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Archive for February 26th, 2010

Health Care summit with 5th graders (Part 4)

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February 26th, 2010 Posted 9:46 pm

Continuing coverage of the President’s Health care summit with 5th graders.  Next up for the class is Matt Burpmore:

Q4. How can we make the Health insurance companies themselves more efficient so that insurance costs can come down for the people?fifthgrade4

Matt:  Why are the health insurance companies inefficient now?

President:  Part of the problem, Matt, is that there’s not enough competition among the health insurance companies.  When there is less competition, companies are not quite driven to reduce costs…so costs start going up.

Matt:  I see.  Thank goodness there’s not just one company running all insurance…imagine how costs would go out of control if that ever happened!  But is there a way to get more competition going?

President:  One problem is that Health insurance companies can’t compete from one state to another, so that limits how much competition there can be.

Matt:  Why don’t you just let them go ahead and compete in other states?  Is there some reason that wouldn’t be a good idea?

President:  Well, it’s complicated.  It’s like if your mom told you that you can only trade marbles with the kids on your street, but not the kids on the next street…because we don’t really know them very well, and they might try to take advantage of you.

Matt:  I don’t care if they’re on the next street.  If some kid there has a marble I like, then I’m going to trade for it.  Wouldn’t you?

President:  Yes, probably.  But there is still a problem with all these insurance companies just making too much money and getting greedy.

Matt:  Yeah, I know what you mean.  Last summer, my friend Johnnie Plunger set up a lemonade stand down the street and was charging 5 bucks for a glass of watered-down lemonade.  That was ridiculous.  He was being greedy, and I went over and told him he shouldn’t be so greedy.  He told me to…well, I better not say what he told me I could do…but I’m not sure if it’s even technically possible.  Anyway, I set up my own lemonade stand and charged 50 cents.  I had a line of customers a block long.  Twelve nano-seconds later, he dropped his price to 50 cents.

President:  Maybe there should be a government rule on the maximum price kids can charge for lemonade?  Say, no higher than a buck a glass?

Matt:  No, sir, I think that would create more confusion, because kids would just keep varying the size of the glass.  I think if you just left us kids to work it out, we’d work it out, trust me.

President:  Perhaps you’re right.  Well, kids, thank you for all your insights on health care issues.  If all of us in Washington were as smart as you, we could solve a lot more problems quicker.  But that would just put all the pundits out of a job.  Have a great day.


Disclaimer:  all stories in Bizarreville are fiction.

Health Care Summit with 5th graders (part 3)

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February 26th, 2010 Posted 12:17 am

Continuing coverage of the President’s health care summit with a bunch of very smart 5th graders.  Laura Laxatiff responds for the class on question 3.

Q3.  Some insurance companies won’t cover what they call “pre-existing conditions”.  That means if someone has a medical problem before the company starts insuring them, the company won’t pay the bill.  What can we do about that?

Laura:  Well, if you ever had a cold, does that mean they would never cover you for colds?  Or if you had an earache before?fifthgrade3

President:  I’m not sure, but I think it just applies to things that people have wrong with them.

Laura:  Just about every old person I know has something wrong with them.  Cindy’s mom has sore knees, Jacob’s dad takes 6 pills a day for something, Chelsea’s dad is always complaining about his sore back.

President:  If they leave one insurance company and go to another, they might not be covered for those old knees and bad back problems.

Laura:  That’s not very fair.  They should definitely be covered for whatever problem they have.  Why wouldn’t an insurance company cover them?

President:  The insurance companies are worried that people will stop paying for insurance…but then when something goes wrong, they’ll hurry up and sign up for insurance.

Laura:  Seems kind of silly to me.  Do you think that would really happen very often?

President:  No.  Probably once or twice in a blue moon.

Laura:  Then why are they so worried about it if it would hardly ever happen very much?

President:  It’s complicated.  I personally think they’re just trying to get out of paying for different things.

Laura:  Yeah, I know.  My friend Marty Mopeburger is always tring to get out of work his mom tells him to do.  Even easy stuff like taking out the garbage.  He’ll do all kinds of stuff to get out of taking out the garbage, when it would be so much easier to just do it and get it over with.  He’s a pretty weird kid.

President:  So you think we should tell them to just cover pre-existing conditions?

Laura:  Yeah.  Some people are sick, some aren’t.  If you try to get too picky on stuff, it will drive you nuts.  They should all just say:  “Come on, join us.  We’ll take care of you.”  Stop trying to be so weird about little meaningless stuff.

President:  How should we go about tell them to do it?

Laura:  I’d say just tell them to do it and that’s final.  That’s what my mom tells me when she wants me to do something.  If she’s allowed to do it, I guess you’re allowed to do it, too.

 (to be continued)


Disclaimer:  all stories in Bizarreville are fiction.