Health insurance or else

From the Durant Daily Democrat:

Oklahomans without health insurance could lose their driver’s licenses, state income tax deductions and even college football season tickets under a surprising approach proposed by state Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland.

Such penalties might help Oklahoma improve its dismal ranking in the number of residents who have no health insurance, Holland said Thursday during her agency’s Summit on the High Cost of Health Insurance.

“None of those are very pleasant, but there needs to be a consequence,” Holland said. “We have developed this culture over the years that some don’t feel like they have to pay their medical bills and its going to take us a while to overcome that, and it’s going to be painful.”

The idea has an obvious potential for problems, including unfairly targeting a large group of people who can’t afford to buy medical coverage, consumer advocates say.

I have a number of patients who don’t have health insurance.  Some are small business owners for whom health insurance is prohibitively expensive.  Others are young, relatively healthy people who have decided that the comparatively small risk of a serious motor vehicle accident or cancer diagnosis is of lesser concern than the absolute certainty of paying monthly insurance premiums.

These patients of mine are not part of some culture that says one doesn’t have to pay one’s medical bills.  They do pay their medical bills: they pay my receptionist before they are brought back to the room.  Can someone inform Commisioner Holland that the private insurance industry’s track record on cost containment is less than stellar?

Hat tip: Neal Boortz

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