Most people in the United States are upset with the state of our healthcare system, and I have heard many different explanations why it’s this bad. The main complaint about our healthcare system is the price tag because the cost of health insurance has gone through the roof. In addition, healthcare providers have become more distant and less responsive to Americans questions about how to take care of themselves. The worse it gets, the louder the cries become for some kind of healthcare reform; including a government based program or universal healthcare. The reasons for the problems in our healthcare system are easy to understand, but many people have no idea what’s really going on.
For starters, our system is already partially socialized. Medicare and Medicaid are government based programs that give free health services to the underprivileged and the elderly. When healthcare is free, people go much more often and for every imaginable reason; so the 20% on these programs create a larger bill than the other 80% that are paying for it. The government is on an eternal quest to make these costs go down, so they have limited how much doctors and hospitals can charge Uncle Sam for these services. As a result, healthcare providers must raise costs for the people who are paying for it and their health insurance premiums go up. Obama’s administration has decided to try and fix this problem by further socializing the system and offering free healthcare to about 40%, but this will only lead to even higher costs for the population that is already paying for it.
The other big reason for price hikes in the health field is our culture of sue now, sue later and then sue some more. Doctors are people just like you and me, and occasionally they make mistakes. Today Americans can sue their doctors for any reason they feel like and the more we do, the more expensive insurance becomes for the doctor. These costs then get passed on to the people who are paying for their health insurance and doctors become even more hesitant to help patients. If the doctor tells you that a treatment will help your condition, but it doesn’t and they get sued for it; then the next time around they are much less likely to even try to fix your condition. Once again, the government doesn’t see this as a large problem and encourages patients to sue more.
As a result of all these price increases, health insurance companies are also looking for ways to cut costs. The easiest way for them to do this is to limit the amount and types of services that consumers can get from their healthcare providers. As long as private insurance exists, you can shop around until you find one that covers what you want; but if we move to universal healthcare, that choice will go away. I’ve heard many people including the president himself say that private insurance won’t disappear with government healthcare, but there isn’t any way for insurance companies to really compete with a “free” plan that everyone is already paying for anyway. In the UK and Canada they have already adopted a universal healthcare system and their citizens now have to wait in very long lines to get the simplest of procedures. To keep their costs down, their governments now decide who is worth saving and who isn’t by a committee of bureaucrats!
There are free market solutions to these problems, but the outcry for reform is so great now that I don’t know if people are willing to listen. Limiting lawsuits to very serious matters would bring healthcare costs down, and weaning people off Medicare and Medicaid would bring them down much further. I think we can all agree that some form of healthcare should exist for those that can’t care for themselves, but is that really 40% of this entire country? One free market solution is discount health programs like Ameriplan. These programs are very inexpensive, but they only provide a discount at the doctor rather than just paying for it; this way you only go to the doctor when you need to, and you get a discount on services when you do.