Democrats finally admit their intention to initiate a single payor health care
Now we know exactly why the Democrats were not included in the health care discussions with the GOP. They want to double down on the Obama policies and extend the Obamacare to the only logical extension there could be – a single payor system. Given how lackluster the economy has been under democrat and specifically Obama leadership, (I know: oxymoron), do we really want to continue these policies?? I prefer a growing economy and yes +3% growth is entirely possible given the right economic policies, (and no, a mandated $15 min wage is not conducive to a positive growth economic policy, rather it incentivizes automation and therefor fewer jobs). Before we get into why a single payor healthcare would be a disastrous move, I’d have to say the total lack of effort made by the Democrats to improve Obamacare, as well as their talking points that conveniently gloss over certain details detracting from Obamacare, clearly show they intended the healthcare to move to a single payor system all along. One model mentioned was Canada, which was debunked, while the other system I’ve heard mentioned more than once is the British health care system.
Since I’ve been blessed with a decent paying job for a number of years I really wasn’t affected by any healthcare issues until the implementation of the Obamacare. With the myriad of regs, and as Ron Paul has so clearly outlined lately, the insurance company subsidies, the health care premiums have greatly impacted both the businesses and their employees. The companies I’ve worked for have carried a portion of the monthly premiums from 70% in the beginning to 40% right when I was laid off. The decline in the amount the company was willing to cover reflects the increase in the monthly cost. All the employees had to pick up more of the insurance cost themselves. The rates and the level of out-of-pocket deductible I currently pay has increased substantially over the last couple of years. Now that I will be paying for individual insurance instead of group insurance, the out-of-pocket deductible will increase approximately 44% and the monthly payments have gone from $1,300/month to $1,700/month before I even make a claim. Because I’m continuing insurance I’ve not been told I need a physical, which is good because I’m a cancer survivor which automatically moves me into a higher risk category despite excellent health for the last 14 years. So Mr Schumer tells all of us the road to lower healthcare costs requires the government to bring all the health concerns under its umbrella. I really don’t know any of the specifics other than general rosy platitudes the Democrats use when describing everything they want, (the problem is, their results never match their promises until they jigger the facts to fit the promises).
According to “Physicians for a National Health Program”, (PNHP), the single payor system would involve a public or semi-public entity to collect all the funds “saved” by replacing today’s inefficient, profit-oriented, multiple insurance payors with a single streamlined, nonprofit, public payor. Sounds great doesn’t it??? For that small amount of remaining cost there would be a “modest” new tax based on the individual’s ability to pay. No more premiums and 95% of all households would save money. Ok, this is only one of probably a myriad of possibilities but in general it describes the essence of the single payor concept. The first bone I want to pick at is the improved efficiencies. I agree with the idea that it’s inefficient as it currently stands but what is the inefficiency? Is it the insurance companies can’t work across state lines to be more competitive? Perhaps there are too many hospitals providing duplicate services and since they only have to compete with getting the most money they can from the insurance companies, maybe we could cut back on some of the surplus of medical services. I know, it’s the darn lawyers always suing for that million dollar settlement on behalf of some patient whose treatments didn’t go exactly as they wanted. If the government ran it you know we wouldn’t have those problems, it would all go right the first time with no complications and no more incompetent doctors would be practicing. Anyway, you can’t sue the government for that can you??? In all likelihood, it could be traced back to subsidies paid to the insurance companies. I’m not sure how everyone else thinks about it but I’d like to know who has specifically identified what the major inefficiency is, I’m sure it’s there but what is it? Once that’s defined we could better understand how much we’ll save and thus what the “modest” increase in taxes would be. Exactly how modest is modest and by who’s standards is it modest? That person who only pays $0.09/mo for his Medicare because the government subsidizes it wouldn’t think a $500 increase is modest? By the way, does this mean the cost of the medical services will have dropped so low that everything would be covered by the “modest” tax increase, since premiums would disappear, according to PNHP? Imagine an MRI only costing $200. More basically, I’m unclear about what the incentive is for creating these efficiencies. People will always look out for their own self interests so I wouldn’t count on altruistic behavior or self sacrifice going very far. Most of us are willing to make a sacrifice as long as the person asking us to sacrifice is 1) doing it themselves and 2) can clearly demonstrate how it is in our best interest to make the supposed sacrifice, we can then ask, “Is it really a sacrifice if it helps us out?”. No, it’s not a sacrifice!
There is an even bigger issue I have to overcome before I can get on board with a single payor system and that is our government. By its very definition the government is not an entity that creates any value no matter what attributes you wish to put to it, (“You didn’t do that yourself” – Obama 2015). The government is always an expense. Some would argue it is necessary and yes, it is but it is still only an expense so the more money we pump into it the bigger the expense. In and of itself it does not create value, only a company can do that. If the company becomes more efficient then it generates greater value so there is a built in incentive to become more efficient. Those companies that do not operate efficiently die out quickly. They soon learn that someone else will come along and offer a better product cheaper, (improved efficiency). If the customer perceives this is a better value then they’ll purchase this new product instead of the older more expensive product, (can you say “self-interest”?). Since the government is only an expense where is the incentive to create these “efficiencies” the PNHP is talking about? Granted there is a certain amount of altruistic behavior most of us either have or imagine we have, I believe anyway. This makes things a little better but it takes the combined efforts of hundreds of people to accomplish improvements on a scale required to lower overall costs so, you can imagine this will neither go far or last long. Instead of hoping the government can create the efficiencies why don’t we quit subsidizing the Insurance companies, allow the best managed companies to continue. There hasn’t been any competition in the medical industry for as long as I’ve been around so we don’t know what that would look like. If allowing competition in the medical industry goes the way of most industries I’d bet the best doctors would continue. Ridiculous MRI treatment costs would be pared down, perhaps even a few of the lawyers would need to try other industries because the doctors would be a better quality. Hey, it happens in Engineering and other professions. If you’re concerned about oversight and drug quality well that is what government is all about, there won’t be a conflict of interest this way. To have the government, or its quasi-public proxy, run the medical industry would be about as successful as when the democrats were in charge of the VA. Talk about scary!!
At my age, I doubt I’d have been approved for back surgery until I’d lost all strength and motor function in my arm, and then it wouldn’t be necessary so win-win for the government. Sorry, just a bit of fear mongering there, guess I’ve listened to Chuck Schumer and Nancy a little too much lately. We removed the consummate elitist politician and put a business mind in charge of the government and already things have changed at the VA, or so I’ve heard. Time will tell but the track record suggests it’ll be so much better, so much quicker, I’d be willing to bet on it. So much more to discuss on this subject and so many rabbit trails to go off on, broken promises, misdirections, economics, etc. I’ll pick it up on another article. Thanks for taking the time to read this, send me your thoughts, agree or disagree, that’s why I started writing these articles to hear from you all.