Insurance Overhead

Kay Mueller writing in the Indiana Daily Student supporting government-run single-payer socialized medicine claims:

“(For-profit) insurers add so much overhead to health care that we could never afford to cover everyone as long as the system is based on them.”

There are many examples of government-run, single-payer health care systems around the world: Canada, UK, most European nations. Which of these nations has a lower overhead in their health costs than for-profit insurers?

Look at any government program run by our own government and compare the overhead with that of a similar program run in the private sector.

The government won’t have any more “compassion” in dispensing health care than the for-profit insurers.

Another issue is basic economics: Health services are a finite resource (there is not an unlimited amount of health care available). Currently, the balance of insurance and medical cost work together to control who has access to what service in a fair and just manner (eg. non-necessary services such as cosmetic surgery are relatively more expensive, limiting access more than necessary surgery).

A single-payer (socialized medicine) system removes finances from the picture. Cost cannot be used to limit access to the finite resource. And so they must ration the service itself, deciding arbitrarily who has access to what service. An arbitrary decision system is less fair and, worse, more prone to corruption. You think money controls access now: in a corrupt single-payer system, those who know WHO to pay will get access and all else will be out of luck.

Yes, our current system is flawed. Yes, it needs to be fixed.

But a government-run single-payer system is a disaster and has been a disaster in each and every case where it has been tried.

It’s not a matter of it not having been done right, it’s case after case of abject failure, hurting (and dead) people, and even more limited access to a limited resource: necessary healthcare.

Getting down to brass tacks: the ubiquity of insurance is part of the current problem as much as it used to be part of the solution.

Guaranteed payment of higher prices for medical services have allowed medicine in the US to blossom into a progressive, pioneering, technological wonder. We have medication for diseases our parents shivered in fear at the mere mention of. We can pinpoint problems down to a minutiae of detail and reach in and adjust, tweak, modify, and fix problems in out-patient procedures where it used to take days of hospital stay, hours of surgery, and interminable periods of impatient waiting for a prognosis.

Guaranteed payment of higher prices for medical services have also allowed medicine to become a for-profit service. There is nothing wrong with making profit. Doctors and nurses need to eat, and organizations need a good reason to keep providing quality medical services. But we’ve come a long way from the country doctor working for love and recieving payment in chickens, potatoes, and warm cookies.

I don’t want to go all the way back. We’ve come too far and any argument forbidding access to the myriad benefits of advanced medical ability is morally bankrupt.

But a step towards the government is a leap away from sense and any who claim otherwise are either corrupt or ignorant.

Kay, your school is either failing you, doing you a disservice, or both. Your failure of logic and your unsupported arguments are harming people.

Words mean things, and ideas have consequences.

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