Since I started the blog American Healthscare, I’ve written nearly 80 posts trying to raise awareness about how inefficient and expensive our healthcare system is, how this reality harms the rest of our economy, which ironically leads to worse health. This is on top of the four years I spent writing and editing my book, American Health$care.
My colleague who I co-wrote the insurance cost article with, Jennifer DeVoe, MD, DPhil, received this email from a man named Arran Webb. Here it is in its entirety (reprinted with his permission):
Thanks for being a doctor and being prepared to challenge the rising costs of health care.
My wife and I are self-employed and we pay our insurance premium each month. Using the Freelancers Union the premium was $650 4 years ago and now it is $980 per month. This is for a high deductible insurance. Why do we have it? One reason only – catastrophic illness or accident. We would happily pay as we go – actually we already do. So we pay $980 per month to cover ourselves and two children simply for a catastrophic loss.
It just is not fair.
It is baffling, strange, bizarre that a premium keeps rising while everything else in the economy is stalled.
It is disheartening, troublesome and faith sapping to see so little done to change this.
The unions have traded off wage rises for benefits for the last decade. So a worker earning the average wage of $41,000 per year is receiving $11,000 of health insurance – but no wage rises. And they have lost their voice as they never see the $11,000 that goes to the health care industry.
The lobbying of politicians, the amount of people employed in the healthcare industry, the legislated laws that enforce healthcare – this is a pink elephant standing all over us.
Some people are benefiting from this. It reminds me of the financial crisis. Some people will go on extracting all the financial gain they can from this system until it simply fails. And then they will skulk into the shadows poker faced.
But thanks for being a doctor and having some voice of reason from inside the system.
FYI – I was recently in Australia and we needed to visit a GP for a look at a small cut on my 3 year old son’s leg. We saw a local GP in private practice. We paid cash in full for the consultation – $45.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We could create a fair and responsive healthcare system that doesn’t bankrupt the middle class and the industries who employ them — or the taxpayers who fund Medicare and Medicaid. It won’t be easy. There are very few services in healthcare that both improve outcomes and save money.
As Mr. Webb wrote, it’s just not fair.
This is why we persist.