Sunday, April 05, 2009

Political Truths: A single payer healthcare system is ultimately our most efficient choice

Posted at PoliticalTruths

Our current health care system will be the demise of our country unless we get a single payer system. Read these points with an open, objective, non-partisan, and non-idealistic point of view.

Insurance for anything works because a large group of random people each put a small amount of money into a fund to pay for the loss that is incurred by the unlucky few. This prevents any unlucky event that one is insured for from bankrupting them.

Most insurance companies are for profit corporations and as such have a CEO, CFO, president, board of directors, salespersons, other employees, and shareholders to which dividends must be paid. Therefore the total amount of money any insurance company can payout is the total amount of insurance premiums collected, plus any income or loss made on the investment of those premiums, minus the salary of the CEO, minus the salary of the CFO, minus the salary of the President, minus the salary of board of directors, minus the salaries and bonuses of salespersons, minus the salaries of other employees, minus the dividends paid to shareholder.

This scenario works well for insuring just about everything except health care. In order to cover those large non-healthcare expenses, insurance companies must attempt to insure only healthy people thus denying many with preexisting conditions any coverage. They must deny as many surgeries and procedures they can get away with and they must deny many medications.

We have tried PPOs, HMOs, and everything in between and they have all failed to reduce cost, increase service, or insure everyone.

A for profit market based system for creating medicines, medical procedures, and medical devices is likely the best way to ensure that we will realize innovations in medicine. That said, as a country we must decide if delivery of these health care services is more efficient with for profit insurance as opposed to a single payer nonprofit based insurance system. After careful analysis, the only solution to our healthcare problem must begin with a single payer insurance that does not restrict which doctor or hospital you use. With a single payer system:

  • Duplicate staffing at doctor’s offices working with multiple insurance companies and medical plans no longer exist thus reducing the doctors cost to deliver healthcare

  • Exorbitant salaries to multiple managements vis-à-vis multiple CEOs, CFOs, presidents, and the like no longer exist and as such more monies to deliver healthcare

  • Stock holder dividend payments no longer exist yet again more monies for healthcare.

  • Health Insurance salesmen’s’ bonuses and salaries no longer exist yet again more monies for health care.

Given that every American at some time gets sick or gets into an accident that ultimately we all pay for directly or indirectly, every working American should contribute to the single payer pool. The unemployed must be covered as well.

Many argue that a single payer system would be restrictive. It is untrue. HMOs and PPOs are very restrictive. They select the pool of doctors you may choose from. They select what procedures and surgeries are allowed. They select what medicines can be prescribed. Why; because of their bloated cost structure.

Many argue falsely that it would be too expensive to include the uninsured. Every person paying for health care insurance directly or indirectly is paying for the uninsured given that they are not denied medical coverage anyway. They simply get more expensive coverage in emergency rooms.

Over the last 25 years we have allowed a very destructive thought to metastasize in our brains. We have allowed politicians and private enterprise to convince us that all government is bad, though when private enterprise has failed, they have constantly begged the government for rescue. The reality is that we must have a balance between both. Our health care system needs a competently run government. Government and competency are not mutually exclusive. We are the government and we can make it as competent as we want it to be first by electing competence instead of ideology.

We are at an impasse with health care. It is imperative that we open our minds and look at the problem objectively, factually, and by the numbers. A single payer system is ultimately our most efficient choice.

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