Like many people that live in the US I could rant for hours on end about how bad our health care insurance is, including a few anecdotes from me and my friends personal experiences. However, I'm just going to start with some highlights.

First an admonishment of my own lack of knowledge on this subject. I am no expert on health care. I don't know why it costs so much for so little. Some people say it's the lawsuits, some the administrative costs, some blame the doctors, etc.

One of problems is that a normal supply vs. demand curve doesn't seem to occur in our health care industry. Most industries in this country will adjust to prices that are too high or to companies with bad service because people have the option of either not buying that service or going to a competitor. However, clinics and hospitals seem to have a captive predictable audience. Since we all get sick or have accidents at some time or another, we all end up in the hospital or doctor's office eventually.

Here are a few quick points of things to look forward to when you visit a health care facility. (All of these have happened to me.)

First, you will not get an estimate of charges. As far as I know, this is the only industry that gets away with this. If you take your car in for a repair they have to (by law as far as I know) give you an estimate (that you sign) before they fix your car, and if the cost is going to go over the estimate, they must call you and get your approval on the new amount. In a doctor's visit you don't know if the bill is going to be $20 or $2000. You just hope your insurance will pay it, whatever it is.

Next, the bill is always more than you expect. Not too long ago I had to go to a hospital on a weekend day because I was feeling very light headed. My check-up took about 10-15 minutes. They had no idea what my issue was and they did nothing to help me. I figured out the problem on my own later that week (apparently sleeping close to the floor, on a futon in this case, with bleach around is not a good idea). However, they of course bill my insurance quite a lot for that 15 minute visit, of which I had to pay $300. I wasn't expecting to pay anything because my previous coverage would have covered it in full. I am sure that if I had read the fine print I would have known that I would get billed. But to pay $300 and get no result really sucks.

Which brings up another way that the health care industry is different from others. There is no guarantee of any service level or result from your visit. I'll do another car analogy since it fits nicely. If you bring in your car to get it fixed and the mechanic does not fix it, they can't still bill you for their time. And if they fix it and it later breaks (within a warranty period) the mechanic must cover the costs of fixing it again. Oh if only health care was like that.

And one last point that I think clearly points out the corruption the health care system. It is the only industry I know of where paying with cash will cost you more than if your insurance pays. If you pay in cash the day you see the doctor you will pay a lot more than if you have them bill your insurance – even if your insurance passes 100% of the cost on to you. Plus they don't get paid by the insurance company for 30-60 days. This just doesn't sit right with me.

I will end on a positive note, however. While we have awful health care plans and coverage, we ironically have very good health care in terms of doctors and hospitals and modern medical technology. I would much rather go to a hospital here than in any other country. But, I will be paying for it.

As for a solution… well, like I said, I don't know nearly enough about the topic. But, right now the poor and the rich get most of the health care. The poor because the government pays for it and the rich because they can afford it. It's the middle class that avoids doctors and hospitals as much as possible. And that's where I'm at. I only go when I have to, which probably averages about once per year.