When I got my first apartment on my own, the landlord included the utilities in the rent. Since it was included, I ran the dishwasher everyday, didn’t worry about turning off lights, kept the temperature just right, even if I would be gone all day, and took nice long showers. After a few months, the landlord told me that my utility bills were really high so that I would need to start paying the water and electricity bills. My rent would be lowered some to accommodate this. Since I now was responsible for directly paying the utility bills, I was much more frugal.
This is the answer to health insurance. The best way to control costs is to have people directly pay for their health insurance and health care. When we have our employer (or worse yet, the government) pay for our health insurance, we tend to run to the doctor for any little thing, doctor’s run more tests than are really required, and costs spiral out of control. If we actually had to pay for our health insurance directly, we would be more frugal. If we wanted low co-pays, we would have to pay higher premiums. If we could live with a high deductible, our premiums would be lower and we would think twice before going to the doctor for something.
There was a time in my career where my employer did not offer a good health insurance plan for Ohio where we lived. I was given the option of taking the money the company paid for health insurance per employee and getting my own policy. I had many plans to choose from and saw quickly that I could save a lot on my monthly premiums if I went with higher deductibles and co-pays. I chose this option and it worked out great. We were covered if anything catastrophic happened but if we were relatively healthy, we saved some money. My employer now gives us a few options and that is how we receive health insurance today. I wish we could go back to having more choice and seeing the costs more directly.
Government run health insurance or health care is not the solution. As with most things, it is individual liberty and freedom that are the answers.