Skip to comments.Stories you won't see about the uninsured
Posted on 10/29/2004 7:29:59 PM PDT by Spiff
Stories you won't see about the uninsured
By Craig J. Cantoni
October 29, 2004
(Note: The names have been changed in the following, but the individuals are real-life people known by the author.)
Pete Gasperin is one of the 40 million Americans without medical insurance. A twenty-something, he declined to enroll in his employer's plan. Why? So he could make payments on his new $35,000 Chevy Tahoe SUV, which has chrome wheels costing an additional $5,000.
There are many Americans like Gasperin who drive expensive cars but do without medical insurance, but you wouldn't know it from the media coverage of the uninsured and the rising cost of medical insurance and health care. Curiously, there are scores of headlines about the country having a health care crisis, but none about the country having a car care crisis, although the average household spends about twice as much on cars than on health care.
Mary Shannon, a 25-year-old single woman, works as a nanny and does not have medical insurance. If the media did a story on her, she would be portrayed as a victim of a low-wage economy and unaffordable medical insurance.
The story would not report that she spends $700 per year on a cell phone she doesn't need; $600 on cable TV and high-speed Internet she can live without; $1,200 on drinks costing $3.50 apiece at clubs she frequents almost every night; an extra $1,150 for sexy clothes to wear at the clubs; $1,350 more on food than necessary, due to eating out more often than eating at home; $900 extra for car insurance, due to having a bad driving record; and $1,600 on cigarettes and lottery tickets.
Her total spending on these items is $7,500 per year, not counting her credit card interest payments, or about 40 percent more than the per-capita health care spending in the United States.
Shannon doesn't use her considerable free time at work during the day and at home in the evening to pursue a college or technical degree. She admits that she loves to spend money. Hardly a day goes by without her employer getting calls from collection agencies trying to hunt her down. Shannon is now considering getting breast implants.
If Shannon invested $7,500 per year in the stock market for 30 years and got an average return on her investment of seven percent, she would have a nest egg of $758,000 by the age of 55. Instead, like many Americans, she is counting on the government (a k a other people) coming to her rescue when she is older.
Shannon might come to her senses before it is too late if the media were to tell the whole story about people who find themselves at the age of 55 without medical insurance, a job or savings. One of them is 55-year-old Clyde Breemer, who lost his job as a purchasing manager two months ago and dropped his medical insurance when he had to start paying the portion of the premium that had been picked up by his employer.
Clyde and his wife Denise bought a more expensive home three years ago, when the last of their three children left home to begin a career. Their new mortgage payment is $12,000 more per year than the payment on their former house, and the mortgage will not be paid off until Clyde is 82 years old.
Clyde and Denise have savings of only $50,000, almost all of it in his 401(k) plan. Throughout their marriage, they have bought new cars every two years, taken expensive vacations, taken many weekend trips to Las Vegas to see shows and gamble, held season tickets for the local professional baseball team, and, as they admit, always liked to have a good time.
But if the media did a story on Clyde and Denise, nothing would be said about the personal choices that they have made throughout their lives. Instead, the story would focus on their current financial predicament without telling how they dug a financial hole for themselves over the last 30 years.
And true to the media's formula, the story wouldn't explain that health insurance and health care are more expensive and less available than they would otherwise be for Clyde and Denise, for one simple reason: The government dealt a mortal blow to a fledgling consumer market in health insurance 62 years ago in 1942, when misguided wartime wage and price controls resulted in employees becoming dependent on their employers for medical insurance. Then, 23 years later in 1965, the government delivered the coup de grace to a consumer market when it enacted Medicare. Now, 80 percent of Americans obtain their health insurance through a third party, either from an employer or the government, and thus have little financial incentive or freedom to control costs.
Worse, the third-party payment system has spawned an entitlement mentality that crosses all socioeconomic classes. Americans whine more about a $25 co-payment for an office visit with their physician than they do about paying $25 for gas, $30 for an oil change, $8 for a car wash and $300 for a brake job. They snivel more about paying their share of medical insurance premiums than they do about paying their car insurance premiums and car payments. And, falling for government, media and public school propaganda, they complain about the rising cost of health care but not about the rising cost of government, which costs the average household more than four times as much as the cost of health care.
And heaven forbid if Americans were asked to make economic tradeoffs in order to buy medical insurance. After all, they are entitled to cars with leather seats, keyless door locks, power windows, automatic transmissions, 250-horsepower engines and expensive sound systems. They are entitled to homes with three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, family rooms, air-conditioning, dishwashers, garages, walk-in closets, cable television and big-screen TVs. They are entitled to drop thousands of dollars at sporting events, casinos and restaurants. And if they are too busy with their own lives to supervise their children, they are entitled to "free" tutors, smaller classes, after-school programs, preschool programs, and Taj Mahal public schools.
Their unwillingness to make economic tradeoffs and live frugal lives stems from their belief that the government will provide for them in old age, a belief that is predicated on another belief: that it is moral, ethical, just and fair for those who haven't lived frugal lives and saved nest eggs to take the nest eggs of those who have lived frugal lives.
They are aided and abetted in their selfishness, materialism, greed and immorality by mainstream reporters, who never tell the whole story about people like Peter Gasperin, Mary Shannon, and Clyde and Denise Breemer.
Mr. Cantoni is an author, columnist and founder of Honest Americans Against Legal Theft (www.haalt.org). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RE: Pete Gasperin is one of the 40 million Americans without medical insurance. A twenty-something, he declined to enroll in his employer's plan. Why? So he could make payments on his new $35,000 Chevy Tahoe SUV, which has chrome wheels costing an additional $5,000.
What a total, freakin' idiot!
Most of the losers in my area are on state aid of some sort. They spend most of the day riding to the nearest bar on their ATVs tearing up all of the public land (and some private) along the way. Then they drive their snowmobiles around during the winter. No job, no insurance all kinds of free time to dream about voting for Kerry.
I have been a multiple lines insurance agent for 35 years, and can say this is very true.
But I believe it would have been appropriate to say his name is Legion.
There really are so many who make choices like that.
It's a gamble but most 20-somethings don't need health insurance. When I was one, I had no health insurance and never would have used it if I'd had it.
Health insurance isn't cash value style, so there's no point of starting it at 20 because you might need it at 40.
The point is that these uninsured (by choice or by sheer idiocy) are being counted by Kerry as the poor, poor uninsured.
Hmmmmm .... so, let's say , just for the sake of argument [YOU LOSER!] that you had gotten in a crash [YOU LOSER!] and been taken to your friendly local hospital with your guts hanging out of you [YOU LOSER!]. How do you think I, for example, would have liked the idea of paying for your idiocy!
Why can't we have catastrophic insurance that takes care of big things.
If you have a cold or get the flu, just pay your doctor the $50 it takes to see him.
How many times does an average person have to see the doctor every year? I have two young boys that frequently see the doc for ear infections, colds, fevers, etc...
I would be way ahead if I paid the doctor directly (the doctor would be happier also) instead of paying what I now pay in health insurance. My boss would rather give me a pay raise than pay what is paid on the company's end as well.
This doesn't seem to be a complicated problem.
Except there is a major problem with the attitude that the government owes it's citizens something.
I've got a wakeup call for most of America:
GET OFF YOUR BUTTS AND WORK. SAVE SOME MONEY AND DON'T EXPECT ANYONE TO TAKE CARE OF YOU BUT YOURSELF. TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE.
God Bless F.R., our awesome troops and the USA!
My dad taught me that you could not afford to be without insurance for your health and car when I was 17. Daviddennis, be glad you weren't in a serious car accident during your 20's and had to use the auto and health benefits you didn't have OR do what is done now, run up a $50K bill and claim bankruptcy.
As I watch the local news in Texas and feel the pain (not) of the uninsured children who's parents are ignorant and gamble that their children will not need expensive health care, I gag at the news' typical "poor me" view.
If one of my parent's were in the World Trade Center and died, we'd not needed the governments handout for their death as we grew up insurance poor as my dad loved us enough to cover the possiblity of him not being the only income earner of our family.
This author has it on the money. What a sad state we are in.
You shouldn't have to. But if you truely believe this is a free country, he shouldn't have to get insurance.
these are "working families" donchaya know
My 22 year old niece said the same thing; 5 days after she finally got Blue Cross and Blue Shield, she was t-boned by an uninsured driver and almost lost her foot.
Suppose instead of a 20 something kid with a $34,000 chevy it was a 54 year old man who between jobs had become ill and hospitalized for 30 days without insurance. He was grateful for the service he received at the county hospital, even though it was quite difficult to get in Several 19 hours emergency room waits before someone realized just how serious his condition was.
Recovered, he had half the $108,000 hospital bill picked up by the county and he entered into a payment agreement for the balance.
Unsuccessful although still interviewing he was unable to find work through a regular employer. Using his skills, he started do what he knew how to do for himself and started bringing in a pretty good income.
All the while he had applied for insurance but because of his prexisting condition which could lead to several other conditions, about the only insurance he could get was for broken bones - which he took out. For continuing doctors visits for his original condition, he pays $300.00, not the $80,00 of so doctors are paid by insurance companies for an insured patient with the same condition.
So, what if he lands in the hospital again. Likely the county will admit him and treat him. This time, with straining budgets, he likely will not get a significant portion of the bill paid for by the county.
The point is, when you read stories like this remember everything is not so black and white as the articles make is sound.
It use to be like that; it was called major medical.
An uninsured person will pay $300 for an office visit whereas the doctor will only get $80 from the insurance company for an insured patient with the same condition.
If doctors accept a lower fee from an insurance company for treatment, then all patients get that fee rate. Don't get me wrong, I love doctors.
But look how messed up the current system is. The uninsured are subsidizing the insured. Talk about taking a ride for free.
Actually, you can fine tune a personal policy to be just that....I know a self-employed young couple (under 35, with 2 chirrens) who were getting PO'd over increasing premium prices. They investigated what you have in mind and got their policy restructured at a helluva decrease in cost.
When I was in my twenties I chose to get health insurance. Most companies cut singles a break on the premiums. I only paid $50 a month. Now I have a family and believe me I never complain about having a $25 copay. Anyone who opts out on health insurance when it's offered is stupid to say the least, not to mention tempting fate.
Thanks for the info.
It gets complicated when you're on your company's plan as it has to be equal to everyone else who is on the same plan (as far as I know, which isn't saying much).
The democrats (in their attempt to gain control of the healthcare industry and socialize medicine) cast fear by saying that there are so many uninsured people. The article above states an example of some reasons why. Don't get me wrong, there are folks who simply cannot afford a decent plan on their own. However, how many times do you hear of someone being refused care at a hospital in this country? Obviously, we are all paying the bills for the uninsured. So, I guess they really aren't uninsured after all, right?
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