Engaging Culture

Déjà vu? Cash For Clunkers; The Health Care Plan

I was listening to a local radio news program last night and they were interviewing a car dealer here in Los Angeles about the “Cash for Clunkers” program.  He owns  multiple dealerships, but in spite of the program’s acknowledged success, at his car lots, this dealer pulled the plug nearly a week early.   When the reporter asked him why, he said, “Number one, we still haven’t been reimbursed by the government.  And even if we eventually do, the program is forcing us to carry a huge amount of debt until we’re paid back.”

The reporter asked him why he didn’t simply contact the government about getting reimbursed quicker?  The car dealer laughed out loud:  “Are you kidding?  Do you actually think you can call the government?  Who exactly do we talk to?  All they’ve given us is a website, and no one responds to that.  You don’t just call the government.  There isn’t anyone to call.”

I immediately thought about the implications for government run health care.  Who do we call when we have a question, don’t get a reimbursement, or need help?   As he said, “You don’t just call the government.”  I’m sure they’ll give us a website.  But chances are, like these car dealers, getting an actual response may be something else entirely.

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  1. When I was laying in the hospital with second degree burns all over my front side earlier this year one of my first thoughts was “I’m glad this happened to me before Obama got his healthcare plan through. I’d probably be dead by now!”

    Oh I hope I can stay healthy on my own.

  2. Hey Phil…

    Not to defend the federal government or anything, but you might want to talk to a hospital administrator, or anyone involved in the business side of medicine.

    They will tell you that it is the private insurance companies who are slowest to pay them for services.  Medicare payments come promptly following filing of claims.  When it comes time to negotiate contracts, it’s the private insurance companies who come in with low ball, bullying tactics.  The Medicare payment schedule is tight… but most will tell you it’s fair.

    We’ve all heard folks who have had nightmares with their insurance companies.  What you don’t hear is older folks who are covered by Medicare complaining.  It’s pretty darn good insurance, particularly when paired with a descent private supplimentary plan.

    So… like I said… not to defend the federal government, but in the case of health care, they’re actually doing a better job than the private insurance companies.

  3. Kirk is correct. Big insurance companies have policies where they automatically deny certain claims without review because a significant number of people will finally give the fight and pay. It’s been documented. This “slow pay” argument is just one more scare tactic. Bottom line – the people got their cars.

  4. People in American should know how it works here in Europe. The private insurance must compete with the government to offer a better service for the consumers. The only  question is that the government must works so hard to controller the frauds. I think we’ve the best system but I can’t say that’s perfect. There’s always someone looking a way to profit.


  5. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” — Ronald Reagan

    Thanks for raising good questions, Phil!

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