Monday, December 11, 2017

Health Care Terms, Defined

Back in June of 2010 I wrote a tongue-in-cheek, satirical post* in which I provided snarky answers to questions about the American system of health care. It's been seven years since then, and so I figured it's time to revisit the topic and help provide clarity to a complex topic. Here are explanations of some of the terms which are often tossed around in the heated debate** over various health care options ...

"Socialized Medicine"

There are several definitions of this controversial term. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "medical and hospital services for the members of a class or population administered by an organized group (such as a state agency) and paid for from funds obtained usually by assessments, philanthropy, or taxation." The GOP defines it as "a callous and unjustified giveaway by a satanic system that forces rich, healthy people to pay for the care of losers who shouldn't have gotten sick in the first place."

"Prescription Drug Coverage"

There are two definitions of this term. The first is "health insurance or a related plan that helps pay for prescription drugs and medications." The second is "the dense blanket of laws, tax code provisions, confusing legal wording, and conflicting statistics that prevents patients from understanding the cost of prescription drugs and making informed decisions."

"Single-Payer System"

As the name implies, this is a system in which there is only one entity, typically a government agency or private system operating under a government charter, which pays for health care for citizens. Most of the developed world uses this system, which has the advantage of reducing costs by reducing administrative overhead for health care providers. From a conservative or libertarian perspective, it's the equivalent of socialized medicine and must be avoided at all costs because everyone knows that government utterly ruins everything it touches***.

"Death Panel"

--> According to a claim originally made by Sarah Palin and continuing to be believed by the credulous, it's group of faceless government bureaucrats that decides whether specific persons are worthy of receiving health care. A death panel differs from the current health care system only insofar as government bureaucrats, rather than insurance company analysts, make decisions on the provision of health care.

A derogatory term applied by conservatives to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health care reform program enacted during the presidency of Barack Obama. The GOP is totally and completely opposed to the ACA and is intent on replacing it with something. Anything. Some day. 


The extra money you pay to your doctor or pharmacist for service after you've already paid your insurance premiums.


The amount of money you have to pay before your insurance company begins to pay the benefits you're already paying premiums for them to provide.

I hope this helps you understand some of the confusing terminology of health care. My best advice: don't get sick. You can't understand it, and you probably can't afford it.

Have a good day. Eat lots of apples to keep expensive doctors away. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Hard to believe, isn't it?

** "Debate" is defined here as "wild and uninformed shouting and the use of out-of-context anecdotes and statistics to bolster one's position."

*** No wonder it's only lasted 200-plus years.


Grand Crapaud said...

I get monthly statements from my health insurance company, and I'm often confused by their thinking on things.

Sinner Bob said...

Insurance is a quagmire to avoid as much as possible.

Mike said...

Let's see, it's December 11th? We're almost to end of our deductible. Maybe we'll get one copay only visit in before the end of the year.

Hell Hound said...

The myth of death panels will come back from time to time.