Pay for what you get

24 Jan

[Previously posted over here]

If you’ve talked to me then you’ll realise that i’m not a big fan of private health insurance.

It seems like a money-making scam for the middle-classes to feel safe from tabloid-esque medical bungling

[medical-bungling happens, i’m just not sure private insurance stops it]

This Irish Times article covers a few of the issues of ireland’s private health care situation. I’ve been quoted greater than 50% for the number of Irish people with some form of private insurance.

I’ve not worked in the Irish health care system, given some of the stories you hear from people it sounds like it may be non-existent.

Perhaps it is a place were people are dying in droves without life-saving treatments, though I somewhat doubt it. A lot of the stories I hear about people being badly treated involved them not getting treatments that don’t work anyhow, or being denied tests that they didn’t or shouldn’t have had in the first place.

There are of course all kinds of nuances and subtelties in there, and there of course lots of medical cock-ups in there too.

But the interesting point that the article raised for me was what would happen if everyone ditched their private health insurance en masse?

Naturally there’d be a few less boob jobs and a few less parental tonsillectomies (the parents just really want the child to have the tonsillectomy…) and that perhaps be no bad thing.

But then there’d be all the important stuff that really needs done, but just gets done quicker in the private system. Who would pay to pick up the slack? Could the slack even be taken up in the system as it stands?

It seems that if the Irish people all chucked in their private health insurance then the public health system would collapse under the weight.

I find that kind of scary.

5 Replies to “Pay for what you get

  1. Whenever ive talked to people bout private health care. Speed of diagnosis and treatment seems to be the one thing they all talk about. IF they talk about it. Otherwise there’s just this general sense of fear about not getting it as it is just better in someway.

    I also read your post a few below here bout your thoughts on Medicine. Stirring stuff. I want to ask you for what purpose do you think God has given us the knowledge of the body that he has given us? Sure i could drop dead before the end of this paragraph but even as i know that could happen, should i take the revelations of science as his way of telling me what to if i want to increase the probability of a longer lifespan?

    Another thing is that im now 32. Its only in the last 2 years that ive heard my peers talking about insurance. The 30’s seems to be the age of the beginning of many fears.

    • i wish there was an easy question in there Mr C

      i think people’s experience of private health care often is much better. That’s not to to disparage experience as a marker of quality, it’s just that people’s experience may be better because they get what they want. That doesn’t mean it’s good for them or makes a difference to whether they live or die.

      as for the big questions I suppose that our knowledge and skills and medicine can be viewed in a similar theological vein (boom boom!) to things like our knowledge of building and farming.

      though just because we know how to make more money doesn’t mean we should just go out there and start making it

      not sure if that covers any of the questions!

  2. as a follow up:

    i don’t know the irish healthcare system that well but if it is chronically underfunded and dangerously underperforming then i totally understand why people would want health insurance, it just seems to miss the point that maybe instead we should be devoting ourselves as a society to having a health system that works without private health care.

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