Forgot about the emergency room issue. I believe Scac mentioned that much of the money gets wasted there. But isn't that a catch-22 situation? Why do the people go to the emergency room first? I'm assuming it's b/c they won't get turned away for not having insurance.
Isn't that a problem that will instantly go away if there's coverage for everyone? Then when people show up at the emergency room with a chest cold, the doctor or nurse can tell them to fuck off and go to their primary care physician. Win-win.
It should infuriate you to know how your tax dollars get wasted in the ER. First, it's not just the uninsured that use the ER as a primary care clinic...it's the medicaid and medicare population. On most days, if you come into our ER...I will have you out the door in less than 40 minutes if we don't run tests. Our closest pediatrician is about 30 miles away (yes we are very rural). So, the medicaid population uses our ER as a pediatric clinic because they don't want to drive...and they don't want to wait (2 hour wait times at the pediatrician). We can't turn them away. So, Joe taxpayer pays a $500 visit instead of a $75 visit for a simple sore throat. $500 for pharyngitis? That's nuts and so wasteful. We have no recourse...there is no motivation for these people to change their habits.
The ER is a haven for those who like to seek narcotics and are looking for a jackpot judgement. We must practice defensive medicine...and that raises costs.
Make people accountable for how they use the ER, pass tort reform, require health insurance and health spending accounts for everyone, and eliminate primary care clinic coverage.