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Single Payer Healthcare

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The problem with health costs is that the majority of consumers do not directly bare any of the financial burden of their health care.

Initially health insurance was designed to be used for HUGE, 1/100, expenses like getting hit by a car. But now it is used for EVERYTHING including Tylenol pills at the hospital. Since the consumer rarely sees the cost o their health care, nor do they pay for it, they have no reason to shop around or even care how much something costs. So hospitals can essentially charge whatever they want, and usually get a way with it. Patients can easily get charged $20 for generic Tylenol, or acetaminophen pill.

The consumer has no reason to think of or care how much something costs, because “they are not paying”. So you get to the point where not only do people make poor decisions on their health care, they make poor lifestyle decisions which impacts their health.

Example: smokers; when they get sick because of their cancerous habits, insurance will be paying more for the smoker’s health care than the smoker ever put into the system. Therefor, that extra money must be paid by other people, usually the “healthy” insurance company customers. So essentially, the healthy are subsidizing the habits of the sick.

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These examples and thoughts prove the cost problems of single payer health care systems. Normally only socialized medicine or government run health care systems are thought of as “single payer” heal care systems. But the argument can be made that the current Unites States system is also a single payer system where the majority of the costs are payed by a minority of companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, and even the Government.

Medicaid

In fact Medicare and Medicaid are both “socialized” or “single payer systems”. Many people support only “private” systems. Those same people will also frequently support Medicare for their retirement. I believe these people are hypocrites. You cannot say you only support private systems while also supporting medicare.

It is all just a mess right now. The ideal solution would be a combination of many things, but the consumer needs to take a larger role in their health care decisions. They need to take more of the financial responsibility so that their habits change.

Then there are people who abuse the system like going into the ER with a fever and no insurance. That is a very expensive visit to treat a fever. Most doctors wouldn’t accept that visit since the patient couldn’t pay, nore would CVS give out medication for the fever. But the ER is required to by law. I don’t know if the government covers that or the hospital eats the costs, but either way, the consumer (you and me) end up paying. Either from the hospital passing on higher prices to insurance companies which cause higher insurance premiums, or the GVT raises taxes.

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Medicare Part D is also a huge problem. Seniors expect Medicare to pay for all their fancy drugs. Medicare was never intended to pay for drugs. In fact all these fancy drugs came on the market after the program started, actually, they started to come after Medicare Part D was passed in 2003. Why should I (the tax payer) be paying for their $100+ a day pills? I am not saying they should die, I am saying humans have a life span, with these drugs we are pushing that life span well beyond what it used to be.

The holly grail is the question “do we deserve health care or not”. We all die. Should a wealthy person get better care because they are wealthier? People argue they shouldn’t. But if they really want to argue that, than they also need to agree that the middle and lower class should be entitled to the same lavish housing and food that the higher class has come to enjoy. And they should agree that the taxpayers should pay for that. Food and shelter is just as needed for survival as health care, if not more.

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  1. Charlie Hayes
    July 17, 2009 at 4:02 AM

    The purpose of health insurance, like all insurance, is to spread out costs due to accidents and random natural occurrences. Insurance should cover 100% of medical bills. The hospitals charge whatever they want because they are for-profit corporations and they know that insurance companies will pay up. Smoking should most definitely lead to the revocation of at least part of health insurance benefits.

    You can blame the for-profit health insurance companies for their insane premium policies. They don’t increase the cost of health insurance to smokers until the smoking impacts their health which is only when they get older. I agree that it is wrong for the healthy to subsidize the unhealthy habits that lead to sick people.

    I disagree that these prove the cost problems of single payer health systems. I believe it demonstrates more about what happens when for-profit corporations are in charge of health care.

    Agreed about the hypocrites.

    It would be unfair to put a different burden on the sick than on the healthy. Sick people that are sick due to conditions out side their control should not be charged more than healthy people because there was nothing they could have done to prevent the additional cost and hence is the purpose of insurance.

    Many people go to the ER not because they are looking for cheaper care, but because it is their only option! Many MANY people cannot afford even the most simple of care. This is more proof of the need for socialized medicine and not of cheap jerks (not that they don’t exist). I believe the hospital eats the cost, it would be ironic if they had uninsured patient insurance.

    Medicare Part D is necessary because drugs are part of healthcare. I believe the expensive drugs aren’t proof of problems with socialized medicine, it demonstrates the problems with for-profit pharmaceutical companies. Being for-profit encourages them to develop drugs that people must take for the rest of their life instead of curing them, and it encourages them to charge as much as they can to insurance companies including medicare.

    Do we deserve equal health care? Yes. Do we deserve equal shelter and food? Absolutely. I believe the problem isn’t the poor people wanting more than near zero, it’s the massively disproportionately filthy rich wanting even more than they already have. There are no doubt people taking advantage of the current system poor AND mega-wealthy. Even after those people are stopped, no one deserves to be punished (or not rewarded) do to conditions outside their control.

  2. July 21, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Charlie, I have some responses to some of your points.

    “The purpose of health insurance, like all insurance, is to spread out costs due to accidents and random natural occurrences.”

    I agree that insurance should spread the costs of large bills due to accidents and natural occurrences. But they should spread the costs among others in a related group of individuals. Example: people in hurricane prone areas should spread the cost of hurricanes, and extreme sports enthusiast should spread the costs of body repairs due to accidents.

    “Insurance should cover 100% of medical bills. The hospitals charge whatever they want because they are for-profit corporations and they know that insurance companies will pay up. ”

    Insurance should NOT cover all of the costs. Consumers should cover most of their day to day bills through their own insurance, or out of their pocket. This is the only way that consumers will choose based on price/quality of health care, changing the cost structure, increasing competition, and making other life decisions based on the health care ramifications.

    “You can blame the for-profit health insurance companies for their insane premium policies. ”

    You can blame the consumers just as much for putting up with it.

    “I disagree that these prove the cost problems of single payer health systems. I believe it demonstrates more about what happens when for-profit corporations are in charge of health care.”

    Single payer systems reduce competition. Frequently, single payer systems also lead to longer waits, and reduced proactive care. On the other side, administrative costs are greatly reduced.

    “It would be unfair to put a different burden on the sick than on the healthy. Sick people that are sick due to conditions out side their control should not be charged more than healthy people because there was nothing they could have done to prevent the additional cost and hence is the purpose of insurance.”

    I agree. BUT, many sick people are sick due to their own decisions. Extreme sports, unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, extreme sports, smoking, etc..

    “Many people go to the ER not because they are looking for cheaper care, but because it is their only option! Many MANY people cannot afford even the most simple of care.”

    The ER is also the most expensive option, all other things being equal. It is actually a cyclical argument: people cant afford simple health care, healthcare is expensive because people abuse the system.

    “Medicare Part D is necessary because drugs are part of healthcare. I believe the expensive drugs aren’t proof of problems with socialized medicine, it demonstrates the problems with for-profit pharmaceutical companies. Being for-profit encourages them to develop drugs that people must take for the rest of their life instead of curing them, and it encourages them to charge as much as they can to insurance companies including medicare.”

    I think it would be hard to argue that all of the drugs that seniors take are medically necessary. Additionally, I hate to say this, but there is a point at which it is time to bite the bullet, and allow a senior to die of old age. If there was a new drug that cost $1 Million a week, but could keep people alive for 2 more years, would it be fair for the US population to subsidize the cost of that for all seniors?

    “Do we deserve equal health care? Yes. Do we deserve equal shelter and food? Absolutely. Even after those people are stopped, no one deserves to be punished (or not rewarded) do to conditions outside their control.”

    Do people who just want to watch movies all day deserve the same food and shelter as people who contribute heavily to society? Many things are outside of their control. But many things ARE within their control. What they eat, how they act, what activities they partake in, where they live, etc..

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