Monday, February 27, 2017

John Oliver: Obamacare

One of the ways in which John Oliver distinguishes himself from the competition is in taking the time for an in-depth look at issues like this.

It's still less than 20 minutes, but that's a lot for a single video clip. He doesn't even break up these videos into smaller pieces in order to get more ad revenue!

I should note that I've had a Health Savings Account for years. They're worthless. They're exactly the wrong way to get health care. And Oliver mentioned some of the reasons why.

But there's another reason. Health Savings Accounts discourage you from getting health care, because you are paying for every doctors visit. Now, sure, that keeps you from getting medical care for every little thing, but it also encourages you to delay long enough for a minor condition to become a major one.

Ordinary health insurance - including what you get in 'Obamacare' plans - has co-pay requirements, so that you won't go to the doctor every other day, just because of the cute receptionist. But they don't encourage you to say away from doctors entirely.

And health insurance isn't expensive because of too many doctors visits. It's expensive because of cancer, heart disease, and other extremely costly conditions, often near the end of your life, which modern medical care can treat these days.

For lower cost and better outcomes, we'd be better off encouraging more doctors visits in the hope of catching these conditions early. Health Savings Accounts encourage just the reverse, unless you're wealthy enough that the cost of health care doesn't really matter at all to you.

Health Savings Accounts might be the absolute worst way to manage health care. Indeed, they might be worse than having no health care plan at all, since the rich use them to avoid paying taxes. And despite what Republicans tell you, we do need taxes.

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