Punchinello’s Chronicles

September 21, 2008

The Health Insurance Game

When you get right down to it, insurance of any kind is a betting game. Take health insurance: you’re betting you’re going to get sick, the insurance company bets you won’t. Car insurance is the same, where you’re betting you can get in an accident if you really try, and the insurance company says you won’t.

Think of the poor schmucks who hate their job, but they can’t quit. “What would I do for health insurance?” they ask. “I fully intend to get really, catastrophically sick while I’m here, so I can take full advantage of my health benefits, by gosh! After all, that’s why I’m working.”

Okay, so they hate the job, can’t stand to get up in the morning, but at least they have their health, right? Not really; they’re hoping they’ll get really sick, and the insurance company bets they won’t.

All this is fine when we’re young and supposedly healthy. Of course with the way modern-day kids are raised, we’re seeing an increasing number of age-related health problems showing up in younger and younger people. But aside from that, what about the REALITY of life as a human being? Does anyone live forever?

There’s a sure bet that at some point in time you’re going to die. As that point approaches, no amount of health insurance in the world, in the galaxy, or in existence will prevent you from dying. Oh sure, it’ll hold off the Reaper for a bit, but ultimately, after hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, you’re still gonna die. It’s a fact. Deal with it.

And yet, insurance companies bet that you’ll stay healthy forever. Okay, there’s more to it than that. They’re betting that more and more young people will buy insurance, the insurance company can use the money and get investment profits, then pay out some money as a few older people die. Uh-oh…the Baby Boom generation means lots of old people dying, and a shortage of young people to buy insurance.

So how much money should we spend on health insurance? Should we go with national health insurance, where no matter what happens to anyone, everyone (each of us) gets an unlimited blank check to get whatever possible medical services are around? Sure…why not? There’s an unlimited amount of money, so why not an unlimited amount of health care.

This whole discussion comes under the heading of “bioethics,” which is a really scary semi-philosophic issue. It comes down to who “deserves” to live or die, based on what criteria. For the moment, the decision rests on “quality of life.” Unfortunately, nobody has a philosophy of quality or life.

Meanwhile, let’s just print money to cover the costs.


1 Comment »

  1. […] the rest of this great post here […]

    Pingback by Insurance Blog » The Health Insurance Game — September 21, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

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