Friday, January 14, 2005

TennCare redux

320,000 to lose TennCare insurance

The local newspapers and TV are going crazy with the TennCare coverage. They are profiling some of the people who may lose their coverage. Why aren't they profiling the people who live in other states that are on TennCare illegally? What about the ones who lie about their income so they can get coverage, or the ones who turn down coverage from their job and get TennCare because it's cheaper and has more benefits? What about the people who are willfully unemployed? Why not profile all the crooks and scam artists?

And what people don't seem to remember is that 10 years ago before TennCare was instituted, these people didn't have any coverage. TennCare was covering people who were uninsurable and didn't qualify for Medicade. Some of those people are going to lose their coverage and that's really sad, but they didn't have it 10 years ago and TennCare has failed miserably because of fraud and abuse.

This type of program will never work. They have attempted to take private enterprise style insurance and make it a government program. The problem here is that in the private enterprise, the risk is spread among all the participants. A medical insurance plan will have some members that are health, others that are sick. For example, in the 14 years I've been an adult, I've never used more in insurance benefits than I've paid in premiums. There are some members who use more in benefits than they pay in premiums. But it balances out in the end. Government programs like TennCare are only helping the sick. TennCare collected premiums from some of the members, but these were the uninsurable that use far more resources than they pay for. Also, private insurance usually has some type of deductible or copay. Many TennCare recipients had no copay at all. Everything was free. The copay encourages conservation and preventative healthcare. It only costs me $20 to go to the doctor's office, but $75 to go to the emergency room. So I'm only going to the emergency room in a true emergency. If I have the flu, I'm going to wait until the next morning and go see my doctor. If there is no difference in cost between an office visit and an emergency room visit, TennCare users would just go to the emergency room for minor stuff.

Personally, I'm glad TennCare is getting cutoff. I feel compassion for those that will not have insurance, and I hope they seek out charitable organizations for help. But government is not the solution to their problems.


Anonymous said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

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