John Stossel Presents More Fantasy Scenarios For The Health Care Crisis

John Stossel continues to promote fantasy as a solution for the health care crisis. Last week I discussed how Stossel promoted generous plans offered to a minority of people in this country as a solution. Today he cherry picks unusual situations to ignore the overall problem.

The first example Stossel gives is of laser surgery which people purchase out of pocket without insurance. This is an elective procedure which people who cannot afford it simply go without and instead continue to wear glasses and contact lenses. This offers no solution for necessary medical services which large numbers of people cannot afford. The average person who is uninsured is simply not sitting around with tons of extra cash burning holes in their pockets which can be used for medical procedures.

Stossel’s other example is of a small number of general practitioners who work on a cash basis. This works fine for covering minor problems which are quickly resolved. This does not work for those who have chronic medical problems and those with serious problems requiring hospitalizations, expensive testing, or many surgical procedures. This also leads to putting off preventative care and routine care of chronic problems, increasing health care expenses in the long run. Once again,the average person who is uninsured is simply not sitting around with tons of extra cash burning holes in their pockets which can be used for medical care.

Stossel promotes a fantasy world where MRI’s and bypass surgery would be sold inexpensively if insurance wasn’t covering the cost. Maybe it would be cheaper, but there is a limit to the amount of high tech medicine which would be available without the money necessary for its development. Stossel contradicts a common conservative opposition to health care reform. Conservatives commonly argue that if government cuts down on what is spent the United States would lose its edge in the world in subspeciality medical care. You cannot have it both ways and argue that government regulations would lead to insufficient money to preserve our medical system but argue that it can be preserved by having people pay out of pocket.

People like Stossel live in a world where only the affluent are considered. Most people are not offered the type of HSA he previously discussed where the employer gives extra money to pay for their out of pocket expenses. Many people cannot afford laser eye surgery, and certainly cannot afford to foot the bill for their medical expenses on an ongoing basis. Health care expenses are already a major cause of bankruptcy due to the large number who are under-insured as well as those who are uninsured.

Ignoring the problem and fantasy solutions will not solve the problem. Any solution for the health care crisis must have a reasonable answer for those who do not have access to sufficient insurance to cover their medical needs at an affordable price.

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