A health care analogy

A drawing of a cartoon man pointing upwards

Hey there! This post was written in 2010, so it may contain information that is no longer accurate or thoughts that no longer reflect how I feel. As human beings, we're constantly learning and bettering ourselves through experiences and interactions with the world and each other.

I keep posts like this around for historical purposes and to prevent link rot, so please keep this in mind as you're reading.

— Cory

Sometimes, the best way to look at things is from a totally different perspective. Analogies give us the opportunity to do just that, so I've taken this opportunity to shed some light on why a government-run health care industry would be better than a privatized health care industry such as the one we currently have here in the U.S.

Firefighters overlooking a smokey blaze

Imagine that your home is on fire #

The first thing you do is call the fire department. They drop everything to come to your burning residence, risking life and limb to save your loved ones and even your pets from the devastating inferno. When all is said and done and the flame has been put out, you don't have to pay a dime to the fire department for their heroic services. That's because fire departments are government-operated organizations paid for by taxpayers, and everyone is entitled to it no matter how large or small your home is.

Now imagine that the fire department is a private business #

The first thing you do is call Firemen, Inc., pressing ‘1' for English and sitting through a moment of elevator music. After 15-30 minutes on hold, they take your information and send it out to one of their firefighting teams who are already busy fighting another fire. They inform the operator that they won't be available until tomorrow, so you inquire about another team. However, due to a recent downsizing plan to boost profits, the only other team of firefighters available would have to come in from out of town to, which the operator informs you will cost extra.

Frustrated, you hang up the phone and dial another company, The Fire Guys, LLC. The Fire Guys quote you a price and, once you agree, ask for your social security number so they can run a credit check. A few minutes later, if the credit check comes back clean, they approve you for a $5,000 fire services loan. You frantically agree to pay for their services as you watch your home and all your life's memories burn to the ground. An hour or two later they show up. Upon arrival, prior to any firemen dismounting the truck, you are required to sign a contract indicating your liability of debt to The Fire Guys, LLC. along with a handful of responsibility waivers. By the time you finish signing, your house has burned completely to the ground and you're still required to pay for the company's overpriced, inefficient services.

The same things are happening in the health care industry, and they could just as easily happen to you and your family. Insurance customers fork out ridiculous amounts of money for inefficient services that aren't there when they need them. The most infamous example of this is the preexisting condition clause that so many health care providers use to weasel their way out of paying for treatments that you're supposed to be insured for. And let's not talk about how overpriced insurance and medical services are in general.

The Bottom Line #

Something needed to change, and something finally has. It may not be a perfect solution, but it's better than nothing at all. In fact, the only arguments I've heard from people who are against the president's bill have been either irrational, ignorant, or based on erroneous facts that they've "heard somewhere." I would enjoy an intelligent discussion on the pros and cons of the recent health care bill, but it seems more and more impossible as enraged people continue to argue over something that they barely understand. Suffice it to say, health care has officially joined the ranks of abortion and religion in terms of debate. It feels like America has sunk to a new low this year.

Photo courtesy of smokeshowing.