Know-nothing know-it-all #1

albert - January 21, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

I’ve been looking around for more information on why our healthcare is so expensive and does such a poor job of covering the people who need it the most and found a really informative article from 2006. This bit in particular blew my mind:

 A mere shift of power from Republicans to Democrats would not, in itself, be enough to give us sensible health care reform. While Democrats would have written a less perverse drug bill, it’s not clear that they are ready to embrace a single-payer system. Even liberal economists and scholars at progressive think tanks tend to shy away from proposing a straightforward system of national health insurance. Instead, they propose fairly complex compromise plans. Typically, such plans try to achieve universal coverage by requiring everyone to buy health insurance, the way everyone is forced to buy car insurance, and deal with those who can’t afford to purchase insurance through a system of subsidies

Amazing right? I didn’t see it coming but apparently it was easy to do so.

As an engineer, what we’re ending up with in this health care reform movement is offensive. It doesn’t make much of an effort to attack the root causes of our problems, preferring to just apply hacks and patches around the edges and it’s horribly complex.

The article does a good job of laying out the advantages of single payer health insurance. The problems that have led us to where we are today are inherent in private health care like we have. Economically there are too many incentives for people not to buy insurance and too many incentives for the insurance companies to deny care whenever they can. Plus the price of health care overall gets driven up because of the inefficiencies caused by splitting the country into thousands of insurance pools.

Single payer solves these economic issues neatly. The government provides the health insurance, you pay for it through your taxes.

It’s not like you don’t already pay for it anyway. If you have insurance privately you’re paying 4-500 bucks a month if you’re my age. If you get it through your work, it’s part of your salary. If you don’t have insurance you’re currently not paying in money but you’re biting your nails hoping you don’t get hurt (or you should be). We’re paying with our communities when our current health system puts people on the street. Under Obamacare you’re going to be paying in tax dollars for subsidies. Why don’t we just pay for it all through our taxes? You go the doctor, you walk out without owing anything. It’ll be simpler, it should be cheaper and everyone is covered.

It drives me nuts that no one in congress is pushing this as a serious proposal. Too big an idea? Too much change? Our problems are huge aren’t they? Does anyone really think that lame half measures are going to do anything to make our basic situation any better? I don’t think it’s even going to be enough to keep the Democrats in power. American political memory is too short for the Democrats to ride the fact that they’re not Republicans for very long at all. They’re going to have to actually accomplish something here.

1 Comment »

  1. Sadly because of all of the stories out of England and Canada about the wait time for procedures. It’s stupid since in this country we have wait times as well, espeically for the poor or anyone who’s insurance requires an approval process. I think the problem is trying to figure out the best way to “Do no harm” in creating health care policy. And the government likes the hacks and patches! It’s so much easier than dealing with the roots of problems and as an engineer you are an expert in your field. Most Members of Congress are not experts in anything but their staffers might be and the lobbyists most certainly are, and their motivations may not always be pure.

    Comment by Adrienne — January 24, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress