October 8, 2013

Letter: We are responsible for them

— From 1970 to 1985, my mother (now 80) worked in a spinning plant so our family could have health insurance and I could go to UGA. Our health care deductible (in 1970) was $1,500 and insurance paid 80 percent of billed charges. The same $1,500 is worth $9,041.64 in 2013 inflation dollars, but I cannot imagine a $9,000 annual deductible today. Many of us (today) also would complain about paying 20 percent of a doctor visit or hospital stay.

In 1970, we limited our visits to the emergency room for bandages or the “sniffles” and (still) we always seemed to owe a monthly payment to a doctor. The doctors of my father’s day always seemed to have an abundance of milk and eggs that they received in payment for services rendered, so this was not a new experience for my family or the physicians we visited.

“Cadillac” insurance plans of today have driven the cost of health care beyond reasonable acceptability, but this is what we have become. Many plans with no co-pays are designed to encourage that policy holders use them. If you have ever told someone “I work for XX. We only earn $$, but they have great health insurance,” then your priorities need to be recalibrated. If you are working primarily for health care, then you should re-examine your family objectives. It is the wrong plan to place first priority for work to provide your family with health care insurance when there are so many other more worthwhile, family-oriented activities to engage in.

If Republicans appear to you to be spoiled children and Democrats to be brats, they are our children and we are responsible for them. It’s time we sat them down and had a conversation. It doesn’t matter who we blame; it only matters that we fix it and they get back to the work of doing nothing. At least the rest of government can then produce a tangible product for which we pay them.

Michael Hilton

Rocky Face