Continuing yesterday’s theme of the screwed up health care system, I just read this article about special medical services to give second opinions. They reevaluate diagnoses and treatments and make changes as needed.
Now, doctors make mistakes. They are human. It happens. I think it is responsible of patients to get second opinions. So you may be wondering why I think this is a problem. Here’s why: this service isn’t available to everyone! I just looked at the Best Doctors web site, since they’re located near me, and I saw that the service is offered only through employers! This is like the FSA situation, where only some people have access to a fantastic benefit.
Back in the day it made sense to tie health benefits to employment, but is that still really the case? For those of you living outside of the United States you probably think this is completely nuts. You’re right! I’m certainly not about to defend this system. Why should I get better health insurance now because of where I work than I had the last 10 years (my entire independent working life)? If I change jobs, why should my benefits change? If I get a new job that pays more or less or is located someplace else, those aspects will affect my life. That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that the amount I pay for medical costs will change. What doesn’t make sense is that I may have to get new doctors. What doesn’t make sense is that my medication may not longer be covered by health insurance.
Congress failed. Yes, untangling health insurance from employment would be a huge undertaking, but wouldn’t it be worth it? Mandating that employers provide health insurance sounds good, until you realize that many will provide only the minimum, and that this doesn’t help the unemployed at all. We need a system is that is fair for everyone. We should accept nothing less.
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