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Health care insurance might be likened to an addiction. Yes, we recognize its problems: It’s too expensive; the costs continue to go up; it’s bureaucratic; it gets canceled when needed most; it refuses to cover people who need it the most — those with pre-existing conditions; it pays exorbitant salaries and bonuses to those at the top, etc. If we just fix those problems, it will be fine!

I submit that those "problems" are mere symptoms: The real problem is the addiction. Fixing irrational health care insurance with even more irrational fixes is insane.

Addictions are irrational, but they make one feel good. Health care insurance gives peace of mind (feel good), but it’s irrational insurance.

Rational insurance protects against financial disaster of low probability for a relatively small premium. Irrational insurance does the opposite: It charges large premiums to pay for goods and services that everybody needs and could be paid more cheaply out of pocket, but fails miserably to guard against financial catastrophe.

I have not heard or seen anything in any of the proposals to deal with this fundamental problem and, in fact, many proposals from all sides of the political spectrum will undoubtedly make this real problem worse.

There are other problems with "normal" health care insurance that are being ignored, and there are other neglected fundamental problems besides health care insurance, e.g., medical malpractice, wasteful approaches to diagnosis and treatment, increasing nonproductive years while decreasing productive years, to name a few.

We, the American people, need to get real and get back to the drawing board. Pardon the clichés.

Col. (Dr.) Frank Leitnaker (retired)Miesau, Germany


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