Updated: Jan 26
Ever wonder why a seemingly conservative friend, you know - the guy who is law and order, pro military, supports the second amendment, abhors abortion on demand, wants lower taxes, claims to want free markets - that guy - would advocate for a single payer healthcare system run by the federal government? Well, if he's as old as I am, he remembers the days in which a doctor visit cost $4 and monthly premiums for 'hospitalization' insurance were affordable. And he's wondering how we got in this exorbitant mess and sees no other solution.
A little history, starting well before my time, will shed some light and helps us look for realistic solutions:
Salesmen have been peddling some sort of indemnity protection for centuries.
But the concept that everyone in America needs insurance really took off during World War II. After a decade of Franklin Roosevelt's socialism, people were willing to accept price and wage controls during the war. Suddenly a labor shortage caused employers to seek other ways to attract workers. Enter benefits, including health insurance: a great benefit for those with such jobs, a benefit that soon became a standard for the best jobs, and a benefit that was not taxable. Ever wonder how the start of income taxes about a hundred years ago may have driven up costs?
This also began the natural pressures that increased the cost of medical care. If someone else is paying, most people no longer care about costs. Hospitals, doctors and insurance companies had less pressure to compete. Enter the government to make things "fair" with various programs designed to help people afford health care.
Did it work? Does bureaucracy ever decrease costs? Does decreased competition make things more affordable? Pennies on the dollar spent by the government actually reach the people in need. We still have uninsured people and people who can't afford to use the insurance they have. Our desire to live forever probably leads to higher costs, but by and large government regulation, taxes, waste, and corruption have driven costs up. Within my lifetime government mandated paperwork has probably used up several rainforests.
And don't be fooled. A single payer health plan run by Big Brother government is more about controlling you than it is about helping you. Not only will care be rationed, some medical procedures will be mandated. Incentive to be the best provider or develop new procedures will decrease. Life, liberty, and private property are threatened.
There are some great free market reforms out there. Some involve health savings plans with insurance for emergencies. Some doctors have started mega clinics with affordable memberships granting unlimited access. Innovation and philanthropy are fueled by free markets. More competition, less government and watch prices drop. If we aren't forced to buy a product we don't need or want, but can choose for ourselves what is best, healthcare will be more affordable.
Take it from a mom who once called the hospital to ask why they charged $5 for a hotel size bar of soap.
More from my friend Jacob Ely -
"Is there anyone reading this that believes Canada's healthcare system is a utopia?
Sorry to break the news, but Canadians are running from "free" healthcare. SecondStreet.org is a Canadian activist group working to expose the horror stories of the 'get sick and wait' healthcare system. Their stories should alarm anyone who reads them. After a quick review, a reader would see multiple stories where individuals in need of care decide to leave Canada to receive the healthcare they need. Does this sound like a system Americans should want? The price tag is hefty as well. Elderly patients along with those diagnosed with advanced cancer are practically written off as lost. In some cases, protests of delayed treatments have led to immediate treatments suggesting that politicians, not doctors are controlling healthcare.
How has government intervention made the healthcare system cost-effective and efficient?
I believe the answer would elude anyone, even those defending single-payer health care systems. Canada certainly does not have the solution. Other countries that are paraded by the political left have significantly lower populations, stricter immigration policies, and low corporate taxes to promote free markets, and higher individual taxes."