Several years ago, when the Internet bubble burst and everybody was busy waving their prudish fingers at all those “crazy web people”, David and I found ourselves both unemployed. Thankfully we were childless at the time, but we still had a mortgage payment and we do like to eat. David and I quickly created a DBA (doing business as) and launched Morley Interactive. The purpose of this homespun business was to keep the lights on and keep us fed while we weathered the bad technology storm and waited for new jobs to become available. During this time we found ourselves without health insurance.
David and I were both young (I was a mere 33 and he 29). We hadn’t had any major health issues outside of the norm and felt confident in our ability to garner some basic health insurance that would help us get through this tough time. We did what most normal humans would do and that is began calling insurance companies. We were flatly denied. DENIED! Nobody would insure us. You know why? Because David was treated for bronchitis once and I was treated for indigestion – both considered pre-existing chronic conditions. Now let me take a quick poll – if you are human and have EVER in your LIFE had bronchitis or indigestion please stand up. Oh, WOW, that is like EVERYBODY! That is the day I lost faith in our health care system. If the insurance companies are wondering why they are getting painted as the only bad guys in this debate, well, they have no one to blame but themselves.
The health care debate is complicated and no single person or entity is to blame for the situation that we are in – however, it is broken. It is wrong that my ob/gyn is more worried about getting sued than she is about practicing medicine. It is awful that malpractice insurance is driving more talented doctors out of medicine and forcing them to think more about the bottom line. A mentality that is reinforced by the insurance companies who, regardless of what their ads say, are also more concerned about their bottom line than making sure people are properly treated. On the other hand, this profit-driven mentality is also the driving force behind most (if not all) the fantastic scientific and medical breakthroughs that we see on a frequent basis here in the states. Big ideas can almost always be found near big money. So how do we take away the drive for profit without also ridding ourselves of the innovative quality that makes the American system unique? How do we take out the money but still motivate people to dedicate their life to curing cancer. Yes, curing cancer is a wonderful cause, but those doctors and scientists have mortgage payments too.
It actually doesn’t bother me that doctors make a lot of money. It is a hard, difficult job that requires a great deal more time in education and training than I could ever stand for. Not to mention that your entire life you are dealing with people at their worst – grumpy, stinky, sick, smelly, etc. I would hate that. I’m even okay with pharmaceutical companies making a lot of money because of how much they reinvest in research and development of new drugs. It does bother me that insurance companies – WHO PROVIDE NOTHING – are making obscene amounts of money.
President Obama, let me give you a friendly piece of advice. Stop trying to fix ALL of the problems in one bill. You won’t ever get it passed. Stick to insurance reform. Nobody likes these people, few congressmen will be able to argue against it and still keep their constituency at home. Is it a total fix? No, but it is a start and at least then you can say you did something, because from where I’m sitting you’re gettin’ nowhere fast.