Fan Friday—Rich vs. Poor

I was reading a discussion the other day about healthcare, and how Sanders’ plan relies on a $15 per hour minimum wage. Now, I haven’t really been involved in a political discussions, although if you can’t tell, I’m a conservative. Always have been. To me, that means we don’t adjust the budget after the money is spent, but use a budget as a limit for those dollars, and government should butt the hell out of probably 75% of the things it’s involved in.

Once upon a time, I was a single mom and worked fulltime as a waitress. Someone could have made a sitcom of my life; or maybe a docudrama. Yeah, probably that. Anyway, I had no health insurance; my kids were covered under Medicaid except for counseling and dental.

I always thought that was dumb, because if parents can’t work due to illness or injury, the kids will be in even worse shape and welfare will only increase. I still think it’s dumb.

As I said, I worked fulltime; as the only parent, I didn’t feel as though I could work 60 or 80 hours a week, although I did that before I had kids. And I still think that the vast majority of adults can do that, particularly those in two-parent households and those with no children at home. But I also made sacrifices.

Adults need to make choices. Yes, the cost of living has risen since those days, some 25 years ago, but it seems that today people want things right away—the nice home, the nice car, vacations, clothes, etc. And they’ll pay for those, but then claim they can’t afford necessities.

This is the problem.

If you work at minimum wage for 40 hours a week, you earn $15K. If you work 50 hours, you earn almost $19K. If you work 60 hours, you earn nearly $23K.

So if you use the standard one-third of income for housing in my former situation, you’d pay about $400 a month for rent. Doable in many markets, but not all; some of those expensive cities have higher wages, some don’t. Sometime you can move, sometimes you’re stuck. I get all that. I’m looking at generalities, not exceptions.

I had just moved from an apartment to a rental house and I was paying $650 in rent, or about half my income. That was my choice. I was able to pay bills and feed us.

But I didn’t go shopping or take vacations and no, I didn’t have health insurance because I didn’t NEED it—I had one, maybe two doc appointments a year. Was I just lucky? Maybe. I was also pretty tough, and by that I mean I didn’t whine about being sick or run to the ER for everything little thing. I used that scarce commodity, common sense. Same with the kids.

Of course I realize everyone’s different, and this was several decades ago. Even then, I thought the government should stay out of a lot of things. Insurance is one of them.

Insurance is to “insure” you against catastrophe, whether medical or property. It wasn’t meant to cover exorbitant costs associated with either, or even small costs like $100 for a doc visit. And by the way, the reason for that $100 doc visit is because of the costs of medical school (college), malpractice insurance—yet another kind—and overhead, mostly for all those people in the office to process the insurance payments.

Insurance companies are, IMHO, the single biggest money suck of all time.

If I were running for president, THAT would be my platform: ditch them all.

I have no idea how to implement this regarding healthcare—we’d probably be better off if actual presidential candidates admitted that, and other things, as well—but I do know that costs have little to do with skill, knowledge, experience, and amount of time spent on appointments and surgeries.

Think about it—without an office staff of twenty, or ten, or whatever, how much of that actual $100 for the appointment could be reduced to say, $25? I used to go to a clinic that charged that. They provided any information for the patient to file an insurance claim, if they wanted to and had insurance, but otherwise you came in, saw the doc, got a scrip if you needed it, and paid $25.

And no, he wasn’t a quack. He was a retired med school professor.

Charge everyone with a driver license maybe $25 a month in case of accident. With 214 million licensed drivers in the US, that comes to $5,350,000,000. Surely enough to cover any accidents.

I haven’t had an at-fault accident in a very long time, and honestly, I don’t remember the procedure. But, in spite of the law, the government mandate, the guy who hit my car while it was PARKED IN MY DRIVEWAY had no insurance; he didn’t even have a license. Guess who got screwed?

Even though I’ve always paid car insurance, for the last thirty-some years.

Homeowners insurance? Well, that’s a little trickier. But in spite of having that, guess who got screwed when a creek rose and the sewer company responsible for it refused to pay? Yep. Me again.

Put limits on claims. Eliminate civil claims that get tagged on to insurance payments. Nothing gripes me more—okay, that’s not exactly true—than those lawyers on TV, the ambulance chasers, who say GET WHAT YOU DESERVE when you’re involved in a car accident.

Sometimes, an accident is just that.

What it boils down to is that no one NEEDS insurance—it’s there to cover your butt just in case. And even so, with health insurance, so much is still your responsibility that people with coverage still end up filing bankruptcy or paying off bills forever.

People need healthCARE. Most need to drive. Most will need a little help if a tree falls on their house.

But someone is getting all that money we’re paying in, and it isn’t us. Someone is getting money from the cost of groceries, and it isn’t us and it isn’t the farmers. Someone is getting money for medical care and it isn’t doctors and staff.

And I doubt we’ll ever know who that is.




One comment on “Fan Friday—Rich vs. Poor

  1. It took me FIVE YEARS to pay off the medical bills incurred in 2009. Feb. 2009 broken leg and surgery, June 2009 breast cancer/surgery/radiation. August 2009 Jimmy died from esophageal cancer. His care was through VA (which was not free, contrary to public opinion), and I had health insurance through my job. Medical costs and insurance companies are at the top of my “list.” Grrrrrrr…


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