As a person of over 65 and with a great group policy (although subsidized) called Medicare, my interest in the subject is less than what it was just a few years ago.
That said, a national health system would be great. However, getting that through the legislative bodies and the corporate world that influences much of congressional action becomes a major issue.
Where is the real issue with health care. Most people can afford the daily medical stuff. With a national health care system without any cost to a patient, the trips to the doctor are not even thought about. That is already the situation for those who have health insurance through their employer. There is no monetary amount tied to the service rendered by the medical community. Putting a price tag on it makes people think twice when there may only be a sniffing and cough involved.
The issue for medical care is when those costs rise into the tens of thousands for an individual. As the medical bills accumulate with no possibility to ever pay them off, the individual will file bankruptcy. In that case the medical provider gets nothing.
Rather than a single payer system for US health insurance, how about keeping the current health care system in place with the choices that are available in a free market. However, in addition, individuals can purchase "national major medical coverage" to cover those medical expenses that exceed what the individual or family can afford.
None of this matters for the very wealthy. For those in poverty, nothing changes. They are unable to afford health care today. They will continue to use the emergency services at hospitals.
For the remainder of the population, a national major medical program would be available. The purchaser would decide what level of health coverage is affordable, then purchase major medical insurance for anything over that amount – be that 2000, 5000 or 10000. Obviously, the premiums will reflect those "deductibles".
There are already major medical policies available today. However, they are not inexpensive. There are not enough individuals paying into that pool to bring the premiums down. With a national program with most of the population in the pool, individual premium costs will be much less.
The additional advantage of this solution is that many of those who have no medical coverage are small businesses and self employed individuals. To them this solution would be quite welcome. The costs would be tolerable.
There is no perfect national health care system anywhere in the world. Those facts have been aired for several years and at this time with the health care discussions before congress, more media time will be devoted to this issue.
This proposed solution will have flaws as well and not address all the issues. However, the greater majority of people are very healthy. Time to address those who have the real issues. That would be a better solution. Here's a chance to do something different and address the real problem – the high costs of medical care for single individuals. The health care issues would be much better addressed with a national major medical program.
Well said Wandrin---much I agree with--and so it seems does the President. I favor a national system with salaried doctors---removing incentives for over or under treatment. Let there be a two tier system---if you wish and can afford super treatment--pay for it.
Those receiving treatment in the National system may not sue for mal practice.
And we would decide how much treatment we could afford--No heart transplants or cosmetic surgery.
And I would include basic dental treatment.
There is a lot in this post to digest. I agree with a lot of it. Discussing it point by point would take too long.
Health care reform gets snagged up on emotional issues of private vs. government, socialism, etc. Independent of that, and whoever the third party payer is, there must be a LIFETIME limit that bears some half-plausible arithmetic relationship to what was paid in or what society is willing to cough up.
Everything good in life, including life itself, is limited. We all know that in our personal lives, but in public discussions we act like the goodies are unlimited.
I would rather submit to the discipline of a rational lifetime limit than to be restricted in specific treatments and operations by the arbitrary decisions of armies of bureaucrats, with all the value judgments and unfairness that that entails.
I suspect too much of our overall health care spending is spent on the last two weeks of life.