NeilBlanchard wrote:Single payer is good in reality -- the rest of the first world nations and some of the second world nations have it. They pay more more than half as much as we do, and they have better overall healthcare than we do in the USA. Everybody is covered, no questions. None are perfect, but they never have anybody going bankrupt due to medical expenses.
The rest of the countries with full healthcare systems pay HALF as much, or LESS than we do, and they have better overall healthcare.
The main reason why other countries spend only half as much are the following:
1. Health care workers in the US make much more than in other countries, especially physicians.
2. Most other countries have very serious limits on malpractice lawsuits (or don't allow them at all), since it is like suing the government (can't win). Doctors on average in the US pay $100,000 per year for malpractice insurance, and those costs get passed on to consumers. The Personal Injury lawyers get rich (along with the media who get paid to run all those ads for them).
3. Unlike the US, most other countries regulate the price that pharmaceutical companies can charge for drugs, and the US does not allow the legal importation of drugs, even from Canada.
4. Despite what people are willing to admit, there is rationing of health care in almost all other countries that have free government provided healthcare (unless you want to pay for it yourself). I am not saying this is bad for society as a whole, but it is a fact.
I am not saying that a single payer system is necessarily bad, and it might save a little money, but the lack of such a system is not really the reason why medical costs are so high in the US, unless what you really mean by "single payer" is a single provider system (government run health care) or a system where prices and coverage is regulated by the government, and government limits malpractice suits.
When you have 18% of the GNP spent on directly on health care in the US (and the real number counting indirect spending is even higher), and almost all the health care workers are afraid they will suffer an income loss if the government gets involved (and there is good reason to believe that would happen), then it is hard to completely change the system to the single payer or government provider model.