don’t carry benefits,” Collins said.
While young people are less likely to need health care, “they do use the health-care system,” she said. “Losing coverage at this time can affect your ability to transition effectively into a situation of health care.”
That’s right; they are MUCH less likely to need health care. And they tend to only need it for minor things, as I stated above.
And when young people do require health care, it can be because of a major accident, in which costs can be “catastrophic,” Collins said. “And it is never a good idea to be without health insurance, no matter what your age.”
Those costs CAN be catastrophic. But they can also be treated in a charity hospital, or waived, or paid out over long periods with no real effect on your credit report. For the vast majority of people these things don’t come up at all, and for the few who decide to go without insurance (which, again, is extremely cheap for healthy young people) this is the consequence. It’s easily dealt with over time. And care is not withheld from those who need it. The overall effect of the article is to convey that THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT MUST BE SOLVED! But the fact is that the marketplace already makes cheap coverage available, and that in a free country people are able to choose how to spend their money, and in a free country, there are consequences – sometimes bad ones – for our choices. That’s not a problem that must be solved. There’s a basic “safety net” in that care is not withheld, welfare is available in certain circumstances, and private payment agreements can be made.
And to cleanse the palate of the “victim” image the article paints of young American adults, here’s a repost of my For The Sicko Fans from last July with some very relevant videos:
If you enjoyed Sicko and would now like to base our nations healthcare system on a few anecdotes and some very dicey statistics, here’s a couple of palette-cleansing videos for you.
First, it’s not a crisis for the US:
It’s a crisis for those who are stuck with single payer healthcare:
How are those anecdotes working out for you now? I’ll say it again:
War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, single-payer healthcare is free. The very name, “single-payer healthcare” is one of the best modern examples of Newspeak I’ve ever heard. It’s not “single-payer.” Everybody pays. Whether they use it or not. And it’s not “healthcare.” It’s healthcare rationing. Kevin, MD posts often on the lunacy that is “universal health care” or a single-payer system such as those used by Britain and Canada. And it is lunacy to give the government control of how and when we see a doctor.
And here’s one more – four months to get an MRI for a possible brain tumor: