Monday, December 9, 2013

We Need a Single Payer Healthcare System (SPHS) in the United States

I am reading that Colin Powell favors a single payer system to address all the shortcomings of the US healthcare system.

Although I should be careful with Mr. Powell's positions, given his strong support of the Iraq war, I truly agree with him and I believe that a single payer system would address most of the existing inadequacies of the US healthcare system.

1. Access
2. Affordability and coverage
3. Yearly mad dash to buy insurance
4. Outcome
5. Cost

1. Access

We currently have an N-tier healthcare system where people with money can have any procedures they want and the poorest of all can only access ER and all the other 'providers' in-between.

SPHS would eliminate all barriers to entry if you pay social security taxes. I would expect a SPHS would increase the social security taxes to allow payments for this new universal benefit.

2. Affordability

Currently we do not know how healthcare prices are set. Doctors, hospitals, insurers, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, etc. can set any prices they want 'just because'.

No doubt that SPHS will eliminate insurance intermediaries and all insurance savings will make healthcare more affordable from a price perspective.

3. Yearly mad dash to buy insurance

SPHS would eliminate the requirement that we do anything to obtain health insurance next year. We just pay the extra social security premiums and we are instantaneously covered.

4. Outcome

If you need to see the 'final' healthcare outcome, please compare the US with any Western European country and see for yourself. Even Cuba does better than the US, and they use a SPHS.

5. Cost v. Benefits

We spend a significant chunk of change on healthcare, both collectively, as a nation, and as individuals.

As a matter of fact, in terms of efficiency, Bloomberg ranks the US on the 46th position, behind Libya, Thailand, and Romania, among others. We are spending over $8,600/year per person on healthcare (over $715/mo). This is insane, if you think about it, as the figure includes toddlers and senior citizens...

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